Wednesday, October 11, 2006
OU, Northern Michigan team up for nursing programBy Rebecca Wyatt, OU Web Writer
Oakland University’s School of Nursing has teamed up with Northern Michigan University on a jointly offered doctor of nursing practice degree to begin in fall 2007. The two schools will share a $950,000 grant from the State of Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth to support the development and enhancement of this program.
By 2010, it is anticipated there will be a shortage of 7,000 registered nurses in Michigan. The need for nurses around the state and country is on the rise, but many schools, like Oakland and Northern, do not have the faculty to teach the number of students who will be needed to fill the jobs. The State of Michigan ranks 49th out of 50 when it comes to doctorally prepared nurses needed to educate those interested in teaching the future generation of nurses. The partnership between Oakland and Northern will help maximize the state’s resources and address the nursing shortage.
“I think state policymakers see this as a great example of how universities can join together to be highly efficient in meeting a critical state and university need," said Jean Klemczak, Michigan’s chief nurse executive, who has met with NMU students, faculty and both OU and NMU administrators about the program. "I am delighted that the development of this program is under way."
Nurses with master’s degrees can complete the accelerated program in 16 months. Courses will be offered in 7-week intervals and will be innovative and flexible, incorporating technology for online classes and Web conferencing to create face-to-face interaction over a distance.
Faculty from Northern will be used to help develop the programs and teach courses, but the degree will come from Oakland University. Ten of the first cohort’s 20 spots are also reserved for students from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
“This was a great opportunity for two universities with strong nursing programs to come together to work as a team in a way that helps our students, communities, the state and both nursing programs,” said Linda Thompson Adams, dean of OU’s School of Nursing.
Students will be exposed to the urban and rural communities during their education and will be immersed in varying perspectives of nursing practice problems, issues and concerns because of the cultural differences. In addition, students in the program will be mentored by experienced faculty.
“With this program, we’re blending our faculty and our students so that those who are teaching and learning in an urban environment will be introduced to rural healthcare issues and vice versa," said Professor of Nursing Frances Jackson, who will serve as director of the program. "The students will then be the ones who will go on to teach our future undergraduate and graduate nursing students and they will be able to bring a better understanding of rural and urban nursing issues and needs to their classrooms. That’s exciting.”
Part of the funding for the OU-NMU program includes scholarships to cover tuition as well as student stipends.
“Paid tuition and a stipend are tremendous incentives to get currently employed nurses with an interest in teaching to consider earning a doctoral degree,” said Kerri Schuiling, NMU associate dean of nursing education. “Most nursing programs have a significant number of faculty members that are not far from retirement. We need to be educating our replacements now. The program is for nurses focused or having specialty certification in a practice area. It enables nurses with a focus in a practice area to attain the terminal degree for practice, which in turn, makes them attractive candidates to university programs. So being a nursing educator is not a requirement of the program.”
For more information on Oakland University’s nursing programs, visit the School of Nursing Web site or call (248) 370-4253.