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OSU announces four-year nursing degree program, expected to combat Oklahoma nurse shortage

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A new degree program awaits.

OSU will soon offer a four-year Bachelor of Science in Nursing on the Stillwater campus during the 2023-24 school year. This is OSU’s first non-online Nursing program in Stillwater. OSU's RN to BSN completion program is online.

This program mirrors OSU’s land-grant mission and will assist in meeting workforce demands and improved health care in Oklahoma, according to a press release. The state continues to deal with a nurse shortage.

“The shortage of qualified health care providers in Oklahoma is only going to intensify without a focused effort to provide pathways of opportunity for aspiring nurses,” OSU President Kayse Shrum said. 

Oklahoma ranks No. 46 among states for the number of registered nurses per capita, according to the Oklahoma Nurses Association. In 2021, Oklahoma was about 400 nurses below the average amount of nurses per 100,000 people. There were only about 700. In 2021, 35% of Oklahoma’s licensed nurses were nearing or at retirement age.

“As a physician, I learned firsthand the immense value nurses provide in patient care,” Shrum said. “You cannot run a hospital or clinic without their expertise. Increasing the number of graduates in critical areas is a key tenant of our land-grant mission, and I’m excited about the impact this new program will have, certainly for students, but also for patients and health care entities across the state.”

This program will prepare nurses to meet the health care needs of families, individuals and communities. The Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredited the program and it will be housed in the School of Community Health Sciences, Counseling and Counseling Services, which is part of the College of Education and Human Sciences. The program will offer students the chance to concentrate on rural and underserved populations and to infuse prevention and total wellness practices in Oklahoma’s health care systems.

Jon Pedersen, CEHS' dean, said about one-third of CEHS’ students pursue degrees related to nutritional, physical, mental or relational health.

“In adding this new BSN, we’re strengthening our work to prepare graduates for high-demand jobs in the growing health care sector,” he said. “I’m excited about new opportunities to collaborate across degree programs and to expand on our existing partnerships with the health care partners.”

Students will have opportunities to participate in clinical experiences with health care partners in urban and rural settings. OSU is renovating campus space to create a fully equipped simulation lab for the program, aimed for completion in 2024.

Alana Cluck, the nursing program’s director, said students, parents and health care partners expressed significant interest in an OSU bachelor’s degree in nursing.

In the semester before finished the required 59 hours of prerequisite coursework, students will apply to continue coursework toward the degree. OSU expects to admit 50 students to continue with nursing labs, simulations and clinical experiences. The program will increase the students to 100 in the second year. 

Applications for fall 2023 are open and students can learn more about admission requirements and how to apply on the OSU website.