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CSU Channel Islands, Cottage Health System Launch Bachelor’s Degree Nursing Program

Public-private partnership paves the way for the first program of its kind in Santa Barbara County

CSU Channel Islands and Cottage Health System have opened the doors to the first nursing bachelor’s degree program in Santa Barbara County using an innovative public-private partnership.

The union of the nonprofit community health-care provider and the region’s only nursing bachelor’s degree program will be celebrated with a grand opening reception from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursday at 5383 Hollister Ave., Suite 220 in Goleta, next to Goleta Valley Cottage Hospital.

The partnership helps address important needs for both Cottage and CI. It creates a qualified, locally educated workforce that Cottage hopes will relieve future nursing shortages.

“The CSU Channel Islands Nursing Program at Cottage Health System is a prime example of how a public-private partnership can be employed to benefit the entire community,” said Dr. Karen Jensen, chair of CI’s Nursing Program. “Because of this partnership with Cottage, we can educate 22 new nurses every year in an optimal clinical setting.”

“We’re excited about how this partnership will help elevate the level of care we offer patients in our community,” said Herb Geary, vice president of Patient Care Services and chief nursing officer at Cottage Health System.

Until now, the closest bachelor’s degree nursing programs were in Monterey Bay, Bakersfield or Camarillo. 

The new program in Goleta is off to a strong start. More than 150 candidates applied for the first 22 spots. The first class began in January and will graduate in May 2014. Upon completion of the two-year program, students will be eligible to take the exams to become registered nurses and public health nurses in California.

Cottage and CI initiated the program in 2010 through a 10-year joint commitment. Cottage is pursuing philanthropic support for faculty positions, the program facility and new equipment and technology. CI will also pursue philanthropic outreach for student scholarships and endowment support for faculty positions.

— Nancy Gill is the director of communication and marketing for CSU Channel Islands.

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