The Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program is increasingly becoming the preferred path to receiving RN licensure in the state of Oklahoma. Recommended standards put forth by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) encourage 80% of the nursing workforce to hold a BSN or higher nursing degree by 2020. As nursing jobs are becoming more complex and nurses are having additional responsibilities put upon them, a bachelor’s-level education is not only highly recommended, but often, also mandatory.
The Oklahoma Board of Nursing has a mission to safeguard the public’s health by regulating nursing practice and education. The Board issues RN licenses and is committed to meeting the “80 by 20” goal. A taskforce was put together in the form of the Oklahoma Campaign for Action to find ways for the state to meet the goal. Currently the state is looking at ways to improve the ease of accessibility to BSN or higher degree programs by improving the educational system and promoting seamless academic progression. This includes expanding the availability of online programs for students interested in earning a BSN as a path to licensure.
Online and On-Campus Pre-Licensure BSN Programs in Oklahoma
Pre-licensure BSN programs now come in different forms. The traditional classroom experience is available on campuses throughout Oklahoma and online or hybrid programs are now also widely available. Accelerated BSN programs are also options for career changers who may already hold a bachelor’s degree in an area other than nursing.
Campus-based programs that are approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing are available throughout Oklahoma in the following cities:
- Oklahoma City
Program Structure and Course Outline
Prerequisite coursework that are taken within the first two years include variations of the following topics:
- English Composition
- U.S. History
- General Psychology
- General Chemistry
- Human Anatomy
After completing perquisites, students then go on to the nursing program component of the BSN program. In some schools, students may apply for the nursing program component at the onset of the four-year degree program. In other cases, the prerequisites must be completed before going on to apply for the nursing program component. Nursing programs in any state including Oklahoma are highly competitive. A minimum GPA of 2.5 is often required for all prerequisite courses.
An additional 60 hours of nursing coursework for a total of 124 or more credit hours are needed to complete the BSN program. Courses that students may need to take can include the following:
- Health Assessment
- Clinical Nursing
- Leadership in Nursing Practice
- Family Focused Nursing
- Pharmacology in Nursing
- Introduction to Professional Nursing
- Human Experience in Acute and Chronic Illness
- Psychosocial Nursing
- Community Focused Nursing
Clinical experience is a necessary part of the BSN program. Clinical experience brings the student from the classroom to real world situations under the supervision of health care professionals. This experience bolsters the student’s confidence in addition to giving them valuable on-the-job training. Clinical training is generally coordinated near the student’s home. Examples of facilities in the state that offer clinical experience includes:
- Oklahoma State University Medical Center – Tulsa
- Oklahoma City VA Medical Center – Oklahoma City
- Saint Francis Hospital – Tulsa
RN Exam and Licensing in Oklahoma
Passing the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) is required by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing before applying for RN licensure.
Before registering for the exam, an Authorization to Test must be received from the Oklahoma Board of Nursing.
Registration can then take place online through the exam provider Pearson VUE. Students will have up to six hours to complete the RN exam and results will be sent from the state board within six weeks of the exam date.
Oklahoma also requires all RN licensure applicants to complete a fingerprint-based background check within 90 days of license request.
It is recommended that students submit license applications between two and four months before graduation to allow adequate processing time.
Opportunities in Oklahoma after Graduating with a BSN
Nursing residencies provide solid foundations for BSN graduates transitioning to the workforce. One-on-one coaching and job-shadowing are just two benefits that can be received in a residency program. These programs allow for a smoother transition from student to professional by offering practical hands-on experience. Examples of facilities in Oklahoma that offer residency programs include:
- Oklahoma University Medical Center- Oklahoma City
- Stillwater Medical Center – Stillwater
- Hillcrest Hospital – Claremore
BSN programs are becoming the more practical choice on the road to obtaining RN licensure. The new 2020 IOM standards and changes in health care means that more and more employers consider a BSN to be a necessity when securing a position as an RN, not to mention providing options for career advancement.
Examples of jobs currently available to BSN graduates in Oklahoma include (February 2015):
- Clinical Supervisor – Oklahoma City County Health Department, Oklahoma City
- Office Nurse Manager – University of Oklahoma, Tulsa
- House Supervisor – Hillcrest Hospital South, Tulsa