The first cohort of Community-Based Public Health (CBPH) nursing students from Oklahoma City University begin classes on August 21, 2023. The specialization is the newest offering for Kramer School of Nursing online Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students and is designed to allow students to explore non-traditional nursing careers focused on improving the health and resiliency of their communities and beyond.
“We are the only school in the state that provides a nursing degree specialization in community-based public health,” explains Interim Nursing Dean, Gina Crawford, DNP, APRN-CNP, FNP, CNE, “There are master’s of public health degrees out there, but we chose to explore and create this specialization to support the educational needs specific to nurses who work in the community and in public health settings.”
Launched in the spring of 2023, the CBPH specialization will prepare nursing students to identify high-risk groups, and, in partnership with communities, consumers, and stakeholders, develop culturally sensitive, evidence-based, and population appropriate nursing interventions.
“Nursing provides the opportunity for diverse career opportunities–and health care needs a more diversified nursing workforce,” Crawford explains. “One of the priority goals of Healthy People 2030 is specifically related to addressing and improving the social determinants of health. Nurses who are educationally prepared to address the social determinants of health and health disparities in communities can make a major impact on health, well-being, and quality of life.”
Students completing the CBPH specialization could graduate and go on to work to further health equity and public health in research, policy analysis, epidemiology, global or environmental health, community health, school nursing, and more. “We obtained feedback and input from local nursing leaders and executives who work in the community and public health sector to create a curriculum that is uniquely designed to provide nurses with the knowledge to become leaders in the space,” says Crawford.
The CBPH curriculum includes courses on the foundations of community-based public health, health promotion and risk reduction, epidemiology and data management, health care ethics, law and policy, contemporary health care organizations and health care economics and financial management. In addition to their specialization courses, which make up the majority of the required credits (21 credit hours), MSN students complete 12 credit hours of courses covering master’s-level competencies, skills, and knowledge required in any specialized field of nursing study including a practicum and scholarly project.
The specific naming of the specialization, Community-Based Public Health, emphasizes the Kramer School of Nursing belief that the community plays a central role in public health and that interventions and programming are best performed when they are rooted in the values and interests of the community itself. While OCU’s online programs are available to nursing students across the nation, the Oklahoma-based faculty were key to developing a culturally competent program given their extensive experience working in health departments, Rural Health Centers and tribal clinics across the state.
All of Kramer’s online nursing courses are delivered via an intuitive and dynamic learning management system and students are never required to visit campus. This flexible format makes OCU’s nursing master’s an ideal choice for nurses who are interested in continuing their academic and professional journeys without taking time off from their careers or personal lives. The other specialization options available to online MSN students, Education and Leadership, continue to welcome students each term who prepare to take on roles guiding the next generation of nurses whether in the classroom, at the bedside, or in other health care settings.
If you’re interested in learning more about the Kramer School of Nursing’s online nursing programs, visit www.online.okcu.edu/nursing or schedule an appointment to speak with an admissions outreach advisor.