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Photo-CMH Chief Executive Officer Eric Thorson gives a check to CCC Foundation President Susan Bartlett. (L-R) Trece Gurrad, Susan Bartlett, Eric Thorson, Chris Breitmeyer, Allison Sansom, Sarrah Lindgren, Heidi Thompson, Madilyn Davis, Miranda Dietrichs

Columbia Memorial Hospital presented a check for $50,000 to the Clatsop Community College Foundation on Wednesday, November 8, 2017, to go towards the college’s nursing program. CMH has been a supporter of the Nursing Program in many ways over the years and the partnership is important for both parties.

Trece Gurrad, RN, and VP of Patient Care Services at CMH serves on the college’s Nursing Program Advisory Board as President and sees the partnership between hospital and college as vital to this community. “The Nursing Program and CMH share the value of progressive and innovative paths for nurses to achieve their bachelor’s and master’s degrees while living and working in a rural community,” she stated.  “The college’s nursing program has consistently graduated highly intelligent and skilled students that have become a part of CMH’s nursing staff.”

Allison Sansom, Director of Nursing and Allied Health programs at CCC, knows how important nursing programs are to rural areas like Clatsop County to keep skilled health professionals in the area. “Associate degree nursing programs, such as Clatsop Community College’s, supply rural areas like ours with the majority of their nursing workforce who want to live and work in our community and further contribute to the economic growth of our area,” she stated. Eric Thorson, Chief Executive Officer at CMH added that students coming out of the CCC nursing program help the hospital with their workforce needs. He stated, “We are lucky that we aren’t feeling the nursing shortage that other areas of the country are experiencing.”

Support like this from CMH relieves some financial stress of offering expensive programs such as nursing. Sansom explained that the Oregon State Board of Nursing regulates education programs for registered nursing, and directs nursing programs to maintain a ratio of 1 instructor per 8 students in the clinical setting. Students spend up to 900 hours in the clinical setting during the nursing program and due to this instructor to student ratio, nursing programs are expensive to offer. In order to keep tuition and fees low, Clatsop Community College is reliant on clinical partners to offset the cost of offering a nursing program in our community. “Our mutually beneficial relationships between CCC and our clinical partners, such as CMH are vital to ensure we are able to continue to offer a program that produces high-quality nursing graduates.”

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