Eastern nursing program continues success

ADRIAN O'HANLON III | Staff photoGina Bullock, director of nursing at Eastern Oklahoma State College, says

WILBURTON — Gina Bullock tells students their tests are a matter of life and death.

The Eastern Oklahoma State College director of nursing said the program has maintained success by instilling the importance of medical care among students preparing for clinical exams and careers as medical professionals.

“We’re taking a test to save someone’s life,” Bullock said.

Eastern’s Wilburton campus held the top ranking of nursing programs across the state each of the last two years and is ranked second this year and the EOSC McAlester campus received its first ranking this year at third, according to registerednurses.org.

Bullock said students have to learn critical thinking skills.

Eastern’s associate degree nursing program began in 1971 and added a transition program for LPNs in 1985, according to its website.

The program was first accredited by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing in 1971 and the National League for Nursing in 1974 with EOSC maintaining both OBN and ACEN accreditation since then.

Students who finish the program earn an associate’s degree in nursing and become eligible to take the National Council Licensure Exam (NCLEX-RN), which is the exam required to become a registered nurse.

Eastern’s nursing program has remained well above state and national averages for NCLEX-RN pass rates over the past three years.

The program held a 97% pass rate in 2016, above the state’s average of 83.78% and the national average of 84.56%. Eastern’s 92.6% pass rate in 2017 remained above the average pass rates for the state (86.27%) and the nation (87.12%). Last year, Eastern’s average pass rate was 91% to remain above that of the state (88.75%) and the nation (88.3%).

Bullock said she believes the program will rise in the rankings next year as the program has a 97.5% overall pass rate across three campuses.

She said the faculty is vital to the program’s success.

“The dedication that they have and the years of service that they’ve put in says something about what they do,” Bullock said.

Job placement percentages rose each of the last three years for Eastern nurses.

The program had a 92% job placement rate in 2016, followed by a rate of 93% in 2017 and 94% last year.

“They want Eastern graduates,” Bullock said.

Bullock has been a nurse for 36 years, grew up in Antlers and has family all over the immediate area.

She started at Eastern as an adjunct professor in 2003 and joined the full-time faculty two years later.

Bullock has directed the program for three years and said wants to help students become the most professional nurses.

“I want it to stay that way,” Bullock said. “I don’t want to see nursing not be that way.”

Contact Adrian O’Hanlon III at aohanlon@mcalesternews.com

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