Norman Regional Health System Chief Nursing Officer Brittni McGill, MSN, RN, CCRN (left) and OU College of Nursing Dean Julie Hoff, PhD, MPH, RN announced a new partnership this past week.

by Bobby Anderson, RN – staff writer

When Julie Hoff, PhD, MPH, RN first became dean of the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing she stressed the importance of higher education and healthcare facilities coming together for the common good of educating nurses.
Hoff took a major step in that direction last week as she was able to announce OU’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs would be expanding onsite into the Norman Regional Health System and Duncan Regional Hospital.
The partnership will create a satellite location of the College of Nursing at Norman Regional’s two hospitals – Norman Regional Hospital and the Norman Regional HealthPlex – as well as Duncan.
Hoff said she looks forward to additional partnerships in the future with other healthcare facilities.
“It benefits everyone,” Hoff said. “There might be cultural things we need to work through but the state needs nurses that can lead.”
Students entering into this program will not only get clinical experience at the hospitals, but they will also attend class in the Norman Regional Hospital Education Center.
Norman Regional will provide unique hands-on training.
Norman Regional Chief Nursing Officer Brittni McGill said the partnership is one-of-a-kind.
“I like that we can take the best of both organizations and make it into something that fits both people equally. It truly is a partnership,” McGill said. “It’s something we’ve created from scratch so it’s ours to develop over time.”
McGill noted the partnership could eventually allow for an onsite DNP or MSN program or other needed educational track.
A number of OU Nursing students hail from Norman. McGill said there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to train in their hometown.
“Our hope is we can keep them in this community and work for the health system that provides care to this community so it’s truly meeting the health system’s mission,” McGill said. “The sky is the limit.”
Oklahoma and the nation are experiencing a severe nursing shortage. According to The American Nurses Association, more registered nurse jobs will be available through 2022 than any other profession in the United States.
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that 11 million additional nurses are needed to avoid a further shortage. Employment opportunities for nurses are projected to grow at a faster rate (15%) than all other occupations through 2026.
“Ever since our university’s earliest years, OU nurses have fulfilled our life-changing purpose – heroic work that continues today,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “The nationwide chronic shortage of nursing professionals impacts all of us, and it’s often a dilemma caused by limited class sizes and a lack of qualified instructors. Further expanding our superior nursing education to locations beyond the OU Health Sciences Center is a vital step toward ensuring Oklahomans receive superb care today and for a lifetime.”
Norman Regional Health System is a multi-campus system that serves the healthcare needs of south central Oklahoma. It is currently comprised of two acute-care hospitals in Norman. Norman Regional Hospital located on Porter Avenue is licensed for 219 beds and offers a full range of services. The Norman Regional HealthPlex, on Interstate 35 is licensed for 168 acute care beds. The Health System also operates Norman Regional Moore, which houses an Emergency Room, physician offices, imaging, lab, physical therapy and more.
Norman Regional Health System also provides outpatient diagnostic centers, emergency medicine services, physician services, centers of excellence, medical equipment supplies, a primary care network, telehealth virtual care services and employer health services. The Health System has grown to employ more than 3,500 people and has 356 physicians credentialed on the Medical Staff.
Norman Regional is transforming healthcare in the community it serves with the Inspire Health plan. The plan has five core components: HealthPlex acute care expansion Ambulatory Pavilion and Cancer Center, a new Freestanding Emergency Department+ (plus ancillary services) in East Norman, a Behavioral Health Center and the revitalization of the historical Norman Regional Hospital (Porter) campus. These projects are tentatively set to be completed by 2023.
Applications for all Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing programs are now open. Students interested in applying to the BSN program should visit the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing website for instructions.
Applications are due no later than February 1, 2022 for the Traditional BSN program at Norman Regional Health System.
“This a very exciting time,” Hoff said. “I want to thank Brittni and (NRH CEO) Richie Splitt for agreeing and having the courage to partner with us on this endeavor because the only way we are going to be able to educate more nurses is through partnerships.”
“Right now, I compete with Brittni for master’s and doctorally-prepared nurses. I need them to teach, she needs them to practice. We don’t want to compete, we want to work together and strengthen nursing in ways that will help Oklahoma.”
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