Nursing: Coming 2022
Amid a global pandemic and dire nursing shortage, Westmont’s proposed Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) is gaining widespread support from state and local officials. The program, run in partnership with Cottage Health, received unanimous approval from the California Board of Registered Nursing’s Education Licensing Committee (ELC) in April, and is set to launch in spring 2022 pending approval from the board itself.
“We’ve all become acutely aware of the critical need for nurses,” says Westmont President Gayle D. Beebe. “It’s not just a skilled practice, it’s a courageous one. We seek to graduate highly sought nurses who’ve benefited from the breadth of our liberal arts education and grown in all areas of their lives, developing key qualities such as compassion and empathy.”
The college is renovating the first two floors of Westmont Downtown, 26 West Anapamu St., which it purchased in December 2020, to house the nursing program. Construction will finish in July 2021 so state nursing officials can visit the state-of-the-art facility later in the summer. The convenient location, a mile from Cottage Hospital in Santa Barbara, will provide students with easy access to the simulation lab, internships and practica. The dedicated downtown facilities are being totally refurbished to include a skills lab, a team-based learning environment and a state-of-the-art facility to support the nursing program.
The ABSN allows someone with a baccalaureate or higher education degree to complete the intense training and education to become a nurse within 12-15 months. The college plans to use a cohort-based model with about 24 students per cohort, graduating two cohorts each year.
The strategic partnership with Cottage Health, a system of hospitals and clinics serving the Central Coast, will provide state-of-the-art clinical training for Westmont students. The connection with Cottage will also help place Westmont graduates in well-paid, meaningful positions. Ron Werft, president and CEO of Cottage Health, spoke about the new program at Westmont's 2021 Commencement.