Oklahoma Christian University (OC) announced two more hospitals, Mercy Oklahoma and Chickasaw Medical Center, have partnered with OC to offer work-based degrees to the hospitals’ employees, allowing health care professionals to continue working while earning a flexible, affordable online degree to advance their careers.
This announcement comes the day after Governor Kevin Stitt met with OC’s President John deSteiguer and INTEGRIS CEO Tim Pehrson, touring an INTEGRIS hospital and meeting with its employees who are currently enrolled in OC’s flexible nursing degree program.
OC created this innovative degree path to address the nursing shortage in Oklahoma, launching its first successful partnership with INTEGRIS Hospital in Spring 2021 to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree online while gaining on-the-job experience. As was done with INTEGRIS, OC will seek Board of Nursing approval for the two new partnerships and their locations.
“Oklahoma Christian University is taking an unprecedented and innovative approach to solving workforce shortages,” said Dr. Brandon Tatum, Chief Strategy Officer at Oklahoma Christian University. “Higher Education has not tended to be responsive to statewide shortages or think creatively about how to solve workforce issues. We are not only responding, but we are doing so in big ways. Through this program, students will be more experienced and better prepared than their peers to enter the workforce or take their career to the next level.”
Program inventors modeled the structure around maintaining flexibility for employees working in a hospital setting to earn necessary credits.
“This transformational model is modernizing traditional higher education and putting Oklahoma on the map for nursing,” said Ryan Walters, Secretary of Education for Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt. “COVID took a grave toll on the nationwide nursing and health care industry. As we move forward, states and higher education institutions must become innovators and problem solvers to fill the employment gaps that will continue broadening. Oklahoma Christian University is doing an incredible job in helping Oklahoma move the needle toward becoming a Top Ten State.”
Students enrolled in the degree program with Oklahoma Christian University will maintain employment through a participating health system, performing direct patient care under the supervision of an RN and participating in online instruction. The work-base to BSN program is open to both CNAs and non-CNAs. Candidates may apply at www.oc.edu.