A shout out for Citrus College’s nursing programs

by Laura J. Bollinger | Special to the Courier

The United States is in the midst of a nursing shortage. Due to a number of factors, including an aging population and a retiring workforce, the need for nurses continues to rise. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently projected that more than 275,000 additional nurses will be needed by 2030.

Thankfully, Citrus College is doing its part by offering high-quality, affordable nursing programs that produce nurses who care for our local communities, including Claremont.

Led by Noemi Barajas, DNP, interim director of health sciences, the nursing programs at Citrus College offer multiple degree and certificate options for students seeking to work in the health care field. Pathways include associate degrees in registered nursing or vocational nursing, a certificate in vocational nursing, and certified nurse assistant or home health aide skill awards.

Whereas other schools may accept more students, Citrus College admits smaller cohorts in the registered nursing program, providing them with the ability to work more closely with instructors, counselors, and peers. The registered nursing program receives approximately 500 applications annually and accepts only 30 to 32 students. However, other Citrus College nursing programs, including vocational nursing, accept more students.

“Being small has its benefits,” Barajas said. “Not only do we have excellent pass rates for the National Council Licensure Examination – or NCLEX – we also have students come back and teach because they had such positive experiences. Currently, five Citrus College alumni are teaching in our health sciences department.”

Shawna Weiner, director of nursing at Claremont Manor Care Center, began her nursing journey as a Citrus College student. Photo/courtesy of Citrus College

In addition to preparing students for nursing careers, the program also makes connections with surrounding communities. For example, Shawna Weiner, director of nursing at Claremont Manor Care Center, began her nursing journey as a Citrus College student in 2015 when she enrolled in the certified nurse assistant program after earning degrees in biological and physical sciences and mathematics.

“I realized I wanted to pursue nursing when I was a senior in high school,” Weiner said. “I wasn’t completely sure, but I knew that getting my associate degree for pre-nursing would be the right start.”

After spending several years as a certified nurse assistant, Weiner returned to Citrus in 2018 to earn her associate degree in registered nursing.

As a student, Weiner worked at Claremont Manor Care Center and helped lay the groundwork for the facility to be used as a clinical site for a Citrus College gerontology course. Thanks to her efforts, Citrus nursing students now use Claremont Manor Care Center for their clinical rotations.

“I am very grateful for all the opportunities that I have had both attending Citrus College and working with them as a professional nurse,” Weiner said. “They’ve continued to support me after graduation, and I look forward to a continued partnership with the college.”

As the representative of Claremont and portions of Pomona and La Verne on the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees, I am proud of the amazing work being done by the college’s nursing programs. Our graduates are making an impact in the community, and local employers value Citrus College-trained students.

For those looking to enter the health care field, I encourage you to consider Citrus College. To learn more, visit citruscollege.edu/academics.

Laura J. Bollinger represents Claremont on the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees.


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