CSU Voices and Views

A Community at Work

By Karen Jensen
Chair, Department of Nursing
CSU Channel Islands

Students practice critical thinking skills in real time simulations

Students practice critical thinking skills in real time simulations

Communities often have unmet needs, despite the abundance of those with the resources and talents to meet those needs.  Sometimes the right connections require the catalyst of a university.

Having started two nursing programs through CSU Channel Islands, I have seen the community unlock its own potential.  Students with the right stuff – a mix of compassion, intelligence and drive – are provided with advanced learning tools and opportunities through partnership with hospitals desperate for their talent.

I often think about the opportunity for nursing students that exists today because of our university.  Prior to CI, students from the area left for Los Angeles, Bakersfield or even San Francisco to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing.  This was, of course, prohibitive for those with families, jobs and obligations that tied them to home.  Many of the region’s best and brightest potential nurses who left never returned.

Two students come to mind when I reflect on the difference the CI programs have made. 

One of these students, despite enormous talent, was extremely soft spoken – understandable for someone who learned English as a second language.  My colleagues and I coaxed her out of her shell by constantly reminding her that as a nurse she was the patient’s advocate.  She may never be considered vocal, but she now trusts herself to speak up for the benefit of the patient.

The other student had children and a career prior to coming to our program.  She always knew that she wanted to come back to school and get her bachelor’s degree.  Our partnership with Cottage Health System in Goleta, near Santa Barbara, made that possible.  She became active in her cohort of students, finding an environment as welcoming to a student in her 30s as it was to the traditional 21 year old.

Our students crave a challenge and deserve the opportunity to prove themselves.  Nursing is a field that tests one’s physical, emotional and intellectual strength.  It is an environment where problem solving happens in real time with real consequences. 

We have the right people for the job here in our community.  We have the right resources in the community.  Together, we are meeting our community’s need.


CI has two nursing programs – one at the campus in Camarillo and another at a satellite campus in Goleta.  The Goleta program is a newly launched public/private partnership with Cottage Health System.  Learn more about CI’s nursing programs here.

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