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TAKING THE PULSE OF REGIONAL HEALTH CARE

Southwest Washington needs more health care professionals. That was the message that U.S. Sen. Patty Murray heard when she visited Clark College at WSU Vancouver on Oct. 8.

A panel of health care professionals, including Clark College Director of Nursing Shelly Quint, told the senator that the region needs more nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, physical therapists, medical assistants and educators. Sen. Murray told the group that she heard similar messages throughout the state.

United States Senator Patty Murray listened intently to Shelley Quint, director of Clark’s nursing program, and other health care professionals as they explained the region’s need for more nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, physical therapists, medical assistants and educators.
United States Senator Patty Murray (center) listened intently to Shelley Quint, director of Clark’s nursing program, and other health care professionals as they explained the region’s need for more nurses, pharmacists, radiologists, physical therapists, medical assistants and educators.

Panel members, including Vicki Owen, senior recruitment specialist for Legacy Health System, and Dr. Gil Rodriguez, chief medical officer at Southwest Washington Medical Center, focused on the need for nurses and primary care.

Quint told the senator and panel that pay is low for educators compared to working nurses. As a result, said Clark President Bob Knight, the college receives just one or two applicants for some teaching positions. At the same time, said Quint, the college receives hundreds of applications from qualified students but can’t admit them because the college doesn’t have enough staff and because the region doesn’t have enough clinical sites for training.

Following the roundtable, which was held at Clark College at WSU Vancouver, Senator Murray received a tour of the college’s nursing program facility – which included a demonstration of “Sim-Man” by nursing program students,Following the panel discussion, Sen. Murray toured the college’s nursing center, including the simulation lab where students learn basic and advanced life support skills by working on “Sim-Man,” a full-body adult male mannequin, and other smart technology “patients.”

Sen. Murray said she planned to hold similar sessions on health care challenges in Tacoma and Spokane.

Among those representing Clark College at the health care roundtable were Travis Kibota, interim dean of Science, Health & Physical Education and Math, Physical Science & Engineering and Alex Montoya, dean of Enrollment Services , pictured with Senator Murray.
Among those representing Clark College at the health care roundtable were Travis Kibota, interim dean of Science, Health & Physical Education and Math, Physical Science & Engineering (left) and Alex Montoya, dean of Enrollment Services (right), pictured here with Senator Murray (center).

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