The Coast News Group

Nursing program produces first graduating class

SAN MARCOS — “This has been a rewarding journey so far, and I’m looking forward to caring for my community and making a difference in the lives of many,” said Maria Ordunez, a member of the first class of Cal State San Marcos graduating nurses and newly hired nurse at Palomar Medical Center in Escondido.
On May 15, the first class of graduating nursing students will participate in a traditional pinning ceremony at North Island, with a second group being pinned May 16 at the university.
The creation of the Cal State School of Nursing was a vision that began in 2004, when Palomar Pomerado Health recognized a growing need for nurses locally. PPH initially committed $150,000 to perform accreditation studies. In 2005, PPH committed an additional $2.5 million to build a 13,500-square-foot nursing research and education center, The Palomar Pomerado Health Education Center, which is now home to the School of Nursing at the university. PPH leases the facility to the university for only $1 a year. The School of Nursing at Cal State San Marcos enrolled its first students in August of 2006.
“It’s fantastic to see the dream and plans formalize into graduates,” said Judy Papenhausen, director of the School of Nursing. “We talk about this first class of cohorts as if they are our firstborns. It’s good to see closure on this first phase of the school.”
“Our board members and leadership had this vision to grow and develop nurses right here in our community,” said Lorie Shoemaker, chief nurse executive for Palomar Pomerado Health. “Nancy Bassett, PPH board member and registered nurse made it her passion and priority to turn this dream into reality. The graduating class is proof that our partnership with CSUSM has been successful, and will continue to be an asset to the local health-care community for years to come. We’re so proud of the graduating class, and this truly is a historic moment for PPH, CSUSM, the nursing students and the community.”
The second pinning ceremony May 16 is for nursing students who are a part of the accelerated program. The accelerated group consists of students who have already obtained a bachelor’s degree in another discipline and have made a career change. The program is a fast-track to a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing, allowing students to complete their degree in 17 months. A separate ceremony will be held in August for 44 nursing students who are a part of the program’s second cohort.