By Felley Lawson
OBU News Bureau
ARKADELPHIA — Ouachita Baptist University’s Department of Nursing is among 41 recipients of a grant from the Blue & You Foundation for a Healthier Arkansas. Totaling $3,360,327, the grant will fund health initiatives in 71 of Arkansas’ 75 counties.
Ouachita’s nursing program received $131,000 from the Blue & You Foundation to purchase simulation equipment for its new state-of-the-art Nursing Education Center. The 6,600-square-foot simulation and teaching center will include a clinical skills lab, five simulated hospital patient rooms and a pharmacy. Use of high-fidelity simulation mannequins will replicate real-life scenarios, allowing nursing students to practice assessment, clinical and communication skills without risk of harm to patients.
The Nursing Education Center will supplement classroom and lab space in the adjacent 70,000 square foot Jones Science Center that also serves students in one of Ouachita’s three nursing degree tracks.
“We’re really pleased that the Blue & You Foundation affirmed our plans for Ouachita’s nursing program by providing this grant funding,” said Dr. Tim Knight, dean of the Patterson School of Natural Sciences at Ouachita. “This gift confirms the need for nursing graduates, as well as our plans to help meet that need by providing more highly-skilled nursing graduates in the region.”
In Fall 2018, Ouachita launched its nursing program with an RN-to-BSN dual enrollment completion program in partnership with Baptist Health College in Little Rock. The Department of Nursing has since added a fully-online RN-to-BSN degree program for students who already have a valid registered nurse license and has received prerequisite approval from the Arkansas State Board of Nursing to establish a 4-year, residential pre-licensure program offering a Bachelor of Science in Nursing beginning in Fall 2022.