Oklahoma Masons donate $200,000 in scholarships for CareerTech, OU nurse refresher course

Nurses who want to return to work through Oklahoma’s nurse refresher course can now get assistance, thanks to a donation from the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma.

The foundation has donated $200,000, which translates into 100 scholarships of $2,000 each — the cost of the revised nurse refresher program. Applications for the scholarships will open Feb. 10.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to do something we all desperately need,” said John Logan, MCFO executive director. “We thought it sounded like a wonderful program.”

“We are very thankful and grateful for the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma’s donation,” said Marcie Mack, Oklahoma CareerTech state director. “The $200,000 donation will make a great difference in the lives of nurses wanting to return to work and in the lives of the patients they will be caring for.”

The statewide nurse refresher course is part of a partnership between the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing and the Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education. Ten Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers offer the course for nurses who do not have an active license but want to return to practice.

The program includes a self-paced, online nursing theoretical course, a nursing skills lab provided by Oklahoma CareerTech technology centers and a clinical experience that will show students’ clinical competency. The revisions have lowered the number of hours required for students who achieve baseline competency. The fees have also been lowered, from $2,599 to $2,000.

“We are specifically doing this in response to the COVID surge and the need for more nurses to be used at the bedside and for replacing nurses who have moved to hospitals from clinics and other nursing positions,” said Lara Morris, Oklahoma CareerTech health careers education state program manager.

Logan said he read about the effort to get more nurses back into the field in the Oklahoma CareerTech Director’s Memo, a newsletter that goes out once a week. He was afraid, however, that even the reduced cost might prevent some nurses from taking the course and returning to work.

He took the issue to the Masonic Charity Foundation of Oklahoma, the charitable arm of the Masonic Fraternity of Oklahoma, and the foundation decided to make the donation. Part of the appeal was that the technology centers participating in the program are spread out across Oklahoma.

“We’ve got lodges from the Panhandle to Broken Bow. Members like to know that when we’re giving charitable assistance to organizations in the state that we’re not leaving out their areas of the state,” Logan explained. “We try really hard to look for opportunities to do things that benefit communities all over the state.”

Technology centers offering the course are Autry Tech, Canadian Valley Tech, Green Country Tech, Kiamichi Tech, Meridian Tech, Metro Tech, Moore Norman Tech, Pontotoc Tech, Southern Tech and Tulsa Tech. Scholarship applications will be taken at the participating technology centers beginning Feb. 10.

More information about the nurse refresher course can be found on the Oklahoma CareerTech website. Information about reinstating an RN or LPN license can be found on the Oklahoma Board of Nursing website.

The Oklahoma Department of Career and Technology Education provides leadership and resources and assures standards of excellence for a comprehensive statewide system of career and technology education. The system offers programs and services in 29 technology center districts operating on 58 campuses, 399 PK-12 school districts, 13 Skills Centers campuses that include three juvenile facilities and 32 adult basic education service providers.

The agency is governed by the State Board of Career and Technology Education and works closely with the State Department of Education and the State Regents for Higher Education to provide a seamless educational system for all Oklahomans.

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