New nursing curriculum approved at Northwestern, effective summer 2009

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New nursing curriculum approved at Northwestern, effective summer 2009

March 2, 2009

Recent changes in the nursing program curriculum at Northwestern Oklahoma State University were approved by the Oklahoma Board of Regents and the Oklahoma Board of Nursing (OBN), with the help of Dr. Carole McKenzie, associate professor and chair of division of nursing, and other members of the nursing division faculty.

Nursing students are now required to enter Northwestern’s nursing program as a licensed certified nursing assistant (CNA). Northwestern is in the process of implementing a course through the area technology centers where students can receive Northwestern credit, but obtain training through Autry Technology Center in Enid, High Plains Technology Center in Woodward, and Northwest Technology Center in Alva and Fairview to receive their CNA. Faculty at those locations will be approved by a Northwestern nursing committee.

“Having this course at the technology centers is further evidence of our partnership with these entities,” McKenzie said.

McKenzie said with this new change, students will gain more hands on experience and, if able, have the chance to work part-time because they will have their CNA when they enter the program. By having these clinical skills, students will be able to begin working in the hospital setting within two weeks of beginning nursing school.

Some courses have been combined to form a more streamlined teaching approach. Beginning this fall, students will begin Holistic Assessment, a course that evaluates patients across the lifespan. The new schedule is considered a block-type setting.

“We’ve streamlined the curriculum and made it more conducive for student learning,” McKenzie said.

Students also will be required to take a capstone semester where they will learn about leadership, management, community health and nursing issues. Another curriculum change includes a new conceptual framework. As part of the approval for new curriculum, the nursing department is required to submit a new framework. Northwestern’s overall concept begins with caring based on a foundation focused on safety.

“When you see the framework you see these terms and you completely understand what nursing at Northwestern is all about,” McKenzie said.

“This new approval enforces how great Northwestern’s nursing program is becoming,” McKenzie said. “It just increases our momentum to show what we are trying to accomplish within the nursing program.”

In the fall, the nursing program received five-year approval from the OBN and accreditation from the National League of Nursing through 2011. Licensure pass rates for Northwestern’s nursing program are above national average for the first time in recent years.

Northwestern also has a 100 percent pass rate on the Alva campus and an 88.89 percent rate on the Enid campus. The state average is 85.65 percent with the national average standing at 86.73 percent.

To learn more about the division of nursing at Northwestern, contact McKenzie at (580) 327-8489 or