By Dan Bewley and Scott Thompson, The News On 6
OKMULGEE, Oklahoma -- Students in one of the most sought after professions have a new place to study in the state.
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology in Okmulgee dedicated its new health sciences building on Friday. It's designed to give nursing students in Oklahoma a leg up on the competition.
Emilia Lopez and Lisa Marshall are three months from becoming registered nurses. They're graduating in December from OSUIT.
They say there are a number of reasons to become a Registered Nurse.
"You have a steady job, there's demand for it and you make a lot of money and you can also help people, which is what I like to do," said Marshall.
OSUIT currently has 60 students in its RN program and another 200 in pre-nursing, but those numbers are expected to rise and the university recently opened a new building to teach students in one of the fastest growing occupations.
"If there's a recession proof occupational area or career area, professional healthcare or nursing is very high on that list," said Dr. Bob Klabenes, OSUIT President.
The Allied Health Sciences Center is a 25,000 square foot, $6.1 million building. It's state of the art on the outside with a focus on energy efficiency, and state of the art on the inside with lifelike robotic patients.
"Some of them cry, some of them talk, some of them blink," said Lopez.
If you listen closely, you can even hear a heartbeat.
"It's interactive and it's almost like working with a real human being," said Klabenes.
School officials say the new building will make a big difference in Oklahoma, as more and more students enter a thriving profession and help keep the state healthy.
"We work hard to recruit from rural than any place else so that those individuals will go back to some of their hometowns and we can continue to make rural Oklahoma and rural America economically viable and a place that people really want to live," said Klabenes.
The state expects there to be a shortage in Oklahoma of more than 3,000 nurses in the next two years.
Learn more about OSUIT.