Immersive Residency Week Empowers Doctor of Nursing Practice Students with Practical Training

August 1, 2023

DNP 2023
Spending a week on the Northwestern Oklahoma State University Alva campus July 9-13 for DNP residency week are (left to right) Dr. Krista Tilley, assistant professor of nursing; Beth Rose, DNP coordinator; Dr. Leslie Collins, Charles Morton Share Trust Division of Nursing chair; Ololade Lajuwomi; Lacie Jankey; Thuy Van; Amber Wood; Dr. Courtney Ballina, DNP program director and Dr. Gwyn Holderby, assistant professor of nursing.

Four students in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN-to-DNP) program at Northwestern Oklahoma State University spent five days on the Alva campus for residency week July 9-13.

The students are involved in a hybrid program meaning that much of their education is completed online. The students can complete work at clinics in their hometowns while the Northwestern faculty members supervise remotely. For residency week, the students come to the Alva campus for the week for hands-on training and to show that they are competent in physically assessing patients.

“This is when the students check off on their physical assessment skills to get ready to learn in a clinical setting,” Dr. Courtney Ballina, who serves as the Wisdom Family Foundation Doctoral Program for Rural Nursing Practice Doctor of Nursing Practice program director, said. “They also have an introductory experience to common procedures they will encounter in primary care such as suturing, eye injuries, and biopsies. Local supporters such as the Kiowa Meat Locker and the Alva’s Market (Moore’s Venture Foods in Alva) help make this experience possible by donating pigs feet to practice suturing with, as well as overripe produce for biopsy simulation.”

Joining Ballina to provide instruction to the group during the week was Dr. Gwyn Holderby and Dr. Krista Tilley, both assistant professors of nursing.

Ballina added the summer NP intensive gives nurse practitioner students a chance to learn valuable skills they will need in primary care as well as confirm that they are ready to start clinical rotations the following spring. They spend the whole week on campus to focus only on learning how to be a great NP.

“To keep things exciting, we finish the week with a game of Assessment Jeopardy,” Ballina said. “This is where students review what they have learned over the week, as well as over the last several weeks of coursework, to prepare them for the final exam.”

Students attending this year’s week-long residency program include Lacie Jankey of Enid, Ololade Lajuwomi of Edmond, Thuy Van of Wichita, Kansas and Amber Wood of Shawnee.

The BSN-to-DNP program enrolled its first class in August 2017. The fifth class to have graduated did so this year in May and will test at the end of the summer or in the fall. So far, the program boasts a 100 percent certification pass rate and a 100 percent employment rate.

Northwestern is one of only two public universities in Oklahoma to offer a Family Nurse Practitioner program, was the first public university with a BSN-to-DNP offering, and is the only program in the state with an emphasis on nursing in rural communities.

This program also was recently named the best in the country out of 203 accredited colleges and universities in the nation evaluated by Students may enroll full-time for the three-year program or part-time for the four-year program.

Instruction within this program helps to prepare DNPs to become certified Family Nurse Practitioners in their home communities and surrounding areas without first earning a master’s degree; however, there is an advanced placement option for students who have already completed a master’s degree in nursing.

Additional information about the DNP program may be found online at or by calling (580) 327-8442.

Northwestern’s RN-to-BSN program was recently recognized by as being No. 1 in Oklahoma, and ranked Northwestern in the top 30 among all programs in the Southwest based on affordability. Visit or call (580) 327-8493 to learn more about Northwestern’s BSN program and online RN-to-BSN program.


Erin Davis, University Relations Specialist; 580-327-8480 


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