This story is reprinted from FresnoState Magazine, as written by Melissa Tav, for the Summer 2020 edition.
During a typical semester the School of Nursing at Fresno State would be brimming with activity as students complete their final clinical training assessments before entering the workforce. The unexpected events this spring have transformed the way they learn, but the need for nurses is perhaps greater than ever.
This past spring, the nursing program transitioned into a virtual lab as a result of COVID-19, which put a halt on in-person classes. The virtual simulation courses mirrored real-life scenarios with students working through a patient encounter from introduction to diagnosis, followed by a discussion with faculty.
The virtual sessions were designed to help students develop critical thinking, clinical judgment, collaboration and communication skills — all while keeping them on track to graduate.
Each year, Fresno State’s School of Nursing graduates about 150 students — 100% of whom find employment or job placements before graduating, with a majority staying and serving local populations.
That’s good news for the Central Valley. As rapid population growth throughout California is outpacing the capacity of nursing schools to produce the next generation of frontline health care workers, the Valley’s shortage is among the most critical in the state.
According to a UCSF Healthforce Center report in 2018, the demand for licensed registered nurses in the San Joaquin Valley is expected to grow more than 35% in the next 10 years.
“Fresno State stands ready to partner with health care providers across the Valley to meet this challenge,” says Dr. Jim Marshall, interim dean of the College of Health and Human Services. “It’s not just our mission, it’s our moral imperative. As one of the leading nursing schools in the region, we are proud to answer the call of preparing qualified nursing professionals, many of whom stay and serve the Valley long after graduating.”
Family Nurse Practitioner Jordan Cutts graduated with both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing and has settled into private practice at Boswell Dermatology in Fresno. Cutts says the nursing program at Fresno State gave him the tools and knowledge to branch out.
“Through the master’s program, I gained over 600 hours of clinical experience working in the hospital setting and definitely gained a lot of hands-on experience and community connections to health care providers in the region,” Cutts says.
Read the full story and hear from more nursing alumni in Fresno State Magazine.
[Photo of Jordan Cutts courtesy of Boswell Dermatology]