Online nursing program begins in spring |

Online nursing program begins in spring

Susan Wood, Tahoe Daily Tribune

California gave a clean bill of health for the state’s first Web-based registered nursing program this spring through Sierra College, Barton Memorial Hospital reported.

The three-way partnership between the South Lake Tahoe-based health care organization, Rocklin campus and Lake Tahoe Community College was established to respond to the widespread nursing shortage in California and Nevada, Barton Director of Hospital Operations Kathy Cocking said.

The two states have the two worst ratios in the nation for nurse-to-population, according to a study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Nevada, having the worst ratio, treats 100,000 people with 520 nurses, the study states.

Barton has made recent efforts to have nurses in place before the bulk of the shortage catches up to the lake.

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“We see the need as our nurses cut back on their shifts and retire,” Cocking said Thursday. “This could revolutionize how we address our nursing program.”

It took Cocking about two years to get an associate of arts program for registered nurses at LTCC, and LTCC secured about $12,000 in grant funding to help Barton get the extended campus program off the ground.

It would have cost about $250,000 to have the RN program run out of LTCC.

Barton often receives its graduates from Western Nevada Community College in Carson City. South Shore residents would have had to endure over an hour commute daily for lectures, with clinical work on the job done in the Nevada capital and Reno.

The University of Nevada, Reno, has a waiting list of RN program applicants.

Barton’s program was approved by the state’s Board of Registered Nurses early this week.

It runs 18 months long and costs $2,300. Students may get online access at Barton’s computer lab and the LTCC learning resource center.

Applications for the program are due Oct. 15 and may be obtained at Barton’s hospital operations office at 2170 South Ave. or at Sierra’s Roseville campus at 333 Sunrise Ave.

Once enrolled, students must complete five hours a week of classroom study and 15 hours of clinical work. Cocking figured three-quarters of that work can be done at Barton, with the exception of the areas of inpatient pediatrics, high risk obstetrics, intensive care and inpatient psychiatric.

Grass Valley’s Sierra Nevada Hospital will consider the same program, Cocking said.

— Susan Wood can be reached at (530) 542-8009 or via e-mail at

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