California Considers Training Nursing Students in Mexico
The California Labor and Workforce Development Agency is developing a program that would send bilingual nursing students to programs in Mexico as part of an effort to increase the supply of nurses while the state works to expand capacity at nursing programs in California, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The proposed program is believed to be the first time that a state has moved to outsource nurse education to another country.
As many as 40 students on waiting lists for California nursing schools could participate in the program, which could launch as soon as January 2008.
The California Board of Registered Nursing reports that the number of qualified applicants to California nursing schools has almost tripled over the past six years and that nursing schools rejected 61% of qualified applicants in 2006 largely because of capacity problems.
The proposal under consideration would require students to complete classes at nursing schools in Guadalajara, Mexico, and undergo additional clinical training in California. Students would take classes as a group and would be accompanied by U.S. faculty.
Education and housing costs for the students in Mexico would be about $20,000, about half the cost of providing similar services in California, according to Stephanie Leach, assistant secretary for policy and program development at LWDA.
Leach said that two colleges in Guadalajara are being considered for the program.
Upon completion of the program, students would work in underserved, bilingual communities. The commitment likely would be about two years.
Leach said program developers hope participants would be permitted to sit for the state licensing exam automatically.
The Board of Registered Nursing will consider the issue at its regular meeting on Thursday.
The proposal has drawn criticism from some nursing leaders who argue that funds could be used more effectively by expanding nursing programs in California. Some also have questioned whether students would receive adequate training, especially involving technology.
Leach said the program would not affect ongoing state efforts to increase the supply of nurses in California (Darcé, San Diego Union-Tribune, 9/16).