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OSU-OKC announces expansion of nursing program

OSU-OKC’s nurse science program expands to meet community needs

Program aims to double number of nurse science graduates

OKLAHOMA CITY (July 3, 2019) – In response to the growing demand for registered nurses across the state, Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City will ramp-up capacity in its nursing program, school leaders have announced.

Experts note the demand for nurses is occurring for a variety of reasons, but one of the top driving forces is an aging baby-boomer generation, said Penny Ridenour, division head for Health Sciences at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City (OSU-OKC). 

"There's such an incredible nursing shortage caused in part by the increase in aging baby boomers as well as growing numbers of nurses who are retiring," Ridenour said. "We have this groundswell of need for nurses, and it's important to note, these are the medical professionals who deliver the hands-on care people need. There just aren't enough nurses, so OSU-OKC is expanding capacity to be responsive to the needs of the community."

In recent data about Oklahoma's critically needed occupations, the state Office of Workforce Development lists registered nurses (RNs) as one the state's top 100 critical occupations. Additionally, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates employment of registered nurses will grow 15 percent by 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.

To meet the need, OSU-OKC will look to double the number of graduates in the program, said Joey Fronheiser, vice president of Academic Affairs at the school.

In preparation for enrolling and educating more nurse science students, OSU-OKC has streamlined operations to be as effective and efficient as possible.

“In 2017, OSU-OKC had 105 registered nurses graduate,” Fronheiser said. “Our goal is to double that number within the next three to five years. To those interested in becoming a nurse in the Oklahoma City metro area, we want you to know we're creating more capacity for you.”

The school's nurse science program features a fully equipped, state-of-the-art simulation center, as well as an annual interdisciplinary simulation event that involves nursing and paramedicine students from OSU-OKC and a third-year residency doctor from Oklahoma State University's Center for Health Sciences in Tulsa.

The nursing program received high praise from accreditation staff during a recent re-accreditation site visit, Fronheiser said.

“The visiting site team said OSU-OKC's nursing program is a gold standard program with some of the best facilities they've ever seen,” he said.

The next section of nursing classes at OSU-OKC opens Aug. 19. For more information about the nurse science program, go to osuokc.edu/nursing or call (405) 945-3210.

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For media inquiries: Nick Trougakos, OSU-OKC – nick.trougakos@osuokc.edu – (405) 945-9196