Master S Degree Program to Bolster Peninsula Nurses

from Oakland Tribune .. 

By Neil Gonzales 

San Francisco State has teamed up with Sequoia Hospital in Redwood City and other medical centers to help working nurses earn master's degrees and boost their skills. 

The effort funded by a $450,486 grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation builds on San Francisco State's existing master's program with Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital in Palo Alto. 

That program divides class time between clinical experience at a hospital and administration courses at San Francisco State, the university said. Most of the nurses currently in the program are from Stanford and the children's hospital. 

The latest project will provide other nurses on the Peninsula "educational opportunities nearer their homes and work," said Shirley Girouard, director of the School of Nursing at San Francisco State. 

The expanded program invites nurses from Sequoia, Mills- Peninsula in Burlingame and other hospitals to apply for classes to be held in Palo Alto and San Francisco State starting in the fall. The program takes four semesters to complete. 

About 40 participants will be admitted each semester, Girouard said. They will "become advanced practice nurses" and have the ability to serve in various skilled roles such as an administrator, researcher and teacher. 

The project moves "the location of graduate education up closer to nurses who might be seeking graduate education," said Linda Kresge, chief nurse executive at Sequoia. "The university is partnering with hospitals so that we might identify registered nurses who are prepared at the baccalaureate level (and) interested in seeking graduate education or a master's degree." 

The effort also involves doing a "feasibility study to assess demand for masters-prepared nurses in the Bay Area," Girouard said. 

An advisory committee of medical professionals from Sequoia, Stanford, El Camino Hospital in Mountain View and elsewhere will help oversee the study, San Francisco State officials said. 

"There is a need for these types of nurses because they provide a different, higher level" approach in addressing health-care quality, safety and patient satisfaction, said Amy Nichols, associate professor of nursing at SF State. 

Advanced practice nurses are in short supply, especially in the area of nursing administration and training -- partly because many in the field don't want to quit their job to return to school for a master's degree, Nichols added. 

So a master's program "needs to be convenient and feasible and work with their professional lives so they can take classes," she said. 

Staff writer Neil Gonzales covers education. He can be reached at 650-348-4338 or 

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