STILLWATER, Okla. (KFOR) – Oklahoma State University announced the development of its new, four-year nursing degree program on Wednesday.
According to OSU, the degree program mirrors the University’s land-grant mission and will assist in meeting workforce demands and enhance health care in Oklahoma. The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program will begin on Stillwater’s campus during the 2023-2024 school year.
The Oklahoma Nurses Association says the state is ranked 46 out of all states for the number of registered nursed per capita. In 2021, the national average was 1,100 nurses per 100,000 people; in Oklahoma, there were only around 700. In the same year, 35% of licensed nurses in the state were at or near retirement age, amplifying that issue.
“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,” said OSU President Kayse Shrum. “As a physician, I learned firsthand the immense value nurses provide in patient care. 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.”
The University says it’s dedicated to preparing nurses who can meet the health care needs of those in need. The program will be housed in the School of Community Health Sciences, Counseling and Counseling Psychology, which is included in the College of Education and Human Sciences.
The program will also be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and will provide students the chance to focus of underserved and rural areas and include prevention and total wellness practices in Oklahoma’s health care systems, officials say.
“About one-third of students studying in the College of Education and Human Sciences are pursuing 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,” College of Education and Human Sciences dean Dr. Jon Pedersen said.
“I’m excited about new opportunities to collaborate across degree programs and to expand on our existing partnerships with the health care partners.”
According to OSU, the program offer opportunities for collaboration with other health care professionals, as students will be able to participate in clinical experiences and learn from health care partners.
“We are committed to ensuring this program provides an exceptional learning experience for students, preparing them to be leaders in the complex and challenging healthcare environment. Students, parents and local healthcare partners have expressed significant interest in an OSU bachelor’s degree in nursing, and we are excited to welcome our first class of students this fall,” Program Director Dr. Alana Cluck said.
Applications for fall 2023 are now open. For more information, visit go.okstate.edu.