The Rogers State University nursing program has experienced significant growth with the transition to a bachelor’s degree program. Sixty-four seniors will graduate in spring 2021, and 80 juniors were admitted from a pool of more than 180 applicants eager to join the innovative and rigorous RSU nursing program.
“We are thrilled with the growth of the nursing program. Research supports that patient outcomes are improved when cared for by a bachelor’s prepared registered nurse,” Dr. Carla Lynch, department head of nursing and health sciences, said. “It’s our mission to prepare the nurses of tomorrow with all the tools they need to succeed, not only for themselves but for the care of their patients.”
Two additional faculty members were hired to accommodate the increase in enrollment. RSU’s nursing faculty bring a collective total of more than 130 years of experience in the field to the classroom. The model of care and professionalism attracts students to the program.
While the growth is welcome and reflective of the quality of RSU’s program and faculty, it has created facility challenges.
“Providing learning spaces that meet the technology needs of teachers and students has been a challenge, particularly in our large lecture spaces,” Dr. Lynch said. “Most students utilize some type of electronic device daily in their courses and we lack the infrastructure for those students to power those devices.”
In addition, Lynch said current lecture halls feature fixed seating desks that are uncomfortable for some students and eliminate the opportunity for group learning.RSU has been forced to defer maintenance on most facilities due to continual cuts in state funding, making renovations of nursing classrooms unlikely for some time.
The need prompted the RSU Foundation to raise $135,000 to renovate the lecture hall located in Room 135 of the Health Sciences Building. The renovation would include new in-floor electrical wiring, replacement floor coverings, movable classroom tables with electrical and USB data ports, and new chairs.
The Cherokee Nation, with the support of tribal Councilor Janees Taylor, has provided an initial gift of $20,000 to support the effort.
“Under the leadership of Principal Chief Chuck Hoskin, the Cherokee Nation has consistently invested in improving health care in northeast Oklahoma and understands the need for RSU to produce highly skilled nurses,” President Dr. Larry Rice said. “We are grateful to Councilor Taylor and the Cherokee leadership for their support of this important project.”