One of the foremost considerations for nursing schools in Oklahoma is that they benefit from the 3.7 million people living in this region of the United States. The primary industries in the State are agricultural, production of natural gas and oil, and quite recently an increased activity in the area of biotechnology. These are generally large industries which can cause the migration of people into the locality. With growing population, the needs for medical attention increases proportionally.
This means that the nursing schools in Oklahoma are tasked to produce more quality graduates within the next few years in order to respond to the demands of the healthcare industry. It is expected that with the continuing trend, there will be many licensed LPN and doctors working in hospitals, nursing homes, and other similar healthcare facilities. However, the reality is that the shortage is still quite large, especially in hospitals where there is a preference for Registered Nurses as well as some LPN. Look at some considerations that can play a role in responding to the shortage.
- State of nursing education in Oklahoma.
To be able to respond to the shortage in nurses, nursing schools in Oklahoma must be able to generate qualified graduates to fill the void. This however can only be achieved if there are enough candidates to contend with. One of the main stumbling blocks in other States is the financial obligation that goes with the training program. In the State of Oklahoma, there are many State-wide scholarship programs that will allow interested and deserving candidates to pursue nursing education.
This means that it is relatively easier to get a nursing degree in the State of Oklahoma because the financial considerations are almost negated. Candidates should take advantage of these programs because:
- Hospitals usually hire nurses with a variety of incentives like huge referral and signing bonuses, which translate to additional money aside from the expected salary.
- Depending on the current budget of the State, loan repayment packages may be implemented to be able to attract and retain nursing professionals in order to respond to the shortage and prevent it from worsening.
- Nursing students across the State can benefit from Nursing Student Assistance Program initiatives for any degree levels like practical nursing. Eligible candidates however may be required to practice their skills in community health clinics.
- A number of healthcare facility employers have their own loan repayment or forgiveness package that is offered to nursing candidates in order to fill the void in their staffing requirements.
- Some nursing students can benefit from tuition reimbursement incentives given by some employers. The most common beneficiaries of these types of programs are RNs and LPNs who want to go back to school for more advanced studies.
- The outlook for nursing in the State.
It is important to understand that nursing schools will only be able to attract more enrollees and potential candidates if the outlook for nursing remains attractive and lucrative. Otherwise, it will be difficult to get the right amount of qualified candidates to respond to the shortage in many healthcare facilities. This is the reason why it is vital for nursing schools in Oklahoma to look at the general scenario within the State of Oklahoma.
Just like in other States, candidates in the State of Oklahoma need to successfully pass the National Council Licensure Examination or NCLEX, to be considered as a Registered Nurse. Once registered, the statistics from the U.S. Department of Labor paints a pretty good outlook for any RN. In the State, the projected mean annual salary is about $54, 340, which can be attractive enough to get the necessary number of candidates to respond to the shortage and hopefully reverse it in the coming years.
This also means that the shortage presents a lot of job opportunities for those from out of State. Provided that they fulfill the necessary requirements, it can be comparatively easier for them to find jobs in healthcare facilities in the State.
- Special admission procedures.
It is important for candidates to be aware that some nursing programs have limited slots available, which is why they implement selective admission procedures. This is intended to limit the number of applicants for the specific training program. These types of courses normally include traditional track including career ladder pathway designed for LPN degrees as well as the Baccalaureate and Associate Accelerated nurse degree.
Traditional programs handed out by nursing schools allow students to be admitted for both fall and spring semesters. Candidates admitted during the fall semester will have a daytime schedule for the theoretical training while those admitted for the spring semester will follow an evening schedule. Candidates in both semesters however should expect a bit of day assignments for their laboratory and clinical practice. Preference points are used in the ranking, which plays a part in the selection process for all eligible candidates.
- Accreditation and degree programs.
Many nursing schools in Oklahoma offer what is known as gateway programs that allow candidates to jumpstart their nursing profession. BSN is a traditional program that lasts four years where successful completion of the undergraduate degree can lead to a very fruitful nursing profession, regardless if the candidates are traditional or not. Once the BSN program has been complied with, the candidates become eligible for application to the NCLEX, which will allow them to take on the role of an RN when they pass.
There is also a part-time BSN program where candidates are expected to attend evening as well as occasional Saturday sessions to complete the training program. This is designed for candidates who keep a full-time job during the day or simply cannot attend traditional training hours. Much like with traditional training schedules, candidates that complete this course will become eligible for the NCLEX to get their RN.
There is also an accelerated program that will last for 16 months. This is ideal for candidates who already have a Bachelor’s Degree from another field of expertise. The completion of the accelerated program will allow the candidates to function as RN, provided they pass the NCLEX.
- The Oklahoma Hospital Association.
Organized in 1919, this group currently represents over 130 hospitals including other healthcare facilities in the State of Oklahoma. The primary objective of the Oklahoma Hospital Association (OHA) is to promote public welfare through the delivery of better healthcare services by its members for all patients. This association will be instrumental in setting guidelines for healthcare facilities to make it more attractive for qualified candidates to serve in the State of Oklahoma.
These are five considerations that will help nursing schools in Oklahoma work together with healthcare facilities to respond to the nursing service shortage in the State.
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