The nursing program is back after a one-year hiatus. Under the new direction of Carla Christensen, the program offers students a chance to hone their lab skills and intern at hospitals.

“It was pretty much always planned to come back,” said Christensen.

According Christensen, the program was put on hold because the then director had just retired and by the time Christensen accepted her predecessors position, it was too late to accept students.

“Some people were surprised and disappointed that we closed,” said Christensen. “And some people don’t know it was only for the one year.”

Christensen has kept the core values of the nursing program, such as learning to work with new technologies and caring for individuals with all manner of ailments, but has brought some new ideas to the table.

“Some of the new things was to get approval from the Board of Vocational Nursing and to get approval from the chancellors office so that students will take one less course in the fall and the spring,” said Christensen.

Christensen’s goal is for students to have fewer classes to study for at one particular time. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t expect the students in the Licensed Vocational Nursing (LVN) and Registered Nursing (RN) program to work less.

Students are expected to take a variety of classes, such a psychology, and complete a required number of lab hours.

“We work very hard in our vocational nursing program,” said Christensen.

And for the first time in the program’s history, students applying to the RN program are guaranteed acceptance.

“The RN program will let them get started even if they don’t have their licenses yet,” said Christensen.

Christensen has also expanded the nursing program outside of PCC. She has recently landed a contract for nursing students to work at the VA Center in Los Angeles.

“Now, starting in the spring, we will be able to take our students there,” said Christensen.

Students also spend 72 hours going over to Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center and caring for the patients there under the direction of a supervisor.

According to Christensen, the nursing program at PCC is one of the best and doesn’t require its students to shell out thousands of dollars.

“It has just been really important to me to offer the community a much more affordable cost for a high quality education,” said Christensen.

The nursing department will be hosting two informational meetings in February for students who are interested in the application process.

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