Last year, Redlands Community College graduated 25 nurses.
As Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, Rose Marie Smith, RN, MS, CNE oversaw the education of every single one.
There’s no doubt in her mind that each will be successful in whatever setting they may choose.
Smith says Redlands’ focus is always on the individual.
Quite simply, it’s success by design.
“We feel it’s the best because I truly believe (students) get a lot more clinical opportunities because we know the people,” she said. “We know who needs what and we’re there kind of guiding and pushing them to get to the learning experiences. They can’t just hide in the numbers.”
This May, Redlands is expecting its largest graduating class in 15 years. That could be as high as 38.
Closing in a quarter century of nursing education, Smith smiles when she sees former students. The administrator of Kingfisher Hospital is a Redlands graduate. The director of the Canadian County LPN program is a Redlands graduate. The director of the Carnegie Hospital is a Redlands graduate.
“You see how long I’ve been in nursing education and it blesses my heart,” she said. “Our graduates take care of patients and do well but they also go on.”
Last year, Redlands partnered with Oklahoma Panhandle State University and their RN-BSN online program. Any graduate of Redlands can enroll in the program at the Redlands tuition rate.
“And we’re one of the lowest tuitions in the state of Oklahoma,” Smith said. “Because our graduates are so successful they are courted if you will. Directors seek them out. I just feel proud when I walk around and see graduates caring for patients and graduates in administration.”
Smith first began her career at Redlands in 1985 as faculty. She progressed through team leader and director of nursing program roles before stepping away in 2006.
She helped lead two other nursing programs in that time before coming back home in 2015 to Redlands.
She wanted to make the Redlands experience unique for each individual and that begins by investing time.
Community support is huge in Canadian County for the school and vice versa.
The Canadian County Health Department has requested Redlands students work with their OB nurse practitioner.
Students have adopted a mission in El Reno treating recently released inmates and recovering drug and alcohol addicts. Students serve in the twice-monthly, bilingual health clinic
“Our students get a wealth of experience,” Smith said. “We screen and provide health care advice, teaching and things they’ve never really had in their life before.”
Redlands students also go into local schools to help teach pediatric curriculum.
“Our students get opportunities to not only learn public speaking but also teaching at appropriate grade levels,” Smith said. “The students carry those experiences with them in life. Those are tools they can use, soft skills if you will.”
Some students drive nearly an hour and a half from rural, Western Oklahoma to attend Redlands.
There’s a definite investment.
“We have rural students who graduate and return to rural areas and with the demographics of Oklahoma changing we wanted to provide them with equipment to contributors to their cities, towns and counties,” Smith said.
Bed transfers and feeding skills are taught down the street at a local five-star long-term care facility.
“We do a lot more live learning labs to learn how to care for that population as well,” said Smith, who notes Redlands nursing students also help with annual flu vaccinations for the entire campus . “We don’t just stop at the classroom we try to engage them throughout their education.”
Redlands admits students one time each year to the traditional day program. LPN to RN admission occurs for a handful of individuals in the spring.
“What we do really well is student first, smaller classes with master’s prepared faculty,” Smith said.
The program threads theory and simulation together to help build understanding of the specific content being taught.
Simulations enhance student understanding, build confidence prior to clinical as to what to do, say, and provide appropriate interventions for patients.
Redlands Nursing Program graduated its first class in 1981. The program is a two-year nursing program with new classes beginning in the fall of every year.
Students graduate with an Associate in Applied Science Degree and, upon graduation, are eligible to take the NCLEX exam to become a Registered Nurse.
Redlands also offers options for LPNs attending the nursing program. LPNs with one year of experience are given credit for Fundamentals of Nursing.

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