Umpqua Community College will receive $500,000 in financial assistance from CHI Mercy Medical Center to revive its nationally accredited nursing program, according to Kelly Morgan, CEO of Mercy Medical.
Morgan made the statement during Tuesday’s meeting of the Umpqua Valley Development Corporation, a group consisting of community members looking to build a new medical college in Roseburg.
“What we’ve agreed to do is: we will provide $100,000 to UCC for each of the next five years so they can go back and get their accreditation and retain it,” Morgan said. “That way we can train more nurses here and accommodate all the needs for George Fox as well as UCC.”
CHI Mercy Medical spokesperson Kathleen Nickel did not respond to requests for more information as of Thursday morning.
“This will just be a huge win for the college. It will really help this new program that George Fox is going to bring to the community,” UCC board chair Steve Loosley said. “The gesture, the graciousness of Mercy hospital to help fund this position. When I first heard it I was emotionally moved. It’s a really kind thing to do and it just shows Mercy’s commitment to Umpqua and to the community to make this program work.”
George Fox University signed an agreement in March 2019 to offer bachelor’s and advanced degrees in various medical fields at the proposed new college.
6. George Fox to bring med-ed college
UCC and George Fox University would both need to place students at medical facilities in the area for clinical rotations, a task Mercy Medical Center is unable to take on by itself.
“If we’re going to have a (bachelor of science in nursing) program here in town, obviously the VA needs to be in the clinical rotation,” Morgan said. “The two directors of nursing met with some of the folks from George Fox and from UCC. So long as UCC gets their federal accreditation back, we can accommodate all the rotations with the expanded UCC associate nursing degree as well as the BSN.”
Building a medical college in Roseburg in an effort to get more medical personnel in the area and boost the local economy has been in the works for more than a decade.
In the past two years, the project saw a $10 million financial commitment from the state, a $10 million commitment from the city and an agreement with George Fox University to provide the education.
Umpqua Community College has a growing state-accredited nursing program that will accommodate 64 students this fall, most of whom will have clinical cohorts at CHI Mercy Medical Center.
“The last few months here, the college has been working all-hands-on-deck to grow the cohort up to 64. It’s taken a lot of effort to get there,” Loosley said. “Now that that’s under our belt, my understanding is in the near future that this is on the radar to begin on regaining the national accreditation. I think it’s sooner rather than later, this is a priority for the college.”
The school dropped its national accreditation in 2018 due to budgetary and time constraints. Students with a two-year nursing degree need to be nationally accredited to work for the Roseburg VA Medical Center.
It is unclear how long it would take the college to regain national accreditation and whether UCC wants to regain its national accreditation.
Loosley was present at the Umpqua Valley Development Corporation meeting and is a member of several boards related to health care in the community.
“I think it’ll be really good,” Loosley said. “It’s a huge win for everybody in our community. It’s a big win for the medical college. It’s a win for Umpqua. It will certainly help the overall health care in our community.”