Rogers State University and Saint Francis Health System Partner to Offer Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Tulsa

group of people posing for photo

Saint Francis Health System and Rogers State University announced a partnership April 3 to educate nursing students at Saint Francis Hospital in Tulsa starting in August. The announcement was made Monday afternoon during a news conference held in the main lobby of Saint Francis Hospital at 61st and Yale.

Saint Francis will serve as an extended campus of RSU, and Rogers State University will award the Bachelor of Science in Nursing upon students’ graduation.

The extended campus will open in fall 2023 for students who have been accepted into the Rogers State University nursing program. Applications for the spring 2024 semester began April 1.

The Saint Francis extended campus has been generously underwritten for the first three years by a grant from The William K. Warren Foundation.

To be eligible for the program, students must apply for acceptance to Rogers State University and complete the program prerequisites. As juniors, students will be able to choose either nursing classes in Claremore on the RSU campus or at Saint Francis Hospital. Classroom instruction at Saint Francis will be presented via video simulcast with instructors in Claremore and live with facilitators in Tulsa. More information about the nursing program and how to apply is available at

Saint Francis Hospital is renovating a 6,000-square-foot area within the hospital that will house a state-of-the-art simulation center and classrooms designed to educate the next generation of healthcare professionals. The new simulation center will include four high-fidelity simulation suites designed to replicate Saint Francis inpatient rooms. The suites will include medical/surgical nursing, critical care, labor and delivery, trauma and pediatrics settings complete with sophisticated manikins that simulate breathing, sweating, talking and even giving birth. There will be additional spaces for task and skills training, along with future plans for virtual reality simulations.

Saint Francis will hire two coordinators for the Saint Francis extended campus and simulation center and two full-time nursing instructors who will have an academic appointment at Rogers State University.

The Saint Francis extended campus will accept 16 juniors in fall 2023 and add 16 more each semester, ultimately with 64 nursing students—32 juniors and 32 seniors—each year at Saint Francis.

The new partnership allows Rogers State to expand its nursing graduates by more than 50%.

Dr. Carla Lynch speaking at podium

Dr. Carla Lynch, RSU Department Head of Health Sciences, explains how the partnership with Saint Francis Health System will help educate more nursing students.

“RSU nursing is thrilled to be partnering with Saint Francis Health System,” said Dr. Carla Lynch, department head of health sciences at RSU. “Every admission cycle, we have had to turn away qualified applicants because of lack of clinical space, classroom space and faculty. This partnership will allow us to admit an additional 32 students every year, allowing students to complete their goal of being a nurse sooner. It also means more registered nurses to care for our family, friends and community.”

Dr. Larry Rice, president of Rogers State University, is excited for this partnership and for the opportunity it will provide for future RSU nursing students to complete nursing school in Tulsa.

“Rogers State University has a long history of excellence in nursing education and RSU nursing graduates are always in high demand,” Rice said. “Our goal is to help meet workforce needs by educating more nurses. In fact, we recently expanded our capacity for nursing students at our Claremore campus by adding a spring cohort each year in addition to our fall cohort.

Dr. Rice at podium

Dr. Larry Rice, RSU President, speaks to the crowd during the announcement of the partnership with Saint Francis Health System.

“This partnership with Saint Francis will not only allow us to educate even more nurses, but it will also help RSU nursing to have a direct presence in Tulsa at Saint Francis, one of the leading hospitals in the state of Oklahoma. We are extremely grateful for this partnership and for the enthusiasm and excitement shown by the team at Saint Francis who helped make this possible.”

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 275,000 additional nurses are needed between 2020 and 2030, and employment for nurses will grow at a rate of 9% annually, which is faster than all other occupations.

“Saint Francis has a strategic initiative to recruit registered nurses by developing academic partnerships with area nursing programs,” said Cindy Leathers, Chief Nursing Officer for Saint Francis Health System. “The RSU extended campus at Saint Francis will increase enrollment, enhance learning with the culture of Saint Francis, and help the students engage in our vision, mission and values. Our goal is for these students to become career nurses at Saint Francis.”

As the largest health system in Oklahoma, Saint Francis Health System needs to hire more than 600 nurses each year to account for retirements and future growth. Having students in-house for two years will be a way to recruit and retain the future workforce at Saint Francis.

For more information about the BSN program at Rogers State University, visit For more information about the RSU Nursing at Saint Francis extended campus and earning a BSN at this extended campus location in Tulsa, visit