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College of Nursing Expands to Norman, Duncan

College of Nursing Expands to Norman, Duncan

Norman nursing students and faculty members pose for a group photo

OU and Norman Regional Health System held an event last month to announce the expansion news.

The largest nursing program in Oklahoma is extending its reach even further.

Beginning in August 2022, the University of Oklahoma’s Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing will offer its bachelor of science in nursing degree at two new locations: Norman Regional Hospital and Duncan Regional Hospital.

The program’s expansion is one way OU and the College of Nursing are addressing the needs of an evolving health care system, the continuously increasing shortage of nurse professionals and the future demands associated with an aging population.

This expansion adds to the college’s existing locations that offer the traditional BSN: the OU Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City, as well as the OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center and Cameron University in Lawton.

Group photo at Duncan Regional Hospital

OU students and administrators traveled to Duncan Regional Hospital last month to hold a joint announcement of OU Nursing’s expansion to Stephens County.

“With opportunities in Duncan and Norman, we have a better opportunity to reach a greater number of those interested in a career in nursing,” said Julie Hoff, dean of the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing. “Increasing the number of professional registered nurses has the potential to substantially improve health care outcomes and reduce inequities in Oklahoma.”

The Norman location will offer classes at Norman Regional Health System’s Porter campus, with clinical rotations to be held at both the Porter campus and the HealthPlex. The Duncan Regional Hospital will house classes as well as clinicals. Didactic courses will be taught by the college’s existing faculty – with HSC faculty traveling to Norman, and Lawton faculty covering Duncan.

Classes will be delivered in a hybrid format, with lectures, videos and instructional content being delivered online, and the face-to-face portions of each course are devoted to exploring content in depth and using active learning strategies to facilitate student learning of more complex material. There will also be lab and simulation courses on all sites. The partnership also enables the nurses who work for the Norman and Duncan health systems to serve as the program’s clinical instructors.

This announcement comes at an important time in health care with a growing shortage of nursing professionals. Every year, the College of Nursing welcomes approximately 335 BSN graduates into the professional world. With the expansion, OU expects this to grow to over 380 future nurses.

“We are experiencing a historic time in the U.S. and all over the world,” said Charleen McNeill, associate dean for academic affairs at the OU College of Nursing. “There has never been a time in our history where the importance of nurses and the impact they have on the lives of so many is so clear.

“Being a nurse is an honor, as you are invited into the lives of those you care for at one of the most significant, important times of their lives,” McNeill said, adding, “We need more nurses, though – to provide care for the increasing number of elderly and those with chronic and acute disease and/or injury in the U.S. over the years and decades to come.”

Prospective students are encouraged to indicate which location they would like to attend on their early or regular admission traditional BSN applications.

“Ever since our university’s earliest years, OU nurses have fulfilled our life-changing purpose – heroic work that continues today,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “Further expanding our superior nursing education to locations beyond the OU Health Sciences Center is a vital step toward ensuring Oklahomans receive superb care today and for a lifetime.”

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By Brady Trantham

Article Published:  Wednesday, November 17, 2021