Simpson University Nursing Students Help at Local Hospital During Pandemic

REDDING, Calif.—Simpson University nursing students are partnering with a local hospital to help provide additional patient care during the pandemic, while also gaining valuable clinical experience.

Five graduate students and one nursing student from the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing were selected for the short-term program at Mercy Medical Center in Redding. The program is designed to offer additional patient care training for nursing students, where they are able to experience a variety of clinical settings, including surgical, oncology, and telemetry. Students will not be providing direct care to COVID-positive patients but will enhance Mercy’s COVID-19 response to serve medical needs in the community.

All the Simpson University graduate students who applied to this program received scholarships from Mercy. Shasta College nursing students are also being offered the same opportunity via the Rural California Nursing Program.

“Students are excited for the opportunity to be considered for the scholarship and to help Mercy Medical Center and the community at large,” said Misty Smith, dean of Simpson University’s School of Nursing. “This experience will provide them with wonderful learning opportunities.”

This program was already in place at Simpson University. Mercy reached out to partner with the school to offer a winter program option for their graduating students, since COVID-19 had disrupted training for the students earlier last spring.

“We are exceptionally proud of all the students who have shown determination and perseverance to practice nursing during this pandemic,” said Allison McHugh, Chief Nursing Executive Officer at Mercy Medical Center Redding. “Despite the challenges ahead, our future nurses are rising up – answering the call to meet the patient care needs of our community.”

The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing operates two cohorts each year, capping each at 27 students. Students must meet rigorous entrance requirements to get accepted into the baccalaureate program, which is nationally accredited. Before graduating, students must complete more than 800 hands-on clinical hours in various healthcare facilities throughout the community. The university partners with more than a dozen North State facilities in this capacity, including Mercy.

The fall 2020 cohort of nursing students from the Betty M. Dean School of Nursing at Simpson University. The school operates two cohorts each year. // Simpson University file photo

This is not the first time Simpson nursing students have been able to help locally in connection with the pandemic. During the early days of the crisis, students volunteered at Shasta County Public Health to answer phone calls flooding the department from concerned residents. This effort was highlighted by national radio station K-LOVE.

The Betty M. Dean School of Nursing, which is ranked No. 7 among California nursing schools, recently received a 10-year renewal of its national accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. It is also accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission and approved by the California Board of Registered Nursing.

Simpson University has graduated more than 200 four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students since the program launched in 2011. In addition, more than 175 students have graduated from the university’s RN-BSN program.

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Photos courtesy Mercy Medical Center Redding


Simpson University, a Christian university founded in 1921, moved to Redding in 1989 and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 20 traditional undergraduate programs, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 7-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. The university has a highly ranked Veterans Success Center and partnership with the Army National Guard. Simpson has launched new programs in digital mediacomputer information systems, and engineering, and recently added athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team ranked No. 1 in California and No. 52 in the nation. Simpson University contributes an estimated $50 million annually to Redding’s economy. It offers aggressive scholarships and is working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements. Learn more about Simpson University at