May 5, 2011

RSU – Jane Phillips Medical Center Partnership Honored by State Regents

A partnership between Rogers State University and Jane Phillips Medical Center to increase the number of registered nurses working in the Bartlesville area has been recognized by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.

The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education's Economic Development Grant – Partnership Recognition Program is designed to highlight successful partnerships between colleges and universities, and businesses and organizations, and to further cultivate the higher learning environment through the grant program.

Colleges and universities involved in the partnerships provide $500 for tuition waivers to employees of the partnering businesses or organizations; internships for current students of the institutions to work at the partnering businesses; faculty externships with the partnering businesses; and enhancement of the partnerships with additional equipment, materials or supplies. The State Regents provide a $500 match to the waivers.

"Oklahoma's colleges and universities are working to improve Oklahoma's economic future by partnering with area businesses to provide our State's workforce with expanded education and training opportunities. Through these efforts, students receive hands-on, career-related experiences that better prepare them for entry into today's business world" said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. "Higher Education provides the most efficient path toward a better trained workforce which in turn will strengthen Oklahoma's position in the global marketplace."

The shortage of registered nurses in the Bartlesville area stimulated RSU and Jane Phillips Medical Center (JPMC) to develop a bridge program that enables existing licensed practical nurses and paramedics to become RNs.

"It is always challenging to recruit qualified applicants for openings at the hospital because of the shortage of nurses across the state. Having the RSU program in Bartlesville helps increase the pool of highly-qualified health care professionals in the area," said David Stire, Chief Executive Officer of Jane Phillips Medical Center.

With financial support from JPMC, RSU renovated classrooms and nursing labs for the program and provided funding to support nursing faculty salaries. The bridge program increases the skill levels of existing nursing staff, promotes a higher quality of care and reduces the shortage of RNs. The bridge program allows RSU students to increase their skills, employability and earning power, according to Nancy Diede, head of the RSU Department of Health Sciences.

JPMC has provided clinical rotations for RSU nursing students for more than a decade, she added.

The partnership also led to a Skills Fair for RSU students last year. More than 30 nurse managers from JPMC presented various skills and procedures that nurses need to know as a part of their nursing role. The JPMC nurse managers reviewed skills, explained new techniques, and evaluated student competence. The event provided an excellent occasion for the students to network with hospital personnel.

From the first graduating class in 2010, six graduates were employed by JPMC as registered nurses and two of them were already employed as LPNs by JPMC. Similar numbers are projected for 2011.

For more information on the LPN to RN nursing bridge program at the RSU campus in Bartlesville, call 918-338-8000.