Leslie Callihan 0

Letter of Support and Solidarity for Clark College Nursing Program

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October 4, 2015

To Whom It May Concern,

We, the students of Clark College and concerned members of the community, wish to voice our show of support of the Clark College Nursing program in light of the recently proposed budget cuts. The Clark College Nursing Program has maintained a positive reputation in the community for over 50 years. Not only has Clark College consistently trained and sent out highly skilled and professional nurses into the workforce, but Clark College nursing students are making a positive impact in the surrounding area while still in school.

One example through which a positive impact is made, is through the Student Nurses Association of Clark College (SNACC). SNACC is a student led program on campus open to all students of Clark College. This program provides students exposure to diverse areas of nursing by inviting guest speakers, who currently work as nurses, to share their professional experiences with students. SNACC also provides students the opportunity to develop leadership skills, and partners with various businesses in our community to volunteer as needed. Examples of these partnerships begin with the Share House, which is a local organization that helps provide shelter, food, and resources to families in need. Clark nursing students volunteer at various Share events, as well as organizing an annual “giving tree” event in which students provide items to be donated to local families that Share House serves. Additionally,nursing students volunteer at Dozer Days, help with health screenings at local elementary schools, work with the City of Vancouver at the first aid station during the Super Fun Hero Run, and partner with the Red Cross for training in their sheltering exercise, which trains participants to help the Red Cross in an emergency situation. Not only are nursing students promoting a positive presence off-campus for various organizations, but we are also starting our own Clark traditions, such as the “Walk for Cancer”, which has raised over $2,200 in gift cards for gas and groceries to benefit cancer patients being treated at Peace Health Outpatient Oncology Treatment Center.

To continue to maintain a presence in the community during their summer break, Clark College nursing students are involved in events which include running the first aid tents at Paddle for Life, the first aid station for the Summer Concert Series at Esther Short Park, and helping in the first aid tent at Camp Juliana, which is put on by the Girl Scouts of America.

Additionally, various local employers have stated that they prefer the professionalism and skill level of Clark nursing students, and would prefer to hire Clark Nursing School graduates. In light of recent nursing shortages, it is paramount for Clark College to continue to provide the local job market with the same number of professional nurses that the local medical community has come to depend on.

The possibility of losing adjunct instructors to the budget cuts would be a devastating loss to our program. Many of these instructors are currently working as nurses, and their current, relevant skills and expertise are invaluable for training students to meet the needs and demands of the ever-changing nursing industry.

Before initiating the proposed cuts to our program, we feel it is important to consider that reducing the number of spaces available for incoming students will affect the college as a whole. Prerequisite classes that students must complete prior to applying for the nursing program would likely see a decrease in registration, as students may become discouraged about the possibility of not getting into our program, and choose to further their education elsewhere.

We urge those responsible for imposing the budget cuts to take these things into consideration, and to take a step back and see the school-wide and community-wide effects of withdrawing such a big portion of funding from the nursing program. With nursing majors having the option to attend any one of many nursing schools in the area, it is important to keep our program strong in staff, as well as in student enrollment numbers. For although Clark is a community college, our nursing program is undoubtedly one of the best and its reputation for being such draws a lot of students to Clark. These students will have to take many classes here to prepare for this program; scaling back the nursing program may translate into reduced enrollment in classes in many areas, and cause a further decline in admissions.

To close, we urge you to reevaluate, and reduce the amount set to be cut out of the nursing program, and impose the budget cuts in a different fashion. Thank you for taking the time to consider our input.

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