Kern CCD and Adventist Health Partner to Train Future Nurses at Dedicated Education Unit at Local Hospitals

nurses working

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

The Kern Community College District (Kern CCD) and Adventist Health Kern County have teamed up to launch a new place-based learning program for nursing students at Bakersfield College and Cerro Coso Community College in Ridgecrest.

This fall, Adventist Health will pilot a Dedicated Education Unit at its Bakersfield, Delano and Tehachapi hospitals where nursing students will complete clinical work hours under the instruction of experienced nurses at those facilities. The program will increase clinical space available to nursing students as the colleges' nursing programs begin to expand capacity and enroll more students.

“This is a way to expand the high-quality instructional opportunities we offer our nursing students, while leveraging partnerships with local hospitals and their talented nurses, said Carla Gard, Dean of Instruction for Nursing and Allied Health at Bakersfield College. “With efforts like this, we can quickly expand our program capacity and start to graduate more nurses to fill jobs at our local hospitals.”

Matthew Wanta, Director of Vocational Nursing and Health Careers at Cerro Coso Community College said: “Opportunities like this are the best kind of training a nursing student can get because it happens in a real-world setting, under the professionals they will eventually work alongside.”

Adventist Health nurses who will instruct students in the clinical setting will undergo faculty training on Tuesday, Aug. 9 at Adventist Health Bakersfield.

“Hiring nurses is a huge challenge for local hospitals. With this partnership we are bringing together BC's excellence in training future nurses with our talented nursing professionals to ramp up the workforce pipeline for local medical facilities and better serve our community,” said Heather Van Housen, the Chief Nursing Officer at Adventist Health, Kern County.

If the pilot program for clinical training is successful, Kern CCD will be able to replicate the initiative at hospitals, clinics and other healthcare systems throughout the region to address local nursing shortages. BC's nursing program is set to double in size in the coming years to meet the local demand for nurses. As part of this plan, expanding the clinician-to-faculty pipeline has been identified as a key strategy by the Kern Healthcare Workforce Committee, a coalition of hospitals, clinics, and nursing schools working together to increase clinical placements at the hospitals and get more local residents interested and prepared for healthcare careers.