Olympic College announces expansive plan to increase healthcare programs

Olympic College announces expansive plan to increase healthcare programs Main Photo

21 Apr 2023

Workforce, Healthcare, Education

POULSBO – Olympic College is poised to help fill a growing need for qualified health care professionals in and around Kitsap County. The college received unanimous support from the Board of Trustees for a proposal presented at their regular meeting on April 18 that could significantly increase the number of programs offered.

“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,” said OC President Marty Cavalluzzi. “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.”

Nursing & Allied Health pathways currently offered by Olympic College 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. 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.

Under the proposal, enrollment in these programs would grow from 248 students to 420 by 2027.

The proposal also 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. These programs could serve up to 310 students per year by 2027. 

The proposal calls for the relocation of all Allied Health programs, including those currently in existence, to the OC Poulsbo Campus. This would create an Allied Health education hub in the north end of Kitsap County within the City of Poulsbo.

In order to house these new programs, Olympic College will pursue funding for a 60 - 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.  

“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,” said City of Poulsbo Mayor Becky Erickson. “The Allied Health Center at Olympic College Poulsbo, will be an educational hub, leading the way, training more nurses and medical professionals. The City of Poulsbo is deeply grateful to Olympic College for their vision and steadfast partnership.”

OC’s Nursing & Allied Health Programs have demonstrated tremendous leadership 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. Now, OC Allied Health is ready to fill an even greater role in our community.

“This proposal is transformational not only for Olympic College, but also for the state of healthcare in our community, which is a growing concern,” says Dean of Nursing & Allied Health Dr. Alecia Nye. “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.”