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Master's in nursing scholarship recipients chosen.

Local program funded by Partner's Investing in Nursing's Future grant; Online program scholarships to help relieve nursing shortage in rural areas.

Oklahoma City--The Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Center has selected three additional individuals to receive scholarships to obtain their Master's of Science in Nursing degree through the OU College of Nursing online program. These scholarships, which now total eight, are awarded through a program designed to advance current nurse educators from bachelor's to master's level and provide more educational opportunities for potential nurses.

Recipients are: Lori Allen, RN, resident of Ada, a new faculty member at Murray State College nursing program, Tishomingo; Carol Williams, RN, Warner, faculty member at Indian Capital Technology Center practical nursing program, Sallisaw campus; and Kerri Wolf, RN, Stilwell, faculty member at Indian Capital Technology Center practical nursing program, Tahlequah campus.

The Oklahoma Hospital Education and Research Foundation Trust (OHERFT), an entity of the Oklahoma Hospital Association, was selected last year as one of 11 foundations nationwide to receive funding in the second year of Partners Investing in Nursing's Future, a national initiative to develop and test solutions to America's nursing shortage. The OHERFT project is one of the first initiatives of the Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Center. Strategic oversight and coordination of the grant is the responsibility of the Center, with strong support from its organizational partners, which include: the Oklahoma Hospital Association, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education, the OU College of Nursing and the Oklahoma Department of Commerce.

"These three scholarship recipients, who were each highly praised by those who sent recommendation letters, represent the future of nursing education in Oklahoma. They, among others in their field, hold the promise of having the most positive impact on health care in Oklahoma by educating tomorrow's nursing workforce," said Sheryl McLain, executive director, Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Center.

Led by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Northwest Health Foundation, the program encourages local foundations to act as catalysts in developing grassroots strategies to establish a stable, adequate nursing workforce. To help develop solutions and lead efforts within the region, the Oklahoma program was awarded a two-year grant of $250,000, combined with an additional $125,000 from local partners. Oklahoma partners that have contributed companion funds to the grant to date include: Valley View Regional Hospital, Ada; Tahlequah City Hospital; Choctaw Nation Health Services Authority, Talihina; Memorial Hospital of Stilwell and Atoka Memorial Hospital.

A health care industry report released in 2006 by the Oklahoma Governor's Council for Workforce & Economic Development cited the lack of nursing faculty as a critical factor in alleviating Oklahoma's current and impending nursing shortage. The master's in nursing education scholarship program is one of three components of the grant funding. Nurse educators are selected from technology centers, as well as two and four-year nursing programs in and around the areas of Talihina, Tahlequah and Ada.

Other components of the PIN grant project in Oklahoma include using advanced technology of the Internet and Oklahoma's OneNet fiber optic system to convert a series of health care management and leadership courses to a Web-based platform, expected to be completed by spring 2009, and to provide the courses via distance learning classrooms. Developed by faculty from the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing, portions of this training will be delivered via the Internet, which will allow nurses from Oklahoma healthcare facilities to access the courses at their convenience. Providing three distance learning classrooms in Talihina, Tahlequah and Ada will enable 60 nurses in fall 2008 from hospitals, long term care, home health, public health, and other settings to receive this training in their area, reducing the expenses and time needed to travel to Oklahoma City for the training.

According to Brian Woodliff, chief executive officer, Tahlequah City Hospital, "Delivering these programs using online and distance learning technology will increase the number of nurses and nurse educators able to participate in both programs while they balance work and family commitments. This will inevitably result in the production of more nurses needed to provide essential patient care in our community and will reduce employee turnover, while increasing satisfaction and retention rates. Tahlequah City Hospital is pleased to be a funding partner for this grant.

Partners Investing in Nursing's Future is now in its second year of a five-year, $10 million initiative. During the program's first year beginning in the fall of 2006, the 10 initial foundation partners established more than 140 partnerships between nursing organizations and local foundations to address the nursing shortage.

For more information about the Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Center, visit www.ohcwc.com. Information about Partners Investing in Nursing's Future is available at www.PartnersInNursing.org.

The Oklahoma Health Care Workforce Center was established in 2006 by Oklahoma legislation to serve as the coordinating entity for the state's efforts to meet supply and demand needs for Oklahoma's health care workforce. Goals of the Center include: ensuring Oklahoma's current education and training systems have the resources and support necessary to produce the number of health care workers needed; increasing the job satisfaction and retention rates of current health care workers; and increasing the level of awareness among young people and adults of the opportunities available in health care.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropic organization devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 30 years the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. See www.rwjf.org.

Northwest Health Foundation is an independent, charitable foundation committed to advancing, supporting, and promoting the health of the people of Oregon and southwest Washington. It focuses on issues of health and health care, seeking concrete solutions to today's health problems while advocating to prevent tomorrow's. As part of its commitment to cultivate a stable, skilled nursing workforce, Northwest Health Foundation invests in collaborative and sustainable solutions to address the nursing shortage, including the development of advocacy and leadership within the nursing community. See www.nwhf.org
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Title Annotation:ONA News
Publication:Oklahoma Nurse
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 1, 2008
Words:1076
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