by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Outstanding educational opportunities have forged ahead during Dean and Professor Lois Salmeron’s three years of leadership at Kramer School of Nursing, Oklahoma City University. She was hired as the assistant dean in 2005 and soon became associate dean until the retirement of Dr. Marvel Williamson.
“I think the progress we’ve seen is that we’ve launched programs that we had planned,” Salmeron said.
Kramer already had a baccalaureate program going as well as the RN to BSN and master’s degree programs. The master’s degree was reworked to make it focus more on leadership opportunities in the arena of health care. The family nurse practitioner track (DNP) will be graduating its fourth class in May.
“That is going very well,” Salmeron said. “Of the three graduating classes to date, we’ve only had one student who didn’t pass the certification exam on the first try. That student has passed it now, so everybody has their credential.”
Kramer has also pursued and has approval from its national accrediting agency to launch the adult gerontological acute care nurse practitioner track (a BSN to DNP program). The students in these programs do not exit with a master’s degree, but as a DNP.
“This is what national organizations want and where health care is going,” Salmeron continued.
Kramer is in the process of admitting its first cohort of those students in the fall. Dr. Gina Crawford is leading the process. Kramer has also been approached by some health care agencies about the need to have a clinical nurse leader track.
“So we have that curriculum approved now by the national organizations to launch that in the fall,” Salmeron said. “So we are in the process of interviewing and admitting students into that track.”
She said Kramer’s Ph.D. program is going well with enrollment. International students are attracted to the program to effect productive health care improvements at home.
Another significant project began two years ago. Dr. Cindy Rauh, a Kramer School of Nursing graduate and the chief nursing officer at Duncan Regional Hospital, approached Salmeron about bringing its generic baccalaureate program to Duncan. Approval by necessary entities was granted, and a cohort with 15 students commenced studies last August at the Duncan Regional Hospital Education Center.
“We deliver that curriculum live through Synchronoss Polycom Technology,” Salmeron said.
Last summer, the classrooms on the third floor were installed with all of the equipment to deliver it live to their classroom. Salmeron has hired faculty in Duncan to facilitate the classroom and work with the Kramer faculty at OCU.
The second level of the cohort will begin in August of next year. A second classroom site is being equipped with polycom equipment.
“We need more than one room. So we have gone through the budget process and are going to equip another classroom downstairs,” she said. “That will be done probably the second week of May.”
Kramer is revamping the classroom technology upstairs to meet the standard of quality that Kramer expects.
“You only learn that by doing it and realizing the challenges that go along with it if you’ve never done this before. We found out quickly that we really needed to enhance that equipment up there,” Salmeron said. “It will be done this summer, so we will have two efficient classrooms to deliver this curriculum.”
Dr. Rauh wants to improve the percentage of baccalaureate nurses that she has in her hospital. Salmeron said the educational facility in Duncan is beautiful. It was built for the purpose of having nursing programs on that campus to educate nurses.
“When we were working on this her percentage of baccalaureate prepared staff nurses she had at that time was 44 percent and she wants to meet 80 percent by 2020.”
Rauh has been the chief nurse at Duncan Regional Hospital for nearly 24 years. As a Kramer DNP graduate, Rauh has remained loyal to OCU.
“She likes the way we deliver our curriculum,” Salmeron said.
The faculty for the RN to BSN program in Duncan travel to the site. The RN to BSN program at Kramer School of Nursing is one of the most innovative programs that exists for diploma nurses, Salmeron said. It is a nine-month 30-credit hour program giving credit for RN license and credit for certifications.
“It’s an adult learning environment way of being able to achieve your BSN,” Salmeron said. “And most students have to go through a lot of other general education and it takes at least two years. That’s not the way our program works.”