Dr. Shelly Wells Speaks on Rural Health Issues at Conference in Norman

March 24, 2020

Shelly Wells

Dr. Shelly Wells, professor of nursing and chair of the Charles Morton Share Trust Division of Nursing at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, recently presented at the Rural Health Association of Oklahoma’s annual conference in Norman.

This two-day conference was attended by approximately 200 health care leaders from Oklahoma's rural hospitals. RHAO’s mission is to serve as a united voice for Oklahomans in the promotion of rural health issues through advocacy, education and leadership. Their primary activities include hosting the RHAO annual conference in the spring, promoting and advocating for rural health issues, and meeting with stakeholders across the state.

Wells gave her presentation titled “Oklahoma Health Workforce: Supply and Ideas.”

“Hospitals in rural Oklahoma are faced with multiple threats,” Wells said. “Their livelihood is dependent upon having enough qualified staff to attend to health demands of their communities. We also know that depending upon the current supply of health care workers is not enough – as their numbers are too few.”

She said her presentation focused on the current supply and demand of nursing personnel in the rural areas of Oklahoma, and the current impact of the nursing education pipeline upon the supply of nurses for the rural areas of the state. She touched briefly upon other sectors of the health care workforce in Oklahoma and the challenges with the availability of supply and demand data for health workforce members. She also presented several exemplars for engaging youth to stimulate interest in health care professions.

“Northwestern, in partnership with Northwest Technology Center, has been a state leader in targeting youth and exposing them to health careers through its MASH (Medical Avenues in Service and Health) camps over the past four years,” Wells said. “Similar opportunities need to be identified throughout the state.”

For more information on this topic or Northwestern’s nursing programs, contact Wells at (580) 327-8489 or scwells@nwosu.edu.


Erin Davis, University Relations Specialist
eedavis@nwosu.edu, 580-327-8480

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

709 Oklahoma Blvd., Alva, OK 73717
Phone: (580) 327-1700

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