SACRAMENTO – Assembly Bill 1051, dedicated to expanding higher education and employment for nurses, was signed into law Thursday by California Governor Gavin Newsom, Assemblywoman Christy Smith (D-Santa Clarita), the bill’s author, said Friday.
Current nursing programs demonstrate a rigid course load cap for nursing faculty to meet, causing high turnover rates for instructors and impacting classroom education. AB 1051 improves recruitment and retention for nursing faculty and encourages continuity of education for nursing students in community colleges by authorizing exemptions to the course load cap.
Across California, community colleges are essential for nurses’ education — seven in 10 nurses receive their training at a California community college. With a looming nursing shortage — by 2030, the state is projected to suffer a deficiency of 140,000 nurses — it’s important to reinforce our community college nursing programs.
“Community college nursing faculty and all nurses throughout our district are essential to the health and well-being of our community,” Smith said in a statement. “They provide a vital service to healthcare in California, and with a growing need for nurses in our state, AB 1051 will allow greater opportunities, educational quality and employment pathways for this expanding and well-needed vocation.”
“Community college nursing programs are a high-quality and affordable way for thousands of California students to achieve their educational and career goals,” California Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said. “AB 1051 is a valuable tool for our colleges to maximize student access and success in these programs.”
“This bill allows nursing programs to continue to admit and educate nurses to meet the health workforce needs of California. Nursing programs will be able to utilize the resources that they have available to them while seeking solutions to alleviate the full-time nursing faculty shortage,” Ventura College School of Nursing & Allied Health Director Sandra Melton said. “AB 1051 will allow Ventura College to serve more students and maintain baseline enrollment numbers.”
AB 1051 will take effect on January 1, 2020. The Office of the California Community College Chancellor estimates that the bill will allow California’s community colleges to provide education to an additional 351 nursing students each year.
Smith represents California’s 38th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Santa Clarita, Simi Valley, Agua Dulce, Castaic, Santa Susana Knolls and North San Fernando Valley.