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Nurse Practitioner Programs in Oklahoma

Nurse practitioners have a scope of practice well beyond that of registered nurses. They can provide comprehensive management of healthcare conditions. They can diagnose. They can obtain prescriptive authority for medication and devices.

Work duties vary by setting. Some work as part of patient care teams in acute care settings. Some are part of the provider team at large physician practices or clinics. Some serve as primary care providers.

Nurse practitioners have different areas of specialization. NP standards are set by national organizations and take into account differences in training. Scope can be as broad as family practice. A family nurse practitioner will treat individuals of all ages but will refer patients who have more complex care needs.

Top Nurse Practitioner Programs in Oklahoma

#1: The University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center DNP program is nationally ranked by US News and World Report; it comes in at #83. A nurse can earn family nurse practitioner credentialing with a master’s, though: 47 post-BSN credit hours.

#2: Oklahoma City University offers ACEN-accredited family nurse practitioner and adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner programs, delivered largely in a traditional academic setting. As the student nears DNP completion, the format moves to hybrid: a combination of online learning and once a semester on-campus intensives.

Education, Training, and Supervision

Nurse practitioner education is designed to build upon RN education. It provides greater depth and breadth and prepares nurses to implement interventions in more complex situations. A prospective nurse practitioner will complete an accredited nurse practitioner program at the graduate level. Advanced practice nursing programs are distinguished from other graduate programs in nursing in that they place a food deal of emphasis on direct patient care. The program will offer preparation for a particular population which may be any of the following: families/individuals across the lifespan, adult-gerontology, neonatal, pediatrics, women’s health/gender-related, or psychiatric/mental health;.

Whatever the specialty, the student can expect core coursework such as advanced physiology, pharmacotherapeutics, and health assessment. The nurse practitioner student will be expected to demonstrate competence utilizing research, promoting population health, and functioning within the modern complex healthcare system. The program will include at least 500 hours of preceptorship.

As per state code, a nurse practitioner who will later seek prescriptive authority will need 1) a course in pharmacological management and 2) sufficient clinical preparation for prescribing infused throughout the program. Generally, one can expect an accredited program to include pharmacological coursework.

There are three programmatic accreditation agencies referenced in application materials: the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing , and the Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation. Oklahoma has one ACEN-accredited program and one CCNE-accredited program. Students are not limited to in-state options. Some online schools that are located outside Oklahoma are able to enroll and preceptor Oklahoma students. Students who seek credentialing in some population foci, in fact, will need to look beyond Oklahoma’s borders.

Master’s and doctoral programs are both viable options. One in-state school has transitioned its nurse practitioner programs entirely to the doctoral level.

DNP projects include substantial scholarly projects. There are many possibilities. One recent project by a Pittsburg University student examined the feasibility of bringing a rural health clinic to a particular Oklahoma community (http://digitalcommons.pittstate.edu/dnp).

The nurse practitioner program will prepare the student to take national certification examinations in one or more areas. The Board has provided a list of accepted examinations. The current list is consistent with that of many states and reflects the Consensus Model, though Oklahoma individually reviews exams. Included are the following:

  • Family nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner
  • Adult-gerontology acute care
  • Pediatric primary care
  • Pediatric acute care
  • Women's health
  • Psychiatric mental health
  • Neonatal

A nurse practitioner may pursue additional specialty certifications that are not license—qualifying.

After graduation and state credentialing, the nurse practitioner will prescribe only under physician supervision (as described in state code).

(More Details: Nurse Practitioner requirements in Oklahoma)

Practicing in Oklahoma: Obstacles and Possibilities

Oklahoma has a serious shortage of primary care physicians, and many in the state want to make it easier for nurse practitioners to move into similar roles and offset shortage. Nationwide data suggests the scope of practice, or SOP, has a role in determining the percentage of nurse practitioners within a state who are in primary care and the likelihood of individual patients selecting NPs as primary care providers. There are different models for looking at SOP; the issue is multi-dimensional. The American Academy of Nurse Practitioners has Oklahoma classified as a restricted practice state.

Oklahoma nurse practitioners can do many things, including set up their own practices in areas where there is high need for providers. One obstacle to doing so: the fees that will likely be owed to a physician supervisor. Oklahoma also places limits on how many nurse practitioners a single supervisor can supervisor. This means that a rural healthcare facility may have a physician ready and available, but the facility may still be unable to bring more nurse practitioners on board.

One of Oklahoma’s lawmakers received a 2018 state award from the Academy of Nurse Practitioners, a recognition of his advocacy on the behalf of Oklahoman nurse practitioners – and underserved Oklahomans (https://campaignforaction.org/campaign-allies-among-aanp-excellence-award-winners/).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an average income of $95,590 for Oklahoma nurse practitioners in 2017 this is based on 52 40-hour work weeks at $45.96 an hour.

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