Employee Giving Spotlight: Linda MollinoLinda Mollino

“How can I ask the community to support the OCCC Foundation if I don’t give?” asks Linda Mollino, Director, Allied Health Programs (Prior Director of the OCCC Nursing Dept.).

Linda shares a little of her background. . .

I was born in Bronxville, New York and lived in New York until I graduated from college in 1977.  Most of my young life was spent in foster care. I had a number of healthcare issues when I was young and spent weeks over the years in and out of hospitals. One constant was the kindness of each nursing staff.  I knew then that I wanted to be part of the nursing profession and give back.

It was during my time working as a nursing assistant—before starting college—that a nurse at the facility recommended that I get a Bachelor’s in Nursing (BSN) and then a Master’s in Nursing (MSN) saying, “It would open so many doors” and she was correct. I have had an amazing career over the past forty-four years

I decided on Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, New York for my BSN. I chose this program because they focused on giving back to the community through a variety of means including volunteerism, but primarily focused on community health nursing.

My brother moved to Southern California when I was a sophomore in College and upon graduation, I decided to join him and the rest of the family.

After graduation, I began my career as a nurse working in a variety of settings including home health and hospice—I found that I loved that work and knew that it would be part of the cornerstone of my career. Ten years later, I moved to San Francisco, and returned to my alternate love, the field of community health. This was the peak of the AIDS crisis. Community-based nursing was of vital importance to these clients.

In 1994, I began my personal trek north and moved to Ashland, Oregon as I had a number of friends there. Over the next few years, I worked in a variety of nursing roles but primarily in community health.

In 2000 a teaching position opened in the nursing program at Rogue Community College. I was intrigued by the idea of helping to educate the next generation of nurses. I worked there from 2000 through 2007 at which time I decided to embark on getting my master’s degree.

My partner and I decided to move to Newport because of our love of the ocean. Although I enjoyed teaching, after seven years in the classroom and after completing my graduate work, I was not certain I wanted to teach again and was not sure where my professional life was going to take me.

Then I met Jane Hodgkins (the prior OCCC CTE Director) and Lynn Barton (nursing faculty). Through them, I experienced the joy of building a nursing program. The class of 2008 was in its first year, and I was intrigued by the prospect of being part of a small but vital program to my new community.

OCCC is a special and friendly place. It not only feels like one of the best nursing programs in the state but, based on graduation and employment rates among our graduates, we know that it is an excellent program in even the larger arena.

During my time at OCCC, I helped to create and manage other healthcare programs at the college including the Nursing Assistant, Medical Assistant and EMT programs in order to give students a variety of entry points into the healthcare community. We developed a state-of-the-art simulation lab with a great deal of help over many years from the Siletz Tribal Charitable Contribution Fund (STCCF) and others, including the Samaritan Health District Boards. We also developed an auxiliary center from the south county facility which recently was moved to the Lincoln City Center.

What is unique about OCCC is that we get to know a lot about our students. We care deeply about each one of them and they get to know us. This connection is not limited to the time they are in their respective programs but starts when they begin at the college and continues on into their working lives. Passing on a breadth of knowledge is important, but it is a caring attitude and resulting trust that makes the OCCC healthcare programs one of a kind.

We strongly believe that this, along with the amazing partnerships we have developed in the community with Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital (SPCH), Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital (SNLH), Lincoln County Health and Human Services (LCHHS) and other healthcare programs in Lincoln County, is the reason that between 60 and 70% of our graduates stay in Lincoln County and work in our local healthcare facilities.

So, why do I donate part of my monthly salary?  In my opinion, it all begins at the college with the Foundation. If the Foundation were not able to offer scholarships, there would be many fewer students—especially in the nursing and the other healthcare programs–who would not be able to even consider attending. We would lose important assets to Lincoln County and to the healthcare community.

Let us never forget the students and our community partners. If we keep clearly in mind what we want to create, and trust in each other, great things are certain to happen.

For this and so much more, we thank you Linda, and will be sad to see you go.

Linda is planning on retiring at the end of June and will soon be leaving us for Port Townsend, WA. She plans to relax, learn about her new area, and maybe sit on a Foundation Board. Our loss is their gain.