By EMILY RAMSEY
Tulsa Community College opened in Owasso in August 2013, offering programs tailor-made for the needs of the community and workforce.
The school offers three degree programs: Diagnostic Medical Sonography, Cardiovascular Technology and Nursing: /Paramedic to RN.
The /Paramedic to RN bridge program is a fast track program available to licensed practical nurses and paramedics who want to become registered nurses. The program is also offered at TCC’s Metro campus. It was added to the Owasso campus’ offerings in order to allow for higher enrollment due to the growing demand among students and in the workforce.
“There is a huge shortage for nurses in the U.S. partly due to the aging population and also due to there being more complex illnesses going on,” says Trish Goins, who was in the first class of students who graduated from the program in December 2014.
Goins, who is 43 years old, was a paramedic for close to 25 years before deciding to return to school to become a nurse.
“Being a paramedic is a young person’s job,” she says. “You are getting in and out of trucks all day and have really early mornings and late evenings.
“As a nurse, that’s a career I can stay with, and I know I will always have work because there’s so much need.”
After completing the three-semester program, Goins passed her state board exams in January and found a job by February as an emergency room nurse at Hillcrest South.
During her job search, Goins had 11 different interviews.
While the nursing bridge program has existed as a program offering for many years, Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Cardiovascular Technology only saw their original launch as programs recently: in August 2013 and August 2014, respectively.
“These two programs are totally new and were created in response to community needs for cardio technologists and diagnostic medical sonographers,” says Angela Sivadon, director of the Cardiovascular Technology program.
The Cardiovascular Technology program teaches students “how to assist physicians with invasive cardiac procedures,” says Sivadon, and “it is the only school in a 300-mile radius that offers this program.”
The Owasso campus features simulation labs that help students gain real-world skills before they begin clinicals at real hospitals.
The program is five semesters, including one summer of student clinicals at local hospitals. During their summer clinicals, students work 40 hours per week for 20 weeks at five area hospitals. Depending on the setting, students may observe or gain hands-on experience.
“Area hospitals are excited about this program,” she continues. “We are already being asked by them when our first class will graduate, which will be May 2016.”
For all three programs, students can only begin the program in the fall semester. Thus, students moving through the program remain with the same fellow students through the program’s completion.
Owasso also offers general education courses for any degree program. They do not have to pertain to the school’s three degree programs, says Sivadon.