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The highly selective Program in Nursing Science at UCI was chosen by NurseJournal.org as one of the top 10 programs in the western United States. Credit: UCI

Nursing science poised to address looming healthcare needs

Established in 2006, the Program in Nursing Science at the University of California, Irvine offers undergraduate and graduate students academic and professional education that will help them fill critical clinical and teaching roles after they graduate.

The highly selective program – which offers fully accredited bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees – was chosen by NurseJournal.org as one of the top 10 programs in the western United States for quality, value and satisfaction, and its nurse practitioner faculty is consistently ranked within the country’s top 25.

With the $40 million Sue and Bill Gross gift, the program will seek school status this year, which will allow for increases in enrollment and faculty. The need couldn’t be greater. According to recent reports from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the nation will need more than 1 million new registered nurses by 2022. And an increase in nurse practitioners – the UCI program currently offers a robust master’s program in the field – will be required to cover the looming shortage of primary care physicians.

Nursing is interdisciplinary and collaborative by nature. It includes application of knowledge from the biological, social, behavioral and biomedical sciences. UCI’s program prepares graduates for basic and advanced clinical practice roles, as well as for educational, administrative and research positions across the healthcare delivery system.

Nursing science facts:

Year of first class: Initial cohort of bachelor’s students enrolled in 2007 and graduated in 2009.

Current number of students: 175 bachelor’s, 33 master’s, four postgraduate and eight doctoral students

Degrees and programs offered: B.S.; M.S. with either a family nurse practitioner concentration or an adult/gerontological primary care nurse practitioner concentration; Ph.D.; and a postgraduate nurse practitioner certificate program

Start of nurse practitioner master’s program: UCI began educating nurse practitioners in 1996 in the Department of Family Medicine via a post-master’s degree certificate program. In 2004, the university began collaborating with California State University, Fullerton to provide family nurse practitioner coursework for their master’s students while continuing the post-master’s program. In 2009, UCI admitted its first master’s-level nurse practitioner students.

Moved into Berk Hall: fall 2011

Start of doctoral program: fall 2013

Highlight: In 2011, nursing science received a $1.5 million federal grant to establish Orange County’s first nurse-managed clinic – the SOS-El Sol Wellness Center at the El Sol Science & Arts Academy in downtown Santa Ana.

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