Chase Haas, a senior soon to graduate from the ABSN program, talks about the new state-of-the-art simulation center at the OU College of Nursing. (photo provided)

by Van Mitchell – staff writer

Dr. Julie Fomenko, Executive Director of Experiential Learning for the OU College of Nursing, discusses the creation of a state-of-the-art simulation center. (photo provided)

National Nurses Week is May 6 – 12, and members of the media were recently toured the newly renovated second floor of the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing.
The second floor of the College of Nursing building in Oklahoma City underwent a transformative remodel, resulting in the creation of a state-of-the-art simulation center spanning 14,200 square feet. This expansion, in addition to simulation lab updates in Tulsa, Lawton and Duncan, aligns with the college’s dedication to providing students with hands-on, experiential learning opportunities, preparing them for the dynamic challenges of the health care industry.
Additionally, the university renovated a 25,000-square-foot space located in its Research Park on its Oklahoma City campus to accommodate students. This investment not only addresses the spatial needs arising from the expanding student body but also ensures a comprehensive and modern learning experience for all students.
“We are in the College of Nursing on the second floor in our brand-new skills lab,” said College of Nursing Dean Julie Anne Hoff, PhD, MPH, RN. “The renovation of these spaces has allowed us to provide state-of-the-art education to our students as we prepare the next generation of nurses. But having space like this has also allowed us to increase our capacity to prepare more nurses for the state of Oklahoma.”
In an ongoing effort to address the growing demand for registered nurses in the state, the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing at the University of Oklahoma now accepts all qualified applicants to the baccalaureate nursing (BSN) program for the third consecutive enrollment cycle.
Historically, the College of Nursing accepted approximately 20% of all qualified applicants; however, after working with university leaders and state legislators, the college began admitting all qualified applied applicants starting in Fall 2022, nearly doubling traditional enrollment numbers.
“The Fran and Earl Zigler College of Nursing is leading the way in addressing the evolving needs in health care, particularly in the field of nursing and workforce development,” Hoff said. “Yet, I want to emphasize that we have been able to successfully increase enrollment without compromising our standards. Our commitment to excellence and innovation is what drives us forward, empowering the next generation of health care professionals.”
Hoff said as a result of admitting more students between 2022 and 2024, the College of Nursing has increased the number of graduates (new nurses) by 52%.
“We have gone from 290 graduates to 440 graduates, and I’m so pleased to report that a majority of those graduates choose to get licensed in Oklahoma,” she said. “So, we are not only graduating the largest class in Oklahoma and we are keeping them here in Oklahoma for the people in Oklahoma.”
Chase Haas, a soon-to-graduate senior in the College of Nursing’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program, said his experience at the College of Nursing has prepared him well for his nursing future.
The Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) program is tailored for individuals who want to pursue a career in nursing and already have a bachelor’s or higher degree in a non-nursing major. The nursing curriculum is 60 credit hours of courses incorporating theoretical and clinical content and designed to be completed in 14 months of concentrated study. Graduates receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree and are eligible to apply to take the National Council Licensure Examination (the NCLEX-RN ®). Registered nurse license eligibility and requirements vary by state board of nursing.
“As an OU nursing student, I had the opportunity to do my clinicals with OU Health,” he said. “There I was able to get an inside look on a lot of different specialties within the hospital, which has prepared me as a future nurse.”
Gary Raskob, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Provost of OU Health Sciences, said the faculty and staff of the College of Nursing are to be commended for rising to the challenge and leading the way in preparing the next generation of nursing professionals at all levels to meet the critical workforce needs of Oklahoma.
“The impactful work of the college not only benefits our students but also has a far-reaching impact, contributing to the overall health and well-being of communities throughout Oklahoma,” he said.
Contact OU College of Nursing Student Affairs for more details at [email protected].