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OU LPN partnership helps ease nursing shortage

"Several of our graduates who participated in the leadership clinical rotations were recruited and hired by OUHSC."

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing was predicting a nursing shortage even without a world-disrupting pandemic.

Now, that shortage is being felt even more, both nationwide and right here in the OKC metro. But a clinical partnership between the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and the Practical Nursing Program (LPN) at Francis Tuttle Technology Center could help ease this urgent workforce deficit.

This partnership has already proven to have a positive impact in helping students become well-positioned to enter the nursing profession.

"The OUHSC has been very welcoming of our nursing students and eager to get them onboard to train alongside their nursing team," said LaDonna Selvidge, Practical Nursing Program Director at Francis Tuttle. "The opportunities that the OUHSC provides will undoubtedly continue to assist the students in their transition into nursing, in addition to giving them exposure to potential employment opportunities after graduation.”

Students in nursing programs must participate in “clinical rotations,” which are similar to internships with students working in healthcare settings in a supervised capacity. Partnering with clinical sites is key to students having the opportunity to work in a healthcare facility with real patients as they prepare to enter the workforce. Clinicals also often serve as a student's first step toward earning a job at that same location.

The partnership with OUHSC provides clinical placement in Nursing Leadership. Students are assigned to nurses who assist them with transitioning from student to nurse by allowing them to take the lead in patient-centered care experiences. Students gain this knowledge and experience in the medical-surgical and neurological acute care areas, in addition to various outpatient clinics.

The current nationwide shortage of nurses is very prevalent and expected to continue to worsen for several more years. But it helps when a student can go straight into a job from their clinical rotation.

"Several of our graduates who participated in the leadership clinical rotations were recruited and hired by OUHSC," Selvidge said. "The graduates have had only positive comments about their experiences at OUHSC as the partnership has provided a bridge to strengthen the pipeline in preparing nurses for the workplace.”

Selvidge stated that the Practical Nursing faculty is very excited and grateful for the clinical partnership opportunity with the OUHSC, and they hope that it continues for many years. Practical Nursing is preparing to send the third cycle of students to the OUHSC.

Francis Tuttle's Practical Nursing program received a 97 percent average licensure pass rate for the 2022 National Council Licensure Examination for Practical Nursing, which was higher than both the state and national averages.

by Jeff Knapp - February 13, 2023