Educational Collab Fast-Tracks Nurses to Bedside Care
May 8, 2024
Sutter Health
A nursing student talks with a clinical nurse instructor

SF State BSNA student Nate Challis receives immersive nurse training by Rosana Montemayor, a 20-year career nurse and new clinical instructor at Sutter’s CPMC in San Francisco. Montemayor received her nursing degree from SF State.

By Jennifer Modenessi, Vitals contributor 

When nurse Yuka Kaneko learned about the call for clinical instructors in the undergraduate nursing program at San Francisco State University, she leaped at the chance to help aspiring nurses prepare for their new careers.

A graduate of SF State’s nursing program, Kaneko knows how important it is for students to get a true feel for the profession in clinical rotations, where student nurses care for patients under the guidance of a nurse instructor.

Asian nurse in blue scrubs

Sutter Health nurse and clinical instructor Yuka Kaneko

“I want to get my students as close as possible to the real work,” says Kaneko, now a wound care nurse at Sutter’s California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco.

With the nursing workforce still recovering from staffing shortages and lingering burnout from the Covid pandemic, Kaneko and her colleagues at Sutter Health are training the next generation of nurses and strengthening the future of the profession.

Critical Collaborations

Educational partnerships between hospitals like Sutter’s CPMC and more than two dozen universities, community colleges and technical schools in California and across the nation have existed for some time. An important component of nursing programs, the collaborations give nursing students much-needed clinical experience under the supervision of professional nurses. Sutter Health currently partners with more than 80 educational nursing programs in California and across the country.

But Sutter’s CPMC and SF State are creating even more opportunities to get aspiring nurses out in the field and into the workforce. The institutions have teamed up to open eight additional clinical placement slots, a 25% increase, in SF State’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science Nursing Program for students coming to nursing from a different field. The program places students on the fast track to their new career and helps builds a direct pipeline of future nurses who are fully immersed in CPMC’s clinical culture and trained by the nurses who work there. Read the press announcement here

“This nursing partnership with SF State shows our commitment to the students’ continuing education and our commitment to our San Francisco community,” says Jim Benney, chief nurse executive at Sutter’s CPMC. “We not only want to help educate people in our communities, but we want our hospitals to be fully staffed for the communities we serve.”

A nurse and nursing student in conversation with a patient

Longtime Sutter nurse and new clinical instructor Rosana Montemayor oversees Nate Challis, an SF State BSNA student, as he engages with a patient at Sutter’s CPMC Mission Bernal campus hospital. Nurse training opportunities, like those offered at Sutter Health facilities across Northern California, are crucial for preparing future caregivers with the necessary skills and knowledge to provide high quality, compassionate patient care.

Opening Doors

The collaboration creates additional opportunities for SF State to place their students in clinical rotations, which some schools struggle to do as they balance limited placement opportunities with high demand.

“Clinical placements are an essential part of a nursing student’s education, allowing students to use the knowledge and skills they learned in the classroom and apply it in the real world,” says Elaine Musselman, director of the School of Nursing at SF State. “We are grateful to partner with Sutter’s CPMC to provide more of these opportunities to our students.”

Nursing students train at CPMC’s three hospitals. The expanded program kicked off in January with a spring fundamentals unit at Sutter’s CPMC Mission Bernal campus. A psychology/mental health unit at the Davies campus and an obstetrics unit at Sutter’s CPMC Van Ness campus follow in the summer. The program continues in the fall with pediatrics and med-surg units at the Van Ness campus and concludes with a capstone unit next spring.

Nate Challis is a student nurse in clinical rotations at the Mission Bernal campus. The former loan officer and EMT is pursuing a career as a nurse so he can combine his interests in health care with his love of caring for others. Challis and his colleagues spend time in the hospital’s adult care, ICU and med-surg units, among others, under the watchful eyes of their nursing mentors.

“It’s actually been such a great experience being trained here by seasoned nurses. We have nurses that have decades of experience, people that have been doing this that have seen things that I couldn’t even imagine,” Challis says. “That kind of experience really rubs off on you, even if it’s just been a day or two.”

Professional and Personal

Marika Burrell-Wright is another Sutter’s CPMC nurse who is sharing her knowledge with future nurses. The pediatric ICU outreach transport nurse is currently teaching a pediatric theory unit to a larger cohort of SF State undergraduate nursing students.

Over the course of 14 weeks, Burrell-Wright’s students learn about a wide range of subjects including pediatric cardiology, acquired diseases and cognitive development. It’s not all theory, though. Drawing from her own experience, she stresses the importance of how to speak with young patients, reminding her students that children aren’t “small adults.”

Like nurse Kaneko, Burrell-Wright is investing her time to ensure the nursing profession continues to have well-trained nurses who can provide a high level of care for their patients.

She’s also doing this for a more personal reason.

“It brings me a lot of joy,” she says.


Nursing students, doctors and other care team members stand in front of technology

The first eight students in SF State’s BSNA program’s to receive their clinical training at Sutter’s CPMC in San Francisco.

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