August 31, 2007

RSU Nursing Bridge Program Expands to Bartlesville Campus

Responding to the critical shortage of registered nurses in northeast Oklahoma and southern Kansas, Rogers State University officials announced this week that the university will expand its nursing program to the Bartlesville campus.

Beginning in the fall of 2008, RSU will offer its Associate Degree Nursing Program Bridge option, designed for paramedics and licensed practical nurses to “bridge” into registered nursing, in Bartlesville. After completing the Bridge program, students will be qualified to take their registered nursing (R.N.) licensure exams.

“RSU is proud to bring one of Oklahoma’s most academically rigorous and highly regarded nursing programs to Bartlesville,” said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley.

RSU nursing students typically score higher on the registered nurse licensure examination than most graduates of programs at any other Oklahoma college or university. Last year, the pass rate of RSU nursing graduates was 97 percent, compared to a state average of 86 percent and a national average of 87 percent.

The Bartlesville Development Corporation and Bartlesville City Council have approved a loan-grant of $207,000 to assist RSU in establishing the nursing program in Bartlesville, in an effort to alleviate the shortage of registered nurses in the area.

As part of the expansion, RSU will construct two new science laboratories on the Bartlesville campus and hire up to two full-time nursing faculty members.
RSU recently received a commitment of $100,000 from the Mary K. Chapman Foundation to help with the construction costs associated with the two new science labs.

“Expanding the program to Bartlesville will help alleviate the shortage of nurses in the area and improve the health care of area residents by providing more highly qualified nursing professionals,” said Linda Andrews, RSU assistant vice president of academic affairs and long-time director of the university’s nursing program.

Up to 24 students will be admitted into the first RSU Bartlesville nursing class and as the program grows, it may eventually include up to 36 students, Andrews said. Students will complete their clinical rotations at area hospitals including Jane Phillips Medical Center in Bartlesville.

In addition to the Mary K. Chapman Foundation, the program will receive support from AEP/PSO and Jane Phillips Medical Center.

The need for highly trained nurses is significant across the nation: as the Baby Boomer generation ages, Americans will need an increasing amount of medical care. This coupled with the rate of nurses retiring equals a national nursing shortage, Andrews said.

In April 2006, officials with the Health Resources and Services Administration released projections that the nation's nursing shortage would grow to more than one million by the year 2020.

“I have an inside look at the tremendous need we have for registered nurses at our hospital and in the area. RSU graduates are ready to join the work force and we look forward to working with students from the Bartlesville-based program,” said David Stire, chief executive officer of Jane Phillips Medical Center.

Jane Phillips Medical Center serves about 100,000 patient visits per year and patients come to the medical center from Osage, Nowata and Washington Counties in Oklahoma, as well as Montgomery, Labette and Chautauqua counties in Kansas.

RSU’s Andrews said she hopes many licensed practical nurse students from the Tri-County Technology Center in Bartlesville will decide to further their education at RSU.

“This program will give students a local option for continuing their education and will be a great benefit to the community,” said Anita Risner, TriCounty Technology Center superintendent.

Students who complete the Associate in Applied Science Nursing degree and obtain their registered nurse licensure also will be eligible to apply to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree program at RSU’s Claremore campus. Launched this fall, the specially-designed RN to BSN program prepares nursing students for graduate school and jobs requiring require a bachelor’s degree.

For more information on the RSU nursing program, including entrance requirements, application process, advising and enrollment, call (918) 343-7635.