Oregon nursing program risks closure amid leadership void

Faculty at Portland Community College are concerned that the school's nursing program may be in jeopardy due to a lack of resources.

PORTLAND, Ore., (AP) - A leadership void puts a nursing program at Portland, Oregon, in danger of closing, causing concern among students and faculty, as the state struggles with a shortage of nurses.

Since resigning from Portland Community College last month, the director of the nursing program at that college has not been replaced.

Oregon Public Broadcasting Report

According to state nursing regulations, the school has until 4 May to fill this position.

Students and faculty are worried.

Anne Mortensen is a PCC nursing faculty member. She said, "We have students who are about to graduate." They will not be able graduate without a director."

Last week, dozens of people testified at the board meeting and called for the replacement of the nursing program director.

Financial challenges have been a challenge for nursing faculty at PCC in filling leadership positions. Two professors who temporarily offered to fill this role requested higher pay. OPB reported that PCC declined to accept the offer.

James Hill, interim senior director for marketing and communications at PCC, said that the college was 'working to find a replacement quickly' in a recent statement.

The shortage of nursing faculty and nurses in Oregon would be exacerbated by a potential closure.

Low pay has made it difficult for nursing programs in Oregon to recruit teachers. Nurse practitioners make more money in the health care industry than they do in education. According to a state agency report, Oregon has the nation's 12th-largest pay gap between nursing faculty members and nurse practitioners.