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Health news and issues in the Ozarks.

CoxHealth Partners with OTC Table Rock Campus to Expand Nursing Program

OTC Table Rock Campus
Kristina Bridges-Templeton

A new partnership will benefit students in the Hollister area wishing to go into healthcare as well as area healthcare providers.  KSMU's Bart Anders has more.

Incoming OTC students attending the Table Rock Campus will have a new program to choose from in the fall of 2017. OTC partnered with CoxHealth to establish an Associate of Science in Nursing (ASN) program at the Hollister, Missouri college.

“Locally and regionally we are facing a nursing shortage, but it is not just specific to this region or this state, it’s national,” said Karen Kramer, Chief Nursing Officer for CoxHealth.

The new program will be similar to the one at the Springfield campus except instead of graduating approximately 50 students, the Table Rock Campus will have a capacity of 24. Previously, the only nursing program that was offered at the campus was for licensed practical nurses (LPN).

Now, students will be able to take the NCLEX-RN Exam upon receiving their ASN to become a registered nurse.

“Places that originally didn’t have nurses working for them, like insurance companies, are now hiring nurses. There are also nurses in case management roles,” Kramer said. “So, the demand for nurses is increasing.”

The ASN program at the Springfield campus has two completion options: the traditional and hybrid track. The traditional track consists of seated and daytime hour classes. The hybrid track is usually delivered in an online format but requires some face-to-face laboratory and clinical time at the facilities.

The Table Rock Campus will only offer the traditional track as part of their ASN program.

As part of the expansion, the school also added offices for nursing faculty and additional science labs.

Kramer said that CoxHealth also offers opportunities for clinical rotations in the hospital for students, as well as internships. The goal is to motivate locally trained and educated nurses to stay in the area and help fill nursing vacancies.

“When nurses and physicians train in an area, they are more likely to stay and work in that area once they graduate,” she said.

In a press release, Laura French, Coordinator of Public Information for OTC, said college and hospital administrators think the new program will help alleviate the critical shortage of qualified nurses in the healthcare industry.