Go to the Calendar sectionGo to the FAQs sectionContact CNCC
Logo: CNCCGo to CNCC HomeGo to the Members sectionGo to the Outreach section
Logo: CNCC Photos: nurses

A Win for California Nursing Students and Faculty

California is currently facing a nursing shortage that represents a crisis for the health of our state. The shortage has put pressure on California’s schools of nursing (SON) to graduate more nurses. At present, nursing students encounter many challenges and barriers, such as capacity issues and inconsistent prerequisites and co-requisites between the California Community Colleges and California State University (CSU) as well as the lack of undergraduate generic nursing in the University of California (UC) systems. This contributes to the complexity of the SON’s to meet the demands of increased enrollment which subsequently perpetuates an imbalance in supply and demand in the nursing workforce. Recently, educators at California State Universities and Community Colleges have taken major steps in an unprecedented direction to align their prerequisites for admission into their nursing programs.

In September of 2002, California Assembly Bill (AB) No. 2314 was signed by the governor “mandating” the Chancellor of the CSU campuses to standardize all nursing program prerequisites on a system-wide basis. A CSU task force of nursing school directors, chairs and faculty had already formed with the distinct purpose to align the prerequisites of the nursing major during the 2001-2002 academic school year. The major benefit and result of the alignment will be a transparent transfer process for students within the two systems; in effect, eliminating redundancy.

Robyn M. Nelson, DNSc, RN, a member of the CSU task force, explains, “As we started the process towards alignment, we agreed to work collaboratively to reduce any barriers that existed or that were discovered.” These uncharted waters presented an interesting journey and at the end of the day, a great outcome for our students. The task force agreed upon a common set of prerequisites, known as the “Core 8” which will be fully implemented in all of the CSU nursing programs by the fall of 2005. The “Core 8” prerequisites may be completed in one year and admission to the nursing program would be offered at the sophomore level. There is no change in required courses or total number of units. The implementation of the “Core 8” reduces the number of prerequisites, but adds co-requisites.


According to AB 2314, program alignment is a mandate for the CSU’s however, for the California Community Colleges, program alignment is “encouraged.” To this extent, if some of the 69 Community Colleges do not decide to follow the recommendations, there will continue to be some schools using different prerequisites.

While only “encouraged” by law, the California Community Colleges formed an alignment committee, the California Community Colleges Nursing Alignment Committee (3C-NAC) which represents deans and directors from nine regions of the State. They each continue to work with the other Community College nursing directors and faculties in their geographical areas. In the Spring of 2003, 3C-NAC agreed to recommend their “Core 4” prerequisites. A math requirement is still under consideration. The “Core 4” was presented at the October, 2003 joint meeting of BS and ADN directors in Sacramento.

According to Margaret Craig, RN, MS, Associate Dean of Nursing, at Napa Valley College, “Our goal is to have as many of the community college nursing programs agree that there are significant benefits to having common core prerequisites. This will help students seeking admission gain access to a nursing career.” The 3C-NAC will present the “Core 4” to the Chancellor in November 2003 and are anticipating that an advisory will be sent out to all the schools with their recommendations.

It is also the intent of AB 2314 to strengthen the articulation agreements between the CSUs and the Community College districts to facilitate the completion of a Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree by RN graduates from the Community Colleges. The “Core 4” prerequisites recommended by the 3C-NAC are a component of the “Core 8” prerequisites of the CSUs. Margaret Craig explains, “This will encourage articulation for graduates of community colleges to go onto the CSU system to earn an RN to Baccalaureate of Science in Nursing.”

The changes in the CSUs prerequisites will be communicated on the home page of each nursing program’s web site and will be included in individual campus catalogs. During the transition, both educational systems will manage the approval and implementation at the local level and the CSUs will continue to admit students with both the old and the new prerequisites.

Release Date: November 3, 2003

Back to top