ONTARIO — The nursing program at Treasure Valley Community College has seen many changes this year, with the most recent coming Wednesday. That’s when Dr. Paulla Mizer stepped down as the executive director of Nursing and Allied Health, according to a news release sent Thursday night from Abby Lee, TVCC’s public information officer.
In an emailed statement from Mizer this morning, she said part of the reason was pressure from Oregon officials to close down the program.
“I have resigned from TVCC as the Director of Nursing. I am retiring at this time. There are several reasons for this retirement, to include the extreme pressure the Oregon State Board of Nursing is putting on this program to close and the repercussion of their decisions on these students,” Mizer wrote.
Currently there are 34 students enrolled in the program.
President Dana Young in the release said college officials are confident there is faculty in place to continue the program.
“We are also getting tremendous support from other colleges and have reached out to have additional adjunct instructors help support our program,” Young said.
In response to Mizer’s comments, Lee said in a phone interview this morning that there has been a lot of attention and oversight being given to TVCC’s program by the Nursing Board. She said she does not see it as an attempt to close the program down.
“We are not shutting the program down,” said Lee. “We are committed to this program.”
TVCC faculty are in communications with members of of the Oregon Association of Nursing Educators on Fridays which provides support for the local instructors, said Lee.
Current nursing faculty member Brianne Haun will be the interim leader, and TVCC will seek her final appointment to the position through Oregon State Board of Nursing. In addition, the news release states that the college will continue to seek a full-time director.
Haun will also continue teaching nursing classes this year as a faculty member, reads the release.
“TVCC has a great program and we have great students,” Haun said. “For me it’s about the students. What’s best for them, what we can do to make sure they are prepared and qualified and whether or not
they feel supported. I’m still excited about what is ahead.”
“My real passion is teaching nursing, but I’m ready to help keep things moving forward for our students,” Haun said. “I’m grateful for the trust placed in me and I’m appreciative of so many of our local nurses and healthcare professionals who are willing to provide guest lectures, exceptional clinical experiences and support for our students.”
Mizer as well as two additional instructors were hired in July. This was after the college had seen the loss of its previous director along with three faculty members who submitted resignations during a span of a couple weeks in April.
At that time, TVCC had an open faculty position in the program it had been trying to fill for more than a year. College officials cited higher accreditation requirements and higher private-sector pay as issues in recruiting candidates.
After TVCC officials to look at how they could continue the program, they presented a remediation plan in June to the Oregon Board of Nursing, which included cutting the number of first year students by nearly half and mentoring new employees in the department.
TVCC got the OK from the board in July.
In order to keep the college’s accreditation, the program is required to continue for students currently enrolled. As of Thursday, there are 20 second-year students and 14 first-year students.