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East Central University's Department of Nursing will offer its generic (pre-licensure) nursing program in Ardmore beginning with the spring semester next January. Applications for the Ardmore program must be submitted by Oct. 15.

"We are thrilled to be able to offer this program to the Ardmore area," said Dr. Joseph T. Catalano, chair of ECU's Department of Nursing. "We have been teaching our RN to BSN completion program in Ardmore for 20 some years, and have noted the need for the basic program for a long time."

The generic program in Ardmore will be identical to the program ECU offers at Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant. Nursing classes will be presented through OneNet, the state's interactive TV system, as well as in-person presentations by faculty traveling from Ada to Ardmore.

"The Ardmore program will be phased in over a three-year period," Catalano said. "We will admit 16 students for the January 2008 class and then admit 24 students starting in January of 2009 and each year thereafter."

Students interested in applying for the program should contact Dr. Peggy Hart, the Ardmore coordinator, for advisement and an application. Her office is at the Ardmore Higher Education Center.

Catalano said recent data collected by the Oklahoma Hospital Association shows that the need for baccalaureate registered nurses (with bachelor's degrees) will increase sharply in the next few years. For 2007, the projected nursing shortage for Oklahoma is estimated to be approximately 1,200. By 2012, it is projected to be over 3,500. Recent national estimates for the number of new RNs needed by 2012 range between 800,000 to 1 million, he said.

The requirements for admission to the Ardmore nursing program are the same as they are for the Ada and Durant campuses. Students must have a minimum college GPA of 2.5 and have completed 24 credit hours of support or pre-requisite courses at the time they apply. An anatomy course must be completed by this December.

"If you look at a map of Oklahoma and locate the baccalaureate nursing programs, you’ll see that the ECU is the only one in the southeastern quadrant of the state between I-40 south and I-35 east," Catalano said. "We take very seriously our mission of providing high quality baccalaureate-educated nurses to residents of rural southeastern Oklahoma."

For more information, contact Dr. Peggy Hart at the AHEC, 611 Veterans Blvd., at 580-223-1441, Ext. 2446, or e-mail at

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