OC announces plan to expand healthcare programs

Allied Health programs would move to Poulsbo campus

Olympic College is looking to help fill a growing need for qualified healthcare professionals in and around Kitsap County.

The college received unanimous support from its Board of Trustees April 18 that could significantly increase the number of programs offered.

Under the proposal, the number of healthcare courses would expand, and the number of students would grow from 248 to 420 by 2027.

The proposal calls for the relocation of all Allied Health programs to the OC Poulsbo Campus, the release states, which would create an Allied Health education hub in the north end of Kitsap County.

“Olympic College is supporting our community by training desperately needed medical personnel. The shortage of health care workers is real and needs to be addressed,” Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson said. “The Allied Health Center at Olympic College Poulsbo, will be an educational hub, leading the way, training more nurses and medical professionals.”

Nursing & Allied Health pathways offered by OC include: Medical Assisting, Nursing and Physical Therapist Assistant. Programs offered in Nursing include Nursing Assistant, Licensed Practical Nursing, Associate Degree in Nursing (Registered Nurse), Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Veteran Licensed Practical Nursing to Bachelor of Science in Nursing, per a news release. Those pursuing Medical Assisting can earn certificates in billing and coding, medical receptionist, or earn an Associate of Science — Transfer degree. The Physical Therapist Assistant program offers an Associate of Science — Transfer degree.

“We know that health care providers in our community and throughout the Puget Sound area need workers to fill career-wage jobs in many fields,” OC president Marty Cavalluzzi said. “Olympic College is well situated to help fill this need with the creation of new programs and the expansion of those that are currently in place.”

The proposal calls for the creation of numerous new programs to include: Corpsman Practical Nursing for Navy Veterans, Phlebotomy, Surgical Technology, Radiology Technology, Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Respiratory Therapy, Dental Hygiene, Dental Assisting, Emergency Medical Technician and Paramedic.

Those programs could serve up to 310 students per year by 2027.

In order to house the new programs, Olympic College will pursue funding for up to an 80,000-square-foot health science building that would include a primary care clinic (first floor), classrooms, innovative learning spaces such as multi-disciplinary simulation and lab environments, and faculty, staff and administrative office spaces.

OC’s Nursing & Allied Health programs were very active throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. They partnered with Kitsap Public Health District to provide testing in the early stages, followed by vaccination clinics in the later stages. Graduates of these programs have gone on to fill vital healthcare roles in Kitsap County and beyond.

“This proposal is transformational not only for Olympic College, but also for the state of healthcare in our community, which is a growing concern,” said Dr. Alecia Nye, dean of Nursing & Allied Health. “The OC Nursing program has long been a leader in this field. We were one of the first community colleges in the nation to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, and we are experienced and well situated to expand our offerings.”