Online RN to MSN Programs in Oklahoma
At least one Oklahoma university is happy to offer an online RN to MSN program. We’ve given it full coverage in our school listings, but here’s a quick summary of the main points:
- Oklahoma Baptist University: OBU’s 100% online RN to MSN is actually an RN to BSN to MSN—you have the option to exit with a bachelor’s in nursing once you’ve earned enough credits. Both the undergraduate & graduate portions of the program are online and both include practicums in your home community. OBU is a part of NC-SARA, so state authorization should be relatively straightforward. The section on Graduate Student Resources has more info.
If you live the Oklahoma City area and hold a non-nursing bachelor’s degree, you could also consider Oklahoma City University’s hybrid program. This is a combination of online coursework and in-person teaching; campus visits are kept to a minimum.
Cheapest RN to MSN Programs in Oklahoma
This ranking of the most affordable Oklahoma RN to MSN programs is based on per credit graduate tuition rates. But it’s a bit misleading! OBU’s online program is for associate degree holders, so it’s much longer than OCU’s hybrid program for RNs with a non-nursing bachelor’s degree.
The final cost will depend on a variety of factors, including the total number of credits, additional fees, the ability to transfer undergraduate credits, and undergraduate tuition rates for BSN coursework.
Oklahoma’s Healthcare Landscape
Oklahoma could do with your help! According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), the state has alarmingly high death rates from diabetes, cancer, heart disease, chronic lower respiratory disease, cirrhosis, and firearm violence. Obesity rates for both youth and adults can be some of the worst in the nation. And mental distress has been on the rise. Preventable conditions are hammering the population.
- Part of the problem is the state’s healthcare system—a system that often sits at the bottom of the Commonwealth Fund’s Scorecard on State Health System Performance. In Oklahoma, the rate of uninsured residents can be very high and many children go without medical & dental preventive care visits.
- In recent years, the state has been experiencing a doctor shortage. Because of the lack of primary care providers, one state medical leader called Okahoma a “desert for physicians.”
- Rural residents face a host of challenges surrounding healthcare access. In the 2018 U.S. Rural Health Report Card, Oklahoma received an overall grade of F, with the same grade given for all-cause mortality, mental health, physical health, primary care access, and the uninsured rate.
But public health issues are ubiquitous across the state. In the BCBS Health Index Map, Oklahoma is usually a big mass of red (i.e. less healthy than the U.S. average), a finding that’s reinforced by an examination of County Health Rankings. Counties on the border with Arkansas and the cluster of areas around Caddo and Kiowa have it particularly tough.
Oklahoma Nursing Challenges & Opportunities
Nurses are pushing for more ways to assist. Although Oklahoma nurse practitioners are recognized as primary care providers, there are limitations on their prescribing abilities (see the Board of Nursing’s section on the Nursing Practice Act).
As of 2019, Oklahoma NPs needed to have a collaborative agreement with a supervising physician in order to prescribe drugs and medical supplies. In addition, physicians are only allowed to supervise two full-time advanced practice nurses at a time.
This rule has hampered the ability of NPs in underserved areas to treat patients—there aren’t enough physicians to go around for supervision. In independent clinics, Oklahoma NPs are paying thousands of dollars every month for clinical oversight.
In 2019, the Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners (AONP) asked the state to amend the law and allow NPs with 7+ years of experience to prescribe medication without a collaborative agreement. For the latest developments, see the AONP’s Legislative section.
Jobs for Oklahoma RN to MSN Graduates
Career Outlook for RN to MSN Graduates
You can get a bird’s-eye-view of the job territory in Oklahoma by visiting the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS)’s pages on Nurse Practitioners and Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary. The employment & wage maps are a great way to compare regions & states.
- Oklahoma City: As you might expect, Oklahoma City is the primary hotspot for experienced nurses—around 43% of Oklahoma NPs and 33% of its nursing instructors work in this area, buoyed by institutions such as the OU Medical Center, the Integris Baptist Medical Center, and all of the city’s universities. Another big player is Mercy Hospital, which began construction of a new hospital on the south side of the city in 2019.
- Tulsa: Tulsa can’t compete with these numbers, but it’s still the second largest market for nurse practitioners (~24%). The best hospital there may be St. John Medical Center—it can usually be found in U.S. News & World Report’s rankings of the Best Hospitals in Oklahoma and the ANCC’s list of Magnet Facilities in Oklahoma. But the bulk of pediatric work will be at the Children’s Hospital at St. Francis, which is a St. Jude affiliate. Because of the doctor & nursing shortage, you may find many city hospitals are short-handed.
Interested in helping to fill the rural gap? The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH)’s Center for Health Innovation and Effectiveness has maps of Oklahoma HPSAs, MUAs, and FQHCs, as well as a list of rural hospitals and rural health clinics. You may even wish to network with future employers by attending the annual Oklahoma Rural Health Conference or contacting OSU’s Center for Rural Health.
Career Resources for Future APRNs
Oklahoma Nursing Job Boards
- ONA Career Center: Job listings for Oklahoma nurses, including NPs, nurse leaders, and nurse educators
- AONP Career Center: Job listings for Oklahoma NPs
- OKHospitalJobs: Openings for healthcare professionals in Oklahoma hospitals
Oklahoma APRN Salary & Wage Data
- Annual Mean Wages for Oklahoma Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations: Categories can include “Nurse Practitioners,” “Nurse Midwives,” and “Nurse Anesthetists”
- Annual Mean Wages for Oklahoma Nursing Instructors & Teachers, Postsecondary
- AANP National Compensation Survey: Available to AANP members
Oklahoma Nursing Organizations
State Board of Nursing
Oklahoma Nursing Associations & Coalitions
- National Black Nurses Association (NBNA): Oklahoma Chapters
- Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners (AONP)
- Oklahoma Hospital Association (OHA)
- Oklahoma Nurses Association (ONA)
Oklahoma Nursing Specialty Organizations
- American Psychiatric Nurses Association – Oklahoma Chapter (APNA Oklahoma)
- Association of Women’s Health, Obstetrics and Neonatal Nurses – Oklahoma (AWHONN Oklahoma)
- Oklahoma Association of Nurse Anesthetists (OANA)
- Oklahoma Emergency Nurses Association (OKENA)
- Oklahoma League for Nursing (OLN)
- Oklahoma Nursing Students Association (ONSA)
- Oklahoma Organization of Nurse Executives (OONE)
- Oklahoma Society of PeriAnesthesia Nurses (OSPAN)
- School Nurse Organization of Oklahoma (SNOO)
Nursing School Overview
OCU is a private university in Oklahoma City that's affiliated with the United Methodist Church. The Kramer School of Nursing can usually be found in the top 200 of U.S. News & World Report's rankings for Best Nursing Schools and faculty are experienced. If you're interested in working on a particular area for your master's project, you may wish to check out their research interests. MSN scholarships are rare in the world of nursing, but OCU does offer some. We came across a few independent reviews of OCU's graduate nursing programs on the web. Overall, alumni say the curriculum is challenging, faculty are personable & friendly, and class sizes are small. The hybrid format also provides a more traditional venue for asking questions and talking to mentors.
RN to MSN Admissions & Curriculum
Oklahoma RNs with a non-nursing bachelor's degree may wish to consider this hybrid RN-MSN pathway (no BSN is awarded). In addition to the baccalaureate, candidates should have a cumulative undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or higher, an RN license, and certain prerequisites. All applicants who meet the admission and eligibility requirements are accepted - the Kramer School of Nursing has no waiting list. Once admitted, you'll be expected to take 3 undergraduate-level nursing courses in your first semester to bring you up to speed for graduate work (e.g. community nursing). You can then work on the MSN. The concentrations in Nursing Education and CNL are 33 credits and can be completed in 18 months on a full-time schedule (2-3 courses per semester). The Nursing Leadership track is 36 credits and can take around 24 months. Part-time study is also available. All of the specialties incorporate relevant practicums into the coursework; Nursing Education and CNL also include a master's project. OCU uses a hybrid format for teaching, which means courses may meet face-to-face 3-5 times per semester. The rest of the coursework is online.