Oregon nursing program risks closure due to leadership void

Portland (Ore.) Community College's nursing program is at risk of closure due to a vacant nursing director position, OPB reported April 21.

The previous nursing program director resigned late March, and the college has been unable to fill her position since. State nursing regulators require nursing programs to have a nurse administrator in place 15 days after a departure. 

The college attempted to hire the previous director back in a limited capacity with support from other administrators, but she resigned again after a few days. Two nursing faculty members offered to jointly take on the role in addition to their teaching, but the college declined, allegedly due to the pay increase the faculty members requested.

The college is "working on finding a replacement swiftly," James Hill, PPC's interim senior director of marketing and communications, told OPB. "Leading up to the administrator's departure, PCC has been in conversations with numerous individuals to identify either a nursing director replacement or, at a minimum, someone to serve in the nursing program administrator role. The college is in active conversations with staffing agencies to fill the nursing administrator role."

However, some staff are unhappy with the college's search. 

"It would be different if there weren't qualified people willing to step into the role, but there are,"  Anne Mortensen, RN, a nursing faculty member at PCC, told OPB. "We need directors that have actually been here and understand what's going on and understand the resources we need."

Mr. Hill said they tried working with internal candidates "based on the salary range for the director position, bargaining contracts and pay equity laws," but that the candidates declined the offer.

The 15-day deadline is set for May 4, according to the college. The college offers an associate's degree in nursing.

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