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Mount Named 'Exemplary' in Expanding Nursing Education to Latinos

Aug. 31, 2007 -- A policy brief recently released by the Tomás Rivera Policy Institute (TRPI) highlights Mount Saint Mary’s University as an "exemplary" case study among colleges in California that are increasing the pool of Latino nurses in the state.

The brief, which outlines how institutions can attract and keep more Latino nursing students, is drawn from the 2007 institute study, "Increasing Latino Participation in the Nursing Profession: Best Practices at California Nursing Programs."

TRPI, based at University of Southern California, characterized Mount St. Mary's as outstanding for offering night and weekend formats in the Associate Degree in Nursing program at its Doheny Campus in downtown Los Angeles. The format is lauded for providing working students an opportunity to pursue their educations without giving up their current employment.

The institute also heralded the College for its strong academic support system. The institute found the College offers a personalized learning environment where "faculty could be found on campus in the evenings when students were studying for exams. ... Both students and faculty described the nursing department as close-knit."

The College has one of the largest nursing departments in the state with nearly 700 nursing students enrolled in four nursing degree programs, including bachelor's and master's.

"I am proud that Mount St. Mary's is preparing nurses from diverse backgrounds in a time of great need in our community," said College President Jacqueline Powers Doud. "One of the hallmarks of the College is its ability to reach a population that is rare in higher education: ethnically diverse, female, first-generation college students, largely from low income backgrounds."

Latinos are one of the fastest-growing, largest, and youngest minority groups in California—yet they make up less than five percent of registered nurses, noted TRPI President and CEO Dr. Harry P. Pachon. "One of the best ways to stem the nursing shortage is to get more minorities interested in the field. There are nursing programs out there that do this well, and we hope our efforts to uncover and analyze their strategies will convince others to take similar steps."

The policy brief, made possible through a grant from AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, includes examples of challenges faced by nursing students. It is available for download at http://www.trpi.org/PDFs/nursing_brief.pdf. Findings are based on a study funded by The California Wellness Foundation and released in April 2007, which is available at http://www.trpi.org/PDFs/nursing.pdf.

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