The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

February 23, 2013

Nursing a field of study

By Phyllis Zorn, Staff Writer
Enid News and Eagle

ENID, Okla. — Training to become a nurse is easy to find in Enid.

Autry Technology Center offers practical nursing education, Northern Oklahoma College offers registered nurse training and Northwestern Oklahoma State University offers bachelor of science degrees in nursing. In addition, the schools have agreements with one another to make it easier for nurses to move up to a higher level of education and receive credit for what they learned at the previous schools.



Autry Tech



Autry offers a self-paced practical nursing program with 34 students currently enrolled. The program combines clinical experiences and classroom courses.

Melissa Jenlink, marketing director for Autry, said it’s generally an 18-month program. Students take certification tests to become licensed practical nurses.

“The practical nursing program is very flexible with the class schedule,” Jenlink said.

Nursing program hours are 8:15 a.m. through 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday.



Northern



Jeanine Deterding, chairwoman of the nursing division for Northern Oklahoma College, said NOC’s program always is evolving, in keeping with the fact nursing is an ever-evolving field.

“We have changed our nursing schedule,” Deterding said. “We now have clinical skills open three days a week instead of two. We have gone to computerized testing instead of paper and pencil.”

NOC currently is working toward renewal of its accreditation from National League for Nursing Accreditation Commission. To remain in good standing, accreditation must be renewed every eight years.

NOC has 80 freshman and 80 sophomores in nursing studies this semester on all three campuses, with 23 freshman and 30 sophomores at Enid.



Northwestern



At Northwestern Oklahoma State University, 75 students are studying nursing on campuses at Alva, Enid and Woodward, with 24 at Enid, said Cheryl Kent, interim director of nursing at NWOSU.

The level of nursing education is driven by the students themselves, Deterding said. Students can get a two-year registered nurse degree and start earning good wages, then return to finish up the bachelor’s degree program later if that is what works for them.

“There is a push to have all nurses have their bachelor’s degree,” Kent said.

A bachelor’s degree opens doors to management positions and further education as nurse practitioners, Kent said.

NWOSU’s nursing program will expand to the University Center in Ponca City in the fall. Classes will be offered via ITV for Ponca City students.

NWOSU also offers an RN to BSN online program that starts in July and runs two years. The university is looking to begin the same program — with a fall start date — to accommodate more students, Kent said.