Nursing Program

Central Oregon Community College's Nursing Program is accredited by the Oregon State Board of Nursing to provide students with the academic and clinical preparation necessary to sit for state and national licensure exams upon completion of the program.

The Nursing Program provides a career ladder with exit points at the Nursing Assistant, Practical Nurse and Registered Nurse levels. In addition, students who complete the RN, AAS degree may then complete their Bachelor of Science in Nursing online in cooperation with Linfield College or Oregon Health Sciences University. Alternatively, students may complete the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer Nursing Preparation degree to prepare for application directly to many of the Oregon Universities that offer the Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

    Practical and Registered Nurse

    • Registered Nurse (RN) Program - for students who would like to earn their Practical Nurse Certification and/or Registered Nurse, Associates of Applied Science


    Nursing Student Profiles

    Kelly Soto
    COCC Nursing Student

    Student Profile - Kelly My journey to entering the COCC nursing program was a long, complex adventure. I grew up with a family of healthcare professionals, yet after high school I went to Cal State Long Beach and earned a bachelor’s degree in marine biology—a goal I had set my mind to since I was a young girl. Just prior to graduation, I had some health challenges arise, which caused me to change paths in order to keep my health insurance. Rather than working in an industry that I loved, I chose to work my way up the corporate ladder through two major US companies until I finally realized that I was no longer happy and was underutilized in my role. After reconnecting with family in Oregon, my husband and I moved to Bend (where I was born) in 2011. I began working for a company that supports adults with developmental disabilities and truly fell in love with helping support the clients in daily activities that most of us take for granted. I found out about the COCC Nursing Program from a good friend at work and decided to look into what it would entail. I always wanted to go back to school and loved helping people, but was I too old to go back? After careful consideration, support from my family and lots of prayer, I returned to school in spring 2015 to complete the remainder of the prerequisites for the Nursing Program. A year later, I completed the requirements, applied to the program, and anxiously awaited my acceptance letter. Receiving that letter is one of the proudest moments of my life.

    I am truly honored and humbled to be a part of the COCC Nursing Program. This program is respected and loved by the Central Oregon community, and now that I am a part of it, I understand why. I truly appreciate how immersive the program is—placing us in the clinical setting early on in our education with tons of in-class lectures and lab hours. I love how the program is training us to care for people as a whole—to look beyond the disease or diagnosis and truly treat the patient’s every need. The COCC Nursing program is a professional, fast-paced and challenging program that facilitates growth and comradery amongst its students. In the short amount of time we have been in this program, I have made some very strong connections and friendships with my fellow classmates.

    The backbone of this program is the COCC Nursing Faculty—they work tirelessly through the year to create an enriched learning environment within the college and the community of Bend. The love and dedication that the instructors have for the students is evident in their willingness to help, encourage, educate, and motivate each student through this program. The faculty truly want each student to succeed and they are willing to sit down and listen to anyone who steps into their office. I have never felt so supported and genuinely cared for by an instructor until I met the COCC Nursing Faculty.

    I have always had a strong desire to help others—whether it was through job training or teaching classes at local aquariums—I found that aspect of life quite enjoyable. Working with special needs individuals, providing end-of-life care for my grandfather and in-home care for other family members is what truly shaped my decision to become a nurse. I want to help be a voice for people who may not have the means to speak up for themselves—whether by lack of verbal ability, loss of cognition or any other form of communication barrier that could be present. I enjoy critical thinking, sharing knowledge amongst my peers, and brainstorming—especially in regards to patient care. Bringing peace and joy to patients through memories, music, or by simply holding their hand—especially during what could be some of their darkest moments in life—is what drives me to become a nurse.

    There is so much variety to where you can work as a nurse, which is why I appreciate the wide range of clinical experiences we are offered as students. While I do not know the exact setting of where I want to spend the bulk of my nursing career just yet, but I do know that I plan to earn a BSN and possibly a Master’s degree so that I can become a nursing instructor one day. As for now, I am absorbing as much as I can from each clinical experience and know that I want to work in a hospital setting. I am interested in several areas including critical care, peri-and-post-operative, geriatric care, and hospice.

    Clayton Ham
    COCC Nursing Student

    Student Profile - Clayton I moved to Bend from San Francisco three years ago, mainly for the outdoor lifestyle and beautiful weather I had heard about. I had worked in restaurants for five years, and it was a fine way to pay my bills for a little while, but I definitely wanted to feel a deeper sense of purpose out of my life and knew I had to get into a different long-term career.

    My mother was told she would never have kids, but after a new experimental procedure and many prayers, here I am. I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the miracle of modern medicine and I think it was for this reason that I’ve always been drawn towards the field. I want it to be my job to help people who are at their most vulnerable, to make a difference in their lives by showing them compassion, empathy and most importantly love.

    I looked at private school RN programs but decided that COCC was the quickest and most economical route for me (plus that meant I never had to leave Bend).

    The program at COCC has turned out to be amazing! I love how much and how quickly you get hands-on experience in the hospital, but the best part of the program is definitely the faculty. They are incredibly invested and care so much about shaping the way we think to become competent nurses; I can’t imagine you would find this at many other programs.

    As of right now, I hope to eventually end up in the operating room, but who knows where this road will take me. If you feel like it’s time for a career change in your life, make it happen! COCC is here to help.


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