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Santa Maria Sun / Spotlight

The following article was posted on August 12th, 2020, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 21, Issue 24 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 21, Issue 24

San Joaquin Valley College's new Santa Maria-based program will train the nurses of tomorrow

By MALEA MARTIN

Even before the days of COVID-19, studies showed that nurse shortages were a resounding issue across the nation. According to a 2017 Department of Health and Human Services report, California tops the list with a projected shortage of 44,500 nurses by 2030. Add in a global pandemic, and nurses are needed more than ever.


TOMORROW’S NURSES
San Joaquin Valley College announced the expansion of its vocational nursing program to the college’s Santa Maria campus.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SAN JOAQUIN VALLEY COLLEGE

A new vocational nursing program in Santa Maria aims to train the health care professionals of tomorrow and help close the gap in the industry. San Joaquin Valley College (SJVC) recently announced an expansion of its vocational nursing program to three of its campuses, including Santa Maria. 

SJVC completed its acquisition of Santa Barbara Business College at the start of 2020, and the new program is based at its Santa Maria campus, formerly operated by the business college. 

SJVC first opened in 1977 in Visalia in Tulare County. Since then, the second generation, family-owned college has expanded to 17 different locations, including Atascadero and now Santa Maria. The vocational nursing program is offered at the college’s Visalia, Santa Maria, Bakersfield, and Rancho Mirage campuses. 

“We’ve had a VN program here [in Visalia] for some time with great outcomes, so we’re very happy to ensure that the program continues to be offered in Santa Maria now through SJVC,” SJVC President Nick Gomez told the Sun.

As a vocational program, Gomez said the college puts a particular emphasis on getting its students into the workforce after they graduate. 

“The vocational nursing program that we offer is deep in its educational understanding, but it is geared specifically for that individual, upon completion of the program, to find employment,” he said. “Whether that be in that local community or elsewhere based upon where availability is, it is a direct alignment to their career opportunity.”

The college achieves the employment focus through partnerships with local health care providers as well as a hands-on learning model for students.

“They participate in something called a clinical rotation, where they get to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom setting out in the field,” Gomez said. “We’ve got a strong connection with employers in the field. … In addition to that, we have some simulation environments that we incorporate into our curriculum when they’re on campus so they’re further enriched when they have that opportunity, not only to go out and be part of the clinical, but when they come back and they understand how to integrate that into their learning.”

SJVC also helps students get into the field as quickly as possible by offering an accelerated program, allowing them to earn their certificate in as few as 14 months and their associate degree in as little as 16 months. 

Gomez said the current public health crisis further underscores the need for quality nursing programs in California. 

“We have a very unique circumstance in this environment with the pandemic that is putting extreme pressure on our health care systems, and we need trained people. We’re seeing, perhaps more now than ever, that a reserve is needed,” he said. “We’ve been very fortunate and feel blessed to be in the space to provide education for individuals to achieve those outcomes.” 

Highlight:

• Lompoc resident Annalynn Clark was named a finalist in the nationwide Mayflower Mover of Movers contest, which recognizes “those individuals who are making monumental moves and fostering change in their communities,” the contest webpage states. Clark, a special education teacher, is one of three finalists, and the winner will receive $25,000 to put toward a good cause in their community. If she wins, Clark plans to launch her Great Kindness Challenge, “a gentle, inclusive, empowering program that supports students and many others in the community to dedicate 100 kindness hours a year through helping others or improving the community,” a Mayflower release stated. The prize would also allow Clark to supply and maintain a garden club she created at Lompoc Valley Middle School. Winners are determined by vote, and those interested can cast their vote at mayflower.com/moverofmovers. Voting ends on Aug. 17. 

Staff Writer Malea Martin wrote this week’s Spotlight. Send tips to spotlight@santamariasun.com










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