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CONTACT: Bruce Smith
Public Information
(310) 434-4209
DATE: Nov. 24, 2003


In an ongoing effort to help ease California’s nursing shortage, Santa Monica College has joined forces with several Los Angeles area hospitals to train vocational nurses and entry-level health professionals to move into higher level nursing positions.

SMC has a $102,000 contract with UCLA Medical Center to train some 20 vocational nurses to become registered nurses and a similar $188,000 contract with Cedars-Sinai Hospital. In addition, SMC was recently awarded a $485,000 contract with the state to provide training of entry-level health professionals – such as nursing aides – to become certified nursing assistants. SMC has already begun training at Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Los Angeles, Brotman Medical Center in Culver City, and Pacifica Hospital of the Valley in Sun Valley, and the college expects to expand its program into other medical facilities.

“We’re very excited to have these important contracts to help meet the crucial nursing demands of the region,” said Marvin Martinez, SMC’s associate vice president of planning and development.

These contracts mark a major step forward for SMC’s nursing program, which until recently has been able to serve only about 80 students at one time. SMC’s student nursing population is now expected to grow substantially over the coming years.

UCLA and Cedars-Sinai are bolstering their nursing staffs by offering SMC’s program to their vocational nurses and nursing assistants. These practitioners can fulfill some of the functions of nurses but, without the additional training, do not qualify as registered nurses able to assist in medical procedures.

At the other hospitals, the SMC career ladder program will move nursing assistants and other entry-level health professionals into higher-level positions.

SMC’s program is part of a concerted statewide effort between California community colleges and hospitals to remedy the acute national shortage of nurses that has already graduated 20,000 new nurses over the past five years.

Vocational nurses from UCLA and Cedars-Sinai will be integrated into SMC’s regular nursing classes. Faculty members say that mixing new students with vocational nurses who already have hands-on experience will create a dynamic that benefits all students.

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