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Connors STate College

Saint Francis and Connors Partner to Address Nursing Shortage
Ensuring high-quality health care in the Muskogee area is the focus of a partnership between Saint Francis Health Systems and Connors State College.

In April 2017, existing hospitals and affiliated clinics in Muskogee became part of Saint Francis Health System. Early in the transition, Anthony Young, administrator of the newly named Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee, expressed an interest to Dr. Ron Ramming, Connors State College president, in a joint effort to expand the number of registered nurses in the Muskogee area and positively impact the state’s acute nursing shortage.

A $500,000 commitment was made over five years by Saint Francis, allowing Connors to hire additional nursing faculty, strengthen current faculty salaries and support student scholarships in the nursing program. The expansion of faculty will allow for additional students to be admitted into the nursing program, which in turn promises to lead to an increase in highly qualified graduates.

"We are very grateful that this grant will allow us to grow our program and provide highly trained nurses in eastern Oklahoma. This has been especially crucial with years of state-initiated budget cuts to higher education," said Ramming.

Saint Francis Health Systems, led by President and CEO Jake Henry Jr., has a long history of providing support to local and regional educational institutions.

"Education is the bedrock of our social and economic development and is, in my view, the most important endeavor that we as a community, as businesses and as individuals, can be engaged in," said Henry. "We are pleased to partner with Connors State College to support the growth and expansion of the nursing program. This gift, like our other contributions to regional nursing programs, will certainly not solve our state’s nursing shortage, but we see it as another step toward increasing the number of nursing graduates in our region."

Scholarship recipients will have a work requirement at Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee post-graduation.

"Connors State College nursing program plays a valuable role in training nurses to work in the Muskogee area. The work commitment to Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee is designed to keep nurses trained locally in the community," said Henry.

In addition to the grant, Saint Francis Muskogee also serves as a site for clinical training for Connors nursing students.

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