As development of a registered nursing program continues at Klamath Community College, college administrators and nursing department faculty expect to be able to begin offering classes in early 2015.
The program has already cleared two levels of approval, but must still have the final curriculum approved by the Oregon State Board of Nursing. That last stage of initial approval is expected to take place in November.
“Due to the nature of a nursing program, the approval and accreditation process is very stringent,” according to KCC President Dr. Roberto Gutierrez. “We certainly understand and appreciate why that is; you don’t want nurses who have not been properly trained out working on patients. Our nurses will be very well-trained.”
With a focus on rural nursing, the RN program at KCC will be tailored to the communities of Klamath and Lake Counties. “The ability to have a registered nursing program for residents of isolated, rural counties would be an enormous asset for us,” said Lake Health District CEO Charlie Tveit. “Graduates of an RN program from one of our communities are much more likely to stay here, as they have families and ties to the area.” Once final approval is granted, KCC’s program will be the only registered nursing program in the state with an emphasis on rural nursing.
If all goes as planned and initial approval is granted later this month, the RN program will start with a bridge program for existing nursing students in winter 2015 with new students beginning a first-year RN cohort in winter 2016. Meanwhile, a variety of prerequisite courses are being offered this fall through KCC and its Lakeview campus for students who wish to begin preparing for the RN program. Once the program is fully implemented, clinicals will take place at the Lake District Hospital in Lakeview.
“This would not have been possible without a strong partnership between KCC and Lake Health District,” said Dr. Gutierrez. “We are very appreciative of all that they have done to move this process along, including providing $225,000 in program start-up funds to make this possible.”