New BSN Program Expands Pipeline for Valley Nurses

A new undergraduate program adds a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing to the existing nursing programs at Fresno Pacific University.

Preparatory classes for the BSN begin in the fall of 2020 for freshmen entering FPU. Applications to and selection for the nursing cohort will occur next year, in fall 2021, with preference given to FPU pre-nursing students. “The entry-level BSN gives the fullest FPU educational experience to the professional nurse,” said Karen Cianci, Ph.D., dean of the School of Natural Sciences.

Course highlights include:

  • Small groups of students progress through the program together for mutual support
  • Innovative curriculum taught by supportive, experienced faculty
  • An emphasis on wellness, health promotion and evidence-based practice
  • Opportunities to train at some of the best hospitals in the San Joaquin Valley
  • Personalized faculty advising
  • Courses that integrate faith and science
  • A focus on human and spiritual aspects of nursing, as well as technical skills
Nursing students with nursing instructor

The university introduced an RN to BSN program in 2009 for registered nurses wishing to complete their bachelor’s degree. An MSN was accredited in 2014 to prepare nurses for higher levels of care and responsibility. In 2017 FPU and Madera Community Hospital entered into an academic-clinical partnership, the Family Nurse Practitioner Partnered Residency Education Program (FNP PREP). “The MSN-FNP PREP program with Madera Community Hospital is providing excellent clinical training and enhancing our service to the Valley,” Cianci said.

FPU’s partnership with Madera Community Hospital is unique, offering students a “residency” through MCH and its rural health care clinics and their affiliated and employed group of providers. “We are so proud to have MCH doctors educate and mentor our nursing students. Their knowledge is invaluable in preparing our candidates to respond to the challenges as nurses take on larger roles in people’s care, especially here in our Valley,” said Stacy Wise, DNP, RN, FNP-C, chair of the nursing department and director of the BSN program.

Nurses are in short supply in the region, especially in smaller rural communities where families may wait months for even basic care. “In the Central Valley, rapid population growth is outstripping RN education capacity—there are simply not enough nursing schools in the region to match current or future needs,” according to the Healthforce Center at the University of California at San Francisco.

FPU’s BSN program goes beyond standard nursing education to equip students with values and skills in leadership and service. Graduates will learn to provide holistic health care in compassionate and culturally sensitive ways. The strong liberal arts foundation helps develop social responsibility as well as skills in communication, conflict resolution and problem-solving. “While the course is rigorous, students will be supported in the classroom, the nursing lab and in clinical settings,” Wise said.

Graduates will be eligible for the National Council Licensing Examination (NCLEX) to be licensed as a registered nurse (RN) and meet California Board of Registered Nurses (BRN) requirements to apply for the Public Health Nurse certification. In addition to immediate employment in direct patient care, education and administration in hospitals, clinics and public health agencies, those who complete the BSN degree will have the educational foundation for entry into FPU’s MSN FNP-PREP program.

More about all FPU nursing programs, including how to apply, at Check out the video at


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations

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