There was pomp and circumstance at College of the Canyons on Monday, as more than 60 regional nursing students were honored as the first graduating class of the Associate Degree Nursing Regional Collaborative.
As an innovative approach to solving a statewide nursing shortage and long student nursing program waiting lists, the ADN Regional Collaborative was founded in 2005 by a group of five community colleges - COC, Glendale Community College, Ventura College, Los Angeles Valley College and Los Angeles Pierce College - as a way to increase the number of nursing students in the region, despite the lack of faculty and facility resources.
"It's a different way to attack the problem," said COC Dean of Allied Health Sue Albert, who helped coordinate the campus' involvement in the program. "We made more efficient use of the resources, and were able to attract a large number of students."
Since its inception, the program has admitted more than 200 new nursing students, with an additional 160 ready to join the program in the spring semester.
Through the collaboration process, participating campuses adopted a common curriculum, shared the use of instructors and coordinated the use of local hospital facilities to provide students with skill lab practice, and live interactive video teleconferencing class sessions on a variety of different topics.
"They've taken a big risk. No one has ever done it before. But they struggled through it, hung in there and are doing very well," Albert said about the program's first class of nursing students. "They knew it was going to be hard and difficult. But now they are ahead of the game."
Another aspect of the program focused on placing students directly in the hospital setting, to gain job experience and aid in job placement after graduation.
"When we put students in a hospital, it becomes a recruiting process," Albert said. "(Hospitals) are always recruiting our students. We try to make it a win-win for everybody."
More... COC Graduates First Class of Nurses