At Treasure Valley Community College we celebrated graduation two weeks ago, just started summer term on Monday, and are already gearing up for fall term.

As we look forward, one of the biggest questions we get has to do with our nursing program.

As part of this significant changes in faculty and the department, TVCC was required to submit a program remediation plan to the Oregon State Board of Nursing (OSBN) for their approval in June. Vice President Eddie Alves and I presented the College’s plan to the OSBN earlier this month. After reviewing TVCC’s proposal, OSBN board members agreed to defer consideration of the plan until July. This delay will enable us to hire additional faculty and prepare a more comprehensive plan for how these instructors will be supported and mentored in classroom instruction.

And we are excited to announce after more than a month of searching we have hired Dr. Paulla Mizer to take the helm of our nursing program. Dr. Mizer will join the College on July 8 and will begin helping train new faculty and preparing for classes next year. While final approval of the program and Dr. Mizer’s position as Director of Nursing is still pending OSBN approval, we are hopeful we can get that secured soon. Dr. Mizer previously taught at Breckinridge College of Nursing, Grand Canyon University and Provo College. She also has extensive clinical experience working in acute care and hospital settings. Dr. Mizer joins Brianne Haun, who was recently hired as a nursing faculty and started at TVCC on June 1. Haun, a graduate of TVCC’s nursing program, has also been teaching as part of the clinical instruction for the program for the past two years.

Part of TVCC’s remediation proposal includes lowering next year’s first year nursing class from 24 students to 14. The reduced class size is designed to allow new faculty more time to assist and advise these new students.

While we are still very optimistic we will be able to hire qualified nursing faculty, we also know these new faculty members and our new director will need time to not only teach the students, but to evaluate all processes at TVCC and become familiar with the curriculum. Reducing the number of nursing students in this next year’s class has been difficult for our community but we believe it is the best decision for the stability of the TVCC nursing program.

TVCC has also received an outpouring of support from local healthcare providers.

This has been a significant change for TVCC and we have met this challenge with determination and steady resolve to use this an opportunity to evaluate our strengths and to draw upon the depth of expertise from so many of our partners across the state.

In particular, nursing program partners from Mount Hood Community College, Clackamas Community College, Oregon Health Science University and others have contacted TVCC to provide assistance in curriculum training and faculty development.

In addition, local partners including Saint Alphonsus Medical Center - Ontario, St. Lukes, Valley Family Health, Weiser Memorial Hospital, Heart ‘n Home Hospice and Horizon Hospice have also provided letters of support for TVCC’s program as well as offers of assistance to help with the transition.

We are working hard to shore up the final plan and will travel to Portland again next week to finalize and present an updated remediation plan for the Oregon State Board of Nursing for their approval.

It is humbling and gratifying to see the strong relationships that have been forged for almost 60 years in this community because of the nursing program, and because of so many incredible nursing faculty we’ve had over the years. While we would not have asked for this challenge, we are committed to turning this into an opportunity for the students and for our nursing program.

Dana Young is president of Treasure Valley Community College. The views and opinions expressed in this column do not necessarily represent those of The Argus Observer.

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