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Interview with Joanna Russell

Joanna Russell, President of Sumner College discusses the future of nursing, career opportunities in healthcare and how nurses are critical during the COVID-19 pandemic with “Let’s Talk Portland”. Hear her interview and learn more about the new RN to BSN program at Sumner College.

Sumner College expanding with new online RN to BSN accredited nursing program

Sumner College has just announced their new 13-month accredited RN to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) program. With classes beginning on Monday, June 1, 2020 this new 100% online program is designed for working registered nurses (RN’s) who want to grow their nursing career in as few as 50 weeks. Currently employed registered nurses can advance their education and earn their BSN degree without interrupting their employment. This Sumner College bachelor degree program is fully accredited by the Accrediting Bureau for Health Education Schools (ABHES) to prepare students to step into more advanced areas of nursing.

With the addition of this new RN to BSN degree program, Sumner College continues to prepare future professional leaders of tomorrow in the field of nursing. Classes are offered in a flexible online format, allowing students to work while they are enrolled in the program.

This new accelerated 13 month BSN program prepares registered nurses (RN) for high-demand careers requiring a BSN degree. Designed to increase critical thinking and nursing clinical decision-making, it builds on previous knowledge and incorporates best practices and national initiatives. This online program is a convenient and flexible way for working students to continue their education without interrupting their employment. Online classroom size is limited to 25 students per faculty member to ensure that our students get the personalized attention they need to be successful.

Many hospitals are pursuing Magnet status and now require entry-level Registered Nurses to have a BSN. This online degree gives individuals a competitive advantage when applying for positions where an RN degree is required, but a BSN degree is preferred. Current opportunities for graduates of the new Sumner College program range from resident care manager, travel nurses, charge nurses and direct care nurses in settings like home health care. Nurses who have achieved the BSN designation are highly sought after for all nursing positions because of their ability to offer an enhanced level of care resulting in better patient outcomes.

Sumner College has a history of preparing their students for success for more than 45 years in Oregon and Washington. For those who want to grow into management positions in the nursing field, a BSN from Sumner College will give them a competitive advantage.

To find out more about our program please contact an Admissions Representative at Admissions will provide information about the admissions and application process, program curriculum, transfer credits, financial aid, and support services available to your during your time at the college.

Sumner College offers $250K in Scholarships to Concordia University Nursing Students

Sumner College has just announced a new scholarship initiative to help the students who have been hurt financially and emotionally because of the recent announcement closure of Concordia University

Sumner College is offering a $5,000 scholarship to students enrolled or formally accepted into the nursing program at Concordia University upon acceptance to Sumner College. This scholarship can be applied to the Associate Degree in Nursing Program or the Practical Nursing Program offered at the college.

Joanna Russell, Sumner College President stated that “all of us at Sumner were shocked to hear about the recent closure of Concordia University.  We are saddened to see what has happened to so many students, as we are hearing from them just how seriously this is impacting them on both a personal and professional level. We are committed to doing whatever we can to help these nursing students as they navigate through such a devastating and traumatic situation. We know they have been seriously hurt financially because of the closure announcement.  This closure for them is so much worse than just “displaced”.  We welcome them so that they can continue their dream of becoming a nurse. Sumner College is offering a $5,000 scholarship to students currently enrolled or those formally accepted into the nursing program at Concordia University upon acceptance to Sumner College. This scholarship can be applied to our Associate Degree in Nursing Program or the Practical Nursing Program. We feel fortunate to be in a position to offer help with the continued strong growth of our Nursing programs and our college.  We can give them a stable environment to finish their studies so that they can go on to be the healthcare professionals they’ve dreamed of becoming.”

Sumner College was approved in January of 2020 by their accrediting body ABHES to offer a RN to BSN program. Graduates of Sumner College’s Associate Degree in Nursing can transition to this new program that is delivered 100% online and earn their BSN in just 13 months. “This program was designed with our students in mind. We have been working on this program for a number of years and are excited to start our first RN to BSN cohort in the spring’.

Sumner College has been offering nursing programs for over 10 years, and offering career focused education it the Portland area for over 45 years. The Retention Rate for the 2018-2019 reporting year for the Associate Degree in Nursing Program was 100%.

If you are a Concordia student interested in finding out more please click here to contact us.

Sumner College has a history of helping students achieve their dreams and preparing them for success for over 45 years in Oregon.

Medical Assisting make the US World News Report Best Jobs List

A medical assistant’s job is a mix of traditional office work, including manning the front desk, answering phones and filing insurance forms, as well as hands-on tasks, such as drawing blood and preparing it for lab tests, administering injections and making sure medical histories are accurately recorded. More specialized roles include assisting ophthalmologists or optometrists with basic vision tests and helping patients learn to insert, remove and care for contact lenses.

A routine visit to the doctor is really a visit with an entire team, including a growing number of medical assistants. Medical assistants are likely the first and last faces you’ll see during any medical appointment, either in your doctor’s office or at a larger medical organization.

The aging baby boomer population will help drive demand for more medical assistants, who will be needed to support doctors and nurses as they diagnose and treat patients.The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 29.0 percent employment growth for medical assistants between 2016 and 2026. In that period, an estimated 183,900 jobs should open up.


Medical Assistants rank #8 in Best Health Care Support Jobs.Jobs are ranked according to their ability to offer an elusive mix of factors. Read more about how we rank the best jobs.


How Much Does a Medical Assistant Make?

Medical Assistants made a median salary of $32,480 in 2017. The best-paid 25 percent made $38,340 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $27,580.

Story shared from US World News


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Eye on the Northwest discusses Nursing with Joanna Russell from Sumner College

Sumner College President Joanna Russell and Natalie Marmion host of KOIN TV’s Eye on the Northwest visited to share information about career opportunities in nursing – specifically the Medical Assisting program and the need to fill these positions in the Portland market. Watch the segment that aired this week. #sumnercollege 

AAMA Compensation and Benefits Report

AAMA Compensation and Benefits Report  |  Results of the AAMA CMA (AAMA) Compensation and Benefits Surveyare published each year in the Nov/Dec issue of CMA Today.

The tables offered in the report indicate pay based on the following:

  • Years of experience for CMAs (AAMA)® and non-CMAs (AAMA)
  • Geographic region
  • Work setting
  • Practice specialty
  • Number of specialties

Additional tables indicate benefits for medical assistants and educators:

  • Insurance benefits
  • AAMA membership dues paid by employers

BLS Employment Projections  |  Medical assisting is one of the nation’s careers growing much faster than average for all occupations, according to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

The demand for medical assistants is driving this expansion. Employers are seeking and recruiting these allied health professionals because of their uniquely diverse clinical and administrative training.

As the number of medical assistants grows, so does the recognition of their value in the marketplace.

The BLS also reports median annual wages in its employment projections for occupations with the largest job growth.

Content shared from the AAMA Website
The Role of the Medical Assistant: Change, Opportunity and Growth

Healthcare is in a period of change … which is changing the landscape for the medical assistant (MA). They are in greater demand, are being tasked with more responsibilities — and in many cases, are being rewarded for it.

The high demand for MAs

Job postings per MA completion more than doubled, and the faster-than-average employment growth is likely to continue over the next decade.

At the same time, the number of MA completions is declining — further growing job opportunities for medical assistants.

Why the growth?

The driver behind MA job growth is an increased demand for access to care. Some factors that contribute to this demand include:
• Innovations and new treatments
• An aging population
• An increase in the numbers of patients with chronic diseases associated with obesity
• The Affordable Care Act

(Though the Affordable Care Act is being affected by the Trump administration, access to care will most likely be a priority issue in any replacement legislation that is passed.)

How the MA’s role is changing

The MA’s role is transitioning from a solo assistant to the provider to that of a highly valued, integral clinical team member. MA’s are being tasked with greater responsibilities and are often key members of care teams.

“The expectations are higher, and medical assistants are meeting these. As medicine moves to be more lean, medical assistants understand that their role is vital because they are not as expensive as LPN/RNs, but very vital to making ambulatory patient care work well,” says Elizabeth Thompson, medical practice administrator, Indiana University Health – Southern Indiana Physicians.

Why the shift?

Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) and Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have adopted a team-based care (TBC) approach in response to new payment models. In these environments, teams made up of providers, nurse case managers, medical assistants and other allied health professionals work collaboratively to help patients meet health goals. Healthcare professionals are often encouraged to work at the top of their license, freeing up providers to do tasks only they can do. In turn, a cascading “top-of-license” approach flows throughout the rest of the team – including medical assistants.

Examples of ways that medical assistants can work at the top of their credential include
stepping into the role of a flow manager, running team huddles, preplanning patient visits
and completing various health screenings. Some organizations are now considering their
most experienced medical assistants for the roles of a scribe, health coach, patient navigator,
population health manager and patient care coordinator. As medical assistants broaden
their skill set, there will be significant pressure to perform at a higher level in the areas of
professionalism, informatics and performing clinical tasks.

A time to shine

Recognition of medical assistants is at an all-time high and the role of medical assistants is expanding. As we enter this new era of healthcare, now is the time for medical assistants to shine. To demonstrate they are up for the challenge by exuding professionalism. And to validate their knowledge by becoming certified and investing in continuing education opportunities.

Content shared from the National Healthcare Career Association


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Nursing Fun Facts
  1. Most visits to emergency rooms occur during the warmer months of the year.
  2. According to the latest data available to the World Health Organization, Finland, Norway, Monaco, Ireland and Belarus have, in that order, the highest ratios of nurses per capita of all nations, ranging from 2162.0 to 1182.0 nurses per 100,000 people.
  3. The National Association of Colored Graduate Nurses was formed in 1908.
  4. According to a 2001 World Health Organization report, the number of psychiatric nurses in poor countries is about 0.1 per 100,000 persons.
  5. In 1783 a black slave named James Derham worked as a nurse in New Orleans, eventually earning enough money to buy his freedom and move to Philadelphia, where he studied medicine and became a doctor.
  6. Men and women between the ages of 25 and 44 account for 33 percent of all people in the U. S. who come to emergency rooms with injury-related wounds.
  7. Linda Richards became the first nurse to earn a nursing diploma in the United States in 1873.
  8. In 1846 the first hospital training school for nurses, the Institute for Protestant Deaconesses, was established in the town of Kaiserwerth, Germany.
  9. The National Association of School Nurses recommends nurse-to-student ratios should be one to 750 for general populations, one to 250 in mainstreamed populations and 1 to 125 in severely handicapped populations.
  10. According to a recent World Health Organization report, the United States spends more money, as a ratio of GNP, on health care than any country, followed closely by Lebanon and Zimbabwe.
  11. “When we are well, we all have good advice for those who are ill.” Terence, from The Woman of Andros (166 B.C.)
  12. In a 2001 survey done by the ANA/, 45.3% of nurses expressed fear of getting a potentially deadly disease as one of their top three occupational health concerns.
  13. Nursing is one of the fastest-growing occupations in the U.S.
  14. According to the latest data available to the World Health Organization, Nepal, Liberia, Central African Republic, Haiti and Bangladesh have, in that order, the lowest ratios of nurses per capita of all nations, ranging from 5.0 to 11.0 nurses per 100,000 people.
  15. One out of every four registered nurses works part-time.
  16. The American Nurses Association, first known as the Nurses Associated Alumnae, was started in 1898.
  17. The New England Hospital for Women and Children, established in 1862, was the first school for nursing in the U.S.
  18. The order of the Brothers of Mercy was founded in 1538 by Juan Ciudad. (b. 1495. d. 1550.)
  19. One out of every five licensed practical nurses works part-time.

Fun Facts provided by Nursing Link.


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5 Tips For a Pain-Free Nursing Education

Anyone who’s completed nursing school can tell you where they floundered in their education. These could be big mistakes, such as choosing the wrong school, or small mistakes, like not “reading” an instructor very well. Nobody makes it through school without a few blunders, but if you follow these five rules of thumb, you should be able to avoid most of the big pit-falls.

1. Gain first-hand knowledge of a field before choosing it as a career path. 
Any experience you can gain in the field, such as through volunteer work, family or friends in the profession, etc., will help avoid major career disappointments. When I finished nursing school, there was a couple in my class who graduated with wonderful grades, passed the RN exam, and within weeks opened a plant nursery in their community. Nursing, nursery: it’s a common mistake. Did they know what they were getting into?

2. Make a careful assessment of your career goals, short- and long-term. 
Look at your goals and choose a direction that will work best for you and your family. Online courses and other flexible alternatives are making it easier to complete a nursing associate’s degree and certification programs. This makes it possible to complete one rung of the educational ladder, then work while earning another degree to the next rung. If you know your goals, you can tailor your education to save time and money in the long run.

3. Go straight to higher degrees, if that’s your goal.
If floor nursing isn’t for you, or if you have your heart set on administration work or other avenues of nursing that demand a master’s degree, then apply to a program that will get you there directly. Starting as an LPN and working your way up may only be frustrating. If you need to work (and most of us do) during the time it takes to earn a master’s degree, consider arranging an assistant position for yourself in the field you really want to pursue, instead of working in a local acute care setting or physician’s office. Still, there are exceptions: experience on the Med-Surg floor of a hospital or as a medical assistant in an ambulatory care setting can add value to any career you plan to enter.

4. Avoid changing schools. 
If or when you change schools during your educational path, there will be classes that the new school won’t accept. Work experience that you might get credit for in one school may not be accepted by another. And most schools (even if you’re two classes from your degree) will insist that you take a minimum amount of credits from them before you graduate with a degree in their name. So be careful about choosing your school and diligent about completing a degree or certificate before moving on to the next.

5. Accept that nursing school will be a major part of your life.
On the first day of nursing school, my instructors said, “Don’t expect to work or have a relationship while you are in this program.” That was many years ago, and programs have become much more “user friendly.” Still, it’s safe to say that nursing school is incredibly intense and time-consuming. Between the clinical and classroom hours and the out-of-class time spent studying; it is to say the least, demanding. Everyone has family obligations, and many people work while going to nursing school, but take care not to expect too much of yourself during this period. Don’t burn-out before you have completed your education.

Article courtesy of Nursing Link.


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Expanding Your Skills as a Registered Nurse

As healthcare alternatives and new therapies gain popularity many patients today are interested in exploring alternative treatments and medicine. Having a good grasp of that field is an important part of being a great nurse – even if the idea feels a little counterintuitive to your medical background. Whether you’re already a newly registered nurse or are just thinking about starting nursing school, understanding the popular holistic therapies below and how they relate to allopathic medicine can help you prepare for a more successful career down the road.


Originating from ancient China, acupuncture is the practice of using tiny needles to manipulate the body’s internal energy flow. Proponents of acupuncture believe it can be used to treat a wide range of diverse conditions, including insomnia, depression, chronic pain, and immune deficiencies.


Often recommended as an organic solution for relief from stress and skin irritation, aromatherapy involves the use of aromatic plants and essential oils.

Herbal Medicines

Affordable and easily accessible, herbal medicine is one of the most popular holistic options on the market. While many dietary supplements are supported by medical professionals, some blends can be potentially hazardous to patients who take daily prescription medication or suffer from specific health conditions.

Massage Therapy

Focused on healing the body by stimulating its muscular structure, massage therapy is used to treat health conditions that run the gamut from joint disease to insomnia and depression.

For a more thorough introduction to these and other alternative medical methods, take a look at this guide.

What to Do When Your Patients Are Interested in Alternative Medicine

Patients know that their nurses are caretakers who don’t have the final say on treatment plans, so try not to get stressed out when they bring up alternative medicine. Chances are they just want to get your advice before checking in with their primary physician. Your job is to simply share the pros and cons of holistic therapy without advocating for any one specific treatment or being judgmental.

Even if you don’t personally believe that holistic therapy is effective, make an effort not to sound dismissive. Remember that it’s not uncommon for doctors to approve a combination of conventional and alternative treatments for patients who express a wariness of prescription drugs or invasive surgeries. While more research is needed to determine the exact benefits of popular holistic therapies, many patients still want to include them in their overall treatment plans.

Another reason why getting familiar with alternative medicine should be on every nurse’s agenda is a drug interaction. Because some prescription medications may not be compatible with popular herbal supplements, you could be the first line of defense against dosage mistakes and dangerous interactions.

Interested in becoming a nurse? Contact Sumner College directly at 503-972-6230, or visit us online at to learn more about our comprehensive registered, practical nursing, and medical assisting programs in Portland, OR.



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Making a Successful Transition from Military to College Life

Finding Success on Your Civilian Career Path

Not all students who go to college do so right after graduating from high school. In fact, many students returning to school today have already worked in other careers and are looking to move on to something different. Among these students are veterans who are retiring from the military and getting back into the groove of civilian life.

Making the Switch from Military Strictness to College Culture

Being a college student is a lot different than being a soldier. While you’ll follow a schedule in college, it won’t be nearly as regimented as your military schedule. You’ll also find that there may not be standardized expectations from one classroom or department to the next. Thankfully, the adaptability that you honed while in the military should help you handle the challenges of meeting these demands.

Of course, one of the most important things you can do to prepare for success is to cultivate a sense of eagerness when it comes to sharing perspectives. It’s likely that most of the faculty and students you meet in college won’t share your military background. They may very well have a different outlook on the world and how it works. Many veterans who’ve succeeded in college say being open to new perspectives helped them feel more comfortable interacting with the rest of the student body.

Ensuring Continued Success in Your College Career

Your admissions and financial aid representative can help you with questions that you may have such as getting college credit for military coursework, or military experience, assistance with finding ways to fund your education and getting assistance about course specific accommodations.

It’s also important that you decide whether you should attend traditional on-campus classes, opt for an online program or try a mix of both. Online programs offer convenience and can meet the needs of veterans who live in remote areas or work full-time jobs. However, they lack the in-person component that many recent veterans find helps them adjust to student life.

At Sumner College, we’re proud to serve student veterans in the greater Portland area. Please visit us at to learn more about our programs or you can call us at 503-223-5100 and one of our admissions representatives can assist you.



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Tips on Preparing for Nursing School

Your decision to become a nurse can be very exciting and sometimes a bit overwhelming. Nursing school is not easy. You will be challenged academically and professionally as you gain the knowledge and skillsets needed to be successful in your career.  Doing some preparation before you start your nursing program will prepare you for successful completion and transition into your new career.

How to pay for school is usually at the top of the list for nursing students. Do your research on what financial resources are available to you,  like student loans and grants so you can begin to create a realistic financial plan to get you through school.  Visit the Federal Student Aid website and complete a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) application and set up a time to meet with a financial aid representative at the school you will be attending. Do some research for grants and scholarships at hospitals, medical centers, and organizations in your community and apply. Create a realistic financial plan before classes start so you can focus on your studies.

Start thinking like a nurse! Spend some time researching healthcare news and become familiar with what’s happening in the field. Talk with people you know in the nursing field. Become familiar with what a day in the life of a nurse looks like so you can be aware of what the challenges and rewards are. Get involved in online nursing or health care groups to learn from others in the field.

Get your support group involved. Share your plans with your family, friends, co-workers and employer. Let them know you may need their help and let them know how much you will appreciate their support while you are in school.  Let them see your excitement and willingness to work hard and do whatever it takes to be successful.

If you are looking for the right school for you, consider Sumner College. Sumner has been preparing students for successful careers since 1974. The practical nursing program can be completed in 13 months and our registered nursing program in 24 months and the medical assisting program in just 7.5 months! Visit us on the web at: or call us at 503-223-5100 for more information.


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