by Van Mitchell, Staff Writer
Gina Crawford DNP, APRN-CNP, FNP, CNE, Dean, Kramer School of Nursing, Interim Dean, College of Health Professions at Oklahoma City University was honored as the 2023 recipient of the State Award for Excellence from the American Association of Nurse Practitioners® (AANP).
Crawford was named this year’s Oklahoma honoree for her work to increase patient access to high-quality care.
Each year, nurse practitioners across the nation are nominated by their colleagues to receive the prestigious award. One nurse practitioner from each state, district or territory is chosen and they all will be honored at the 2023 AANP National Conference in New Orleans in June.
The AANP State Award for Excellence was established in 1993. AANP is the largest professional association for NPs of all specialties, with more than 121,000 members and headquarters in Texas and Washington, D.C.
“I was surprised and honored,” Crawford said of her recognition. “I look forward to going to the AANP conference in June to accept my award.” (story continues below)
Crawford was named dean in October after serving as interim dean of the nursing school. Her professional career includes more than 30 years as a registered nurse, 17 years as a family nurse practitioner and 10 years at OCU as a full-time faculty member.
Her clinical interests are in rural health care, primary care and increasing access to health care in underserved areas. In addition to her responsibilities at the nursing school, she is a peer evaluator for the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing and an appointed member of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing Advanced Practice Advisory Committee. She is also a member of multiple nursing and nurse practitioner organizations.
Crawford said coming from a small town with limited healthcare access helped spur her desire to educate the next generation of Nurse Practitioners about the importance of serving communities both large and small.
“I am from Okarche, and when you come from a rural area, access to care is high on your awareness because there aren’t hospitals and clinics on every corner,” she said. “There had never been a Nurse Practitioner in that area when I began practicing there in 2005. There was a need to educate the community on what is a Nurse Practitioner and what do we do because of the lack of familiarity with that role. When I came into Higher Education, I wanted to teach future Nurse Practitioners how to be what I consider the best Nurse Practitioner they can be and go out and make a difference in Oklahoma or wherever they choose to practice.”
The Kramer School of Nursing at Oklahoma City University offers Advanced Practice, BSN-DNP Programs in the following specialties:
* Family Nurse Practitioner Program (66 credit hours)
* Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Track (67 credit hours)
* Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Track (68 credit hours)
All programs are Full Post BSN-DNP programs, with minimal residency requirements. The core nurse practitioner courses meet once a week on campus. Advanced Practice students can expect one class day per week, on campus. The BSN-DNP program is completed in 4 years. Completion for students with an MSN pursuing Advanced Practice education and DNP Completion may complete the program in 2-3 years. Doctoral level courses are taught in a hybrid format. Students come to the OCU campus for a required three-day intensive prior to beginning each Fall, Spring, and Summer semester. Doctoral coursework thereafter, each semester can be completed in an online format.
Crawford said the number of Nurse Practitioners has grown in Oklahoma, and across the country, but there is still a shortage of NPs, especially in the rural areas. “There is still a lack of providers in these communities,” she said. “The goal is to increase the availability of providers to provide patient care.”
Crawford said Nurse Practitioners in Oklahoma face hurdles to be able to fully serve patients to the full extent provided by their NP licensure.
“With current barriers to Nurse Practitioner practice in Oklahoma makes it more challenging for Nurse Practitioners to practice to the full extent of their license,” she said. “Currently in Oklahoma, Nurse Practitioners have to have a written agreement at the Board of Nursing that allows us to prescribe (medication). The written agreement is with the physician that agrees to be the supervisory physician for prescriptive authority.”
Crawford said the Oklahoma Legislature could help address that barrier this legislative session with Senate Bill 458.
“SB 458 is Transition to Practice legislation that would allow experienced advanced practice registered nurses to continue serving Oklahomans without the current and often expensive supervisory agreement for prescriptive authority,” she said. “The bill does not change anything about what we can do or prescribe; however, passage of this bill would reduce barriers to practice and improve access to care in Oklahoma. This bill after so many hours of practice you would be able to apply to no longer have that requirement for prescriptive authority.”