OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. – Oklahoma Christian University has chosen Kay Elder as chair of the university’s Department of Nursing.
“This is an exciting time of growth for OC and the nursing department. We are welcoming a record number of freshman nursing majors this fall,” said Elder, who previously served as an assistant professor in the department. “I’m honored to help lead the department, especially as we move toward offering a completion program for registered nurses seeking a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing.”
Another area Elder seeks to expand is the university’s community health partnerships.
“We are looking forward to creating new relationships and strengthening the existing partnerships we have with Mercy Medical Center and the Oklahoma City County Health Department, among others,” she said. “Just this fall, we are utilizing three more clinics for our public health focus.”
Elder noted that OC’s nursing enrollment increased by 21 percent this year. Vice President for Academic Affairs Scott LaMascus said Elder will help the department continue to grow.
“We are very pleased to have Kay as our nursing chair,” he said. “She has been an integral part of the growth of OC’s nursing department over the last eight years. We are looking forward to her leadership as she helps our students continue to excel in the classroom and in service to others.”
Elder is a 1978 Oklahoma Christian graduate with a degree in biology. She has two degrees in nursing from the University of Oklahoma and is completing a doctorate in nursing education at Oklahoma City University.
Oklahoma Christian began its nursing degree program in 2006 to help address Oklahoma’s nursing shortage. In 2007, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education fully accredited OC’s nursing program.
OC nursing graduates continue to score above state and national averages on the registered nursing exam, known as the National Council Licensure Examination. Elder said the pass rate for the 2013 graduating class is 87.5 percent, which is higher than the pass rate for the state and the nation.
Service is a hallmark of OC’s nursing department. Each year, students and faculty spend two weeks in May in a practicum experience working with Mission Predisan in Honduras or with underserved populations in the Oklahoma City area.
The HonduraServe group serves clinics in the mountains of Eastern Honduras. The domestic service group works with Lighthouse Medical Clinic in Oklahoma City, Luther Community Service Center, Edmond HeadStart, Luther Elementary School, the Wings special needs community in Edmond, Make Promises Happen Camp in Guthrie, and other underserved population groups.
Two large gifts strengthened OC’s nursing department earlier this year. A $10,000 gift from Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City helped meet the $50,000 fundraising goal for the Rebecca Stafford Endowed Scholarship for Nursing, with a matching gift from an anonymous donor boosting the endowment to $100,000. Another gift of $100,000 funded the new Donna J. Eckhart Endowed Scholarship for Nursing.