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published on October 15, 2019 - 3:40 PM
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Kaiser Permanente Fresno has announced a partnership with Bay Area-based Samuel Merritt University to bring the 20-month RN to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to Fresno, with classes starting in January 2020.

According to a press release by Kaiser, the five-semester program is structured for working nurses and consists of a weekly face-to-face class, online coursework and clinical rotations in community health agencies. Nurses are expected to learn about evidence-based care, broaden their community health training and enhance their communication skills.

Samuel Merritt University developed the curriculum while Kaiser Permanente’s Nurse Scholars Academy team worked in partnership during the conceptual development of the program. The curriculum includes coursework focused on caring science, self-care and reduction in stress for nurses.

“We want to support our nurses who are interested in pursuing an advanced degree because we know it leads to better care for our patients,” said Karen Strauman, Kaiser Permanente Fresno’s chief nursing executive. “This program removes barriers by allowing them to go to school while they are still working, so they can position themselves for better career opportunities in the future.”

Samuel Merritt University is awarding generous scholarships to nurses enrolled in the program. Nurses from Kaiser Permanente Fresno and nurses in the community also can apply for the program.

Denise Hippert, RN, who works in the special care nursery at Kaiser Permanente Fresno has already been accepted into the RN to BSN program and will start classes in January. She obtained her RN degree in 2005 and said she has always wanted to get a baccalaureate degree in nursing.

“I like the philosophy of the program, that health care is holistic, and I also like the focus on nurses caring for nurses, that was really huge for me,” she said. “I just knew this was something I had to do.”

Samuel Merritt University offers similar RN to BSN programs at its campuses in Oakland, Sacramento and the San Francisco Peninsula. The university is exploring additional nursing and health science degree programs that will meet the needs of the Fresno community.


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