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Oklahoma Facing Nursing Shortage

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State health officials say Oklahoma is facing a chronic healthcare crisis, a shortage of registered nurses. Mindi Goddard is a labor and delivery nurse and says the job can be tough, but overall it's a rewarding career. Goddard and others in the healthcare profession worry how the shortfall will impact all who need a nurse's care.

“A lot more people living longer and there are a lot more people with chronic diseases so with all of these things put together and we have a crisis,” said Diana Pistole of Oklahoma Health Department.

While the state is offering help paying for nursing education, there's a problem there too. The state says it has a shortage of people to teach.

In response to the shortage of nursing faculty, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education has designated $200,000 annually to provide scholarships to Masters of Science Nursing students who indicate that they wish to teach Nursing in an Oklahoma postsecondary institution. Priority has been given to students who currently work at Oklahoma colleges, but who have yet to complete their MSN. More information about this scholarship can be obtained from Patti Matney at 405 271-2428 ext 49131.

In addition, OU School of Nursing is the only “state-funded” school that provides a Master of Science degree (which is required to teach nursing students) and it is provided online. In addition to the earmarked funding from the state Regents last year, OU School of Nursing received a very large grant this year from an anonymous donor specifically for MSN development in order to grow more nursing faculty in the state. Nursing scholarship information can be obtained from the OUHSC website. Look under the current student drop down window and select scholarships.

To find out more about healthcare professions in Oklahoma, check out the Oklahoma Hospital Association's workforce website, www.okhealthcareers.com.
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