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CGCC receives anniversary gift

— It has been almost 10 years since the first class of registered nurses graduated from Columbia Gorge Community College and the anniversary will be marked by a new agreement to help further the education of students.

Doris Jepson, director of the nursing program, said training opportunities in the field are highly competitive, which can make it more difficult for someone to navigate the system on their own.

Under a new agreement between the local college and Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU), graduates with an associate of applied science degree in nursing from the gorge college can transition to OHSU and earn their bachelor’s degree.

Jepson said, “This agreement is a formal document recognizing that the courses the students take here are acceptable to OHSU,” said Jepson. “Our grads can apply to most any school but having something like this in place with such a prestigious university is very good.”

The Baccalaureate Completion Program for RNs offered by OHSU is designed for medical personnel who are working. Courses are offered online with occasional voice-to-voice webinars and a two-day conference held in Salem or Portland.

Graduates from the CGCC nursing program who wish to obtain their bachelor’s from OHSU will be required to complete six credits of “transition” classes and then 33 credits of senior level courses. OHSU requires that students fulfill these requirements within five years of admission in order to earn a degree.

CGCC takes on a maximum of 24 nursing students out of 90 applicants to start the program each year and Jepson said the pace for students in the program is brisk, with a heavy emphasis on math and science.

She said a co-admission program is also available for CGCC students wanting to attend Linfield College in McMinnville, which provides them with yet another option to complete their bachelor’s degree in nursing.

The key to obtaining the agreements, said Jepson, is that program elements at all of the participating institutes have to match up enough for credits to be transferrable. She said it took nine months for officials from the local college and OHSU to hammer out the details that will ensure the transition from one program to the next will be as seamless as possible.

Jepson worked closely with Catherine Salveson, associate professor and RN-BS program director at OHSU, during that process. They had become acquainted many years earlier in a different role; Salveson was Jepson’s mentor at OHSU in the late 1990s.

“We’re a big world and, at the same time, we’re small,” said Jepson, who was one of the original instructor’s in CGCC’s signature program that began in 2001.

Salveson has agreed to be the keynote speaker at the pinning ceremony for CGCC’s nursing class of 2013 that will take place on June 13.

Jepson is excited about Salveson’s presentation as the class of 2013 earns their nursing pins. Prior to that ceremony, the college is hosting a 10th Anniversary Celebration for the nursing program that takes place from 5:30-8:30 p.m. on Friday, May 3, in the Class Act Cafe in Building 1. That event is intended to bring almost 200 nurses together and also includes a celebration of community partnerships. The organizing committee has invited representatives from area hospitals and medical clinics to join the festivities where nursing students, past and present, will share stories of humor and success.

People wanting more information about the anniversary party can call Angela Johnston at 541-506-6141 or email


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