Columbia Memorial Hospital Supports College’s Nursing Program

CMH and college collaboration is good for all

Columbia Memorial Hospital CEO Erik Thorsen and Vice President of Patient Care Services present the Clatsop Community College Foundation with a $50,000 gift in support of its Nursing Program.

ASTORIA, Ore.—A strong relationship between Clatsop Community College (CCC) and Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) is vital to creating high paying jobs in Clatsop County.

For six of the past seven years, CMH has donated money to support the Nursing Program. On Nov. 8, 2017, hospital CEO Erik Thorsen and Vice President of Patient Care Services Trece Gurrad, RN, presented the Clatsop Community College Foundation with a $50,000 donation.

“We continue to support the Nursing Program because it helps us meet our workforce needs by training quality nurses who are committed to working and living in the region,” Thorsen said. “We believe our collaboration with Clatsop Community College has helped CMH avoid a nursing shortage.”

The college’s director of Nursing and Allied Health programs, Allison Sansom said, “Research shows that associate degree nursing programs, such as Clatsop Community College’s, supply rural areas like ours with the majority of their nursing workforce. It’s a great economic impact to graduate 15 to 20 nurses every year who want to live and work here.”

Nursing programs are expensive to offer. The Oregon State Board of Nursing requires colleges to maintain one instructor for every eight students in the clinical setting, and each student must spend 900 hours in a clinical setting.

Gifts like CMH’s subsidizes the cost of the nursing program, allowing the college to keep tuition low for students and makes it possible for them to complete their education.

“The college’s nursing program has consistently graduated highly intelligent and skilled students that have become a part of CMH’s nursing staff,” said CMH’s Gurrad, who also serves as the president of the Nursing Program Advisory Board.

Allison Sansom with second-year nursing students.

Many of the nurses at the hospital graduated from Clatsop Community College. In just the past three years, CMH has hired 19 of the Nursing Program’s graduates.

Heidi Thompson, a second-year nursing student from Knappa, said she chose the Clatsop Community College nursing program because “it’s a really good program and it’s in my community. And I don’t need to go far and spend a lot to get a good education.”

Thompson plans to stay in the area after graduation and to work at one of the local hospitals.