NOTE: Updated with the addition of Golden West College in Orange County to the program.

Cal State San Bernardino’s Nursing Concurrent Enrollment Pathway (CEP) program, which allows community college nursing students in associate degree programs to take classes for bachelor’s degrees and eventually transfer to CSUSB, has expanded to now include three additional community colleges.

San Bernardino Valley College, Chaffey College and Golden West College have joined Riverside City College (RCC) in the expanded CEP program three years after it was initially launched by RCC, CSUSB and Cal State Fullerton.

With the addition of the three community colleges to the collaborative, the program has grown to about 140 students, said Evangeline Fangonil-Gagalang, director of the CSUSB undergraduate nursing program and an assistant professor of nursing.

“Such innovative partnerships in CEP programs prepare BSN-prepared graduates who are highly valued by potential employers because of safer patient care outcomes and advanced training in evidence-based practice,” said Jie Yu, chair of CSUSB’s Department of Nursing. “Students can take ADN coursework in collaborative community colleges and concurrently take online hybrid courses from CSUSB.”

The program’s first cohort enrolled 39 students in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, but due to challenges posed by COVID-19, many students were unable to continue in the program, Fangonil-Gagalang said.

“We launched this program in 2020 and found that financial difficulty was a big barrier to student progress during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Fangonil-Gagalang. 

Out of 39 students admitted, 19 students graduated with their associate degree in nursing (ADN) from RCC, 17 students continued on to CSUSB and received their bachelor’s degree in nursing in December 2022, Fangonil-Gagalang said.

The CEP plan of study begins with students enrolled in nine units of coursework at the community college and one 3-unit course from CSUSB. This concurrent plan of study continues for four semesters. At the successful conclusion of those four semesters, the students earn their ADN degree. Then, the students transition to take their final baccalaureate-level courses only at CSUSB for two more terms. At the end of these final two semesters, the students graduate with their bachelor of science degree in nursing at CSUSB.

If taken without delay, the student finishes the CEP program with a BSN degree in six semesters. This is a much faster route. 

“Literature shows that nursing students who take the community college route require eight years for their BSN. By joining the collaborative, students will be done in four years,“ said Terese Burch, professor and former CSUSB department chair of nursing. “With this collaboration, nursing students receive high-quality, affordable, community college and university curriculum pathways that prepare BSN nurse generalists to serve California.”

The pathway is often referred to as a collaboration because of the founding work of the three higher-learning institutions, CSUSB, RCC and CSU Fullerton, who have worked closely together and in partnership to provide a program that best serves its students and the community. 

This collaborative work was recognized by the Association of California Nurse Leaders (ACNL) in 2022 as the recipient of the ACNL Friend of Nursing award for excellence in nursing leadership and advancement of clinical practice. The leaders of this collaborative were also recognized for their significant contributions in support of the nursing education and practice.