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Memories of SSU

Joyce M. Michelson

Student, Nursing Program 1972-1974

            In 1971, I was an instructor for the Psychiatric Technician program at Napa College, while taking classes to earn a Standard Designated Subjects Teaching Credential. I learned that Sonoma State College was offering an innovative Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science degree program in the fall of 1972. I viewed this as the possibility of a lifetime, a long sought goal and dream to earn an academic degree. And, I realized that many professional opportunities were not available to me without a minimum of a B.S.N. I wanted to increase my knowledge and skills so as to provide better care to those I served. I was determined to become a more effective clinician.

            With enthusiasm, I became a part-time student at Napa College. By the spring of 1972, I had completed the course work for an Associate Arts and Associate Science Degree, having been credited with thirty units for my Diploma in Nursing. I looked forward to earning a bachelor’s degree without being required to repeat basic fundamentals of nursing. The focus of the curriculum at Sonoma State on community and family health, scientific principles and concepts of interaction and change was designed to enhance and enrich the knowledge and skills of the diploma and associate degree programs.

            The well qualified faculty at Sonoma State College obviously had been selected for their wealth of knowledge and diverse backgrounds, as well as academic credentials, essential to gaining the respect of the mature, experienced students attracted to the program. Their standards were challenging, often difficult to achieve, but in retrospect made success in the program more valuable. Open, honest communication among students and faculty was encouraged. Collegial relationships were established in this unique learning environment. I thought that the faculty were dedicated and invested in assisting their students to accomplish their goals.

            As a mature student, I recognized and expected that this new program would encounter glitches and challenges. And, it did. I was impressed by the manner the faculty resolved them. Lastly, I recall the intense pressure we students put on the faculty to prepare for the National League for Nursing (NLN) accreditation, so that those of us wishing to pursue graduate degrees would be eligible. And, they rose to the occasion and did it! To me, this program was the chance of a lifetime and a wonderful growth experience.

            I continue to have the utmost admiration for the faculty and for the administration of Sonoma State College (University), who were responsible for establishing this unique nursing program. I completed the program with renewed passion to be an even better nurse. Later, I earned a Master of Science in Nursing.