Whether it’s solving the Columbia Daily Tribune’s latest Sudoku puzzle or making the enrollment process in Columbia College’s nursing program more efficient, Dr. Linda Claycomb, chair of the Columbia College nursing department, is all in.
“The more complex the problem is, I thrive on it,” Claycomb said. “I enjoy problem-solving and making work easier and processes smoother that result in safer and better outcomes for the patient.”
That commitment to providing top-quality care for patients and instilling that ideal in nursing students has served Claycomb well during her more than 40 years in nursing. After successfully serving as a nurse, patient care administrator and educator in New York, Pennsylvania, Florida and Missouri, Claycomb became director of the Lake of the Ozarks campus nursing program in 2008, and eventually the director of the program in Columbia in 2009. You could say that Claycomb’s arrival definitely served as a turning point for the program.
“While we provided quality instruction before 2009, faculty decided that a curriculum revision in the fall of 2009 designed to accommodate different types of learners was needed. It has opened unlimited doors for the nursing program,” Claycomb said. “We have a strong curriculum and great pass rates. Students, whether younger or a little more mature, all have an equal opportunity to complete our curriculum. It is a rigorous, accelerated program, but we think we do a good job and our students are in demand. They are all getting jobs or going on for additional schooling to obtain another degree.”
And Claycomb’s students aren’t the only ones going on for additional schooling. After completing both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing at the University of Missouri in the early 1990s, she decided to take a break from continuing her education. However, while working as vice president for patient care at Memorial (now Capital Region) Hospital in Jefferson City, Missouri, Claycomb decided that she wanted to pursue her doctorate. Over the course of the past six years, Claycomb worked furiously to finish that goal. She finally completed her doctorate degree online in August 2015 through Capella University with a specialization in leadership and management.
“I do feel like I have accomplished something. There wasn’t that immediate relief but more of a feeling of satisfaction that I had reached another goal,” Claycomb said. “I think learning is ongoing in our lives and if we stop learning, we stop living.”
With the new degree in hand, Claycomb, along with her outstanding staff of nurses and instructors, has big plans for the nursing program moving forward. The program continues to produce high pass rates for all students involved, carrying a 100 percent mark through each of the last four classes on the National Licensing Exam (NCLEX).
“Columbia College Nursing has a great reputation with employers and facilities around the mid-Missouri area. The two comments we hear the most are, ‘We love your students and we want your students!’” Claycomb says with a smile. “Our students are well prepared to either go to work in the workplace or go on for their bachelor’s degree, and employers are looking for that, because with society’s need for more baccalaureate-level nurses, they want a student who can learn.”
Claycomb and her husband, Don, who will retire this year, have five children (two daughters and three sons) and reside in Linn, Missouri, where Don is the president of State Technical College of Missouri. On the rare occasion she finds time to spare, she enjoys reading and playing games that involve strategy. Her true passions are being outside where she can work on their garden and taking the family RV out for a cruise.
*** This article was featured in the latest edition of Affinity, the official magazine of the Columbia College Alumni Association. Click here to access the full magazine digitally.