DUNCAN, OK (KSWO) -Duncan Regional Hospital is setting its sights on higher education in hopes of keeping nurses.
The hospital is partnering with Cameron University and Oklahoma City University's Kramer School of Nursing to offer a bachelor's of science in nursing education. Students will be able to take classes at the hospital. The hope is that by creating a learning opportunity for nursing students in this area, some might be inspired to work here as well.
Duncan Regional says the idea came about because of the nationwide nursing shortage, so they wanted to be directly involved in recruiting and educating potential employees.
Right now, students can get their prerequisites at Cameron University in Lawton and finish the nursing program at another university. The new program would allow students to earn those early credits at Cameron's Duncan campus and complete their degree at the hospital.
"We will be providing classes here, we will be providing classes via ITV and offering the classes that are taught at OCU and have them here on our campus," said Cindy Rauh, Vice President of Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer.
Rauh says this will be a nice recruitment tool for the hospital.
"The importance of educating people here at home is they don't have to travel. But they also have the experience of doing clinicals in our hospitals," Rauh said.
Rauh says the hospital's goal is to have more than an 80 percent work force of nurses with a bachelor's of nursing going into the future. So, when looking for a partner university to help reach that goal, OCU seemed like the perfect fit given what Rauh says is a quality record.
"OCU has just been a very valuable partner. They are very caring in their manner and aggressive in moving forward," Rauh said.
Director of Cameron University's Duncan campus Susan Camp says while they currently don't offer a bachelor's degree in nursing, they hope this new opportunity will help increase enrollment in their allied health offering.
"Many of our student have family and have established their lives and their homes in this area, and so it makes that attainable for them without disrupting their normal live obligations," Camp said.
The first nursing class to go through the program will begin their studies in the fall.
There will be an open house on Feb. 17 at the Duncan Regional Hospital learning center for all interested in the program.