The Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps Nurses Unit, housed within the Oklahoma Nurses Association has received a $15,000 Challenge Award grant from the National Association of City and County Health Officials (NACCHO). The purpose of the grant is to establish an externship for nursing students with the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps in multiple nursing programs across Oklahoma. A pilot program, launched in the summer of 2015 at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Nursing, serves as a model. This project entails expanding the externship to five nursing programs across Oklahoma for a 10 week period with approximately 8 - hours/week or approximately 100 hours. This externship program allows nursing students to develop and apply public health nursing skills focusing on emergency preparedness, response, recovery, and community resiliency.
Nursing student externs would meet weekly with nursing faculty who are trained OKMRC volunteers to work toward the following goals:
Externship broad goals:
- Explore the role of public health in emergency preparedness, response, and recovery
- Explore the role of disaster behavioral health in disaster response and recovery
- Discuss the National Health Security Strategy and Implementation Plan and describe the document’s relevance for nursing
- Describe potential impacts of volunteering as an OKMRC nursing student on future professional choices and development
The project strives to improve the education of the Oklahoma nursing workforce by developing
partnerships between the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps, nursing programs in Oklahoma, and
high school organizations such as Health Occupation Students of America. One of the benefits of this
hands-on, interprofessional educational project would be greater numbers of nursing students with expanded knowledge and skills in the area of public health and health security resulting in a local workforce ready to address the medical needs, mental health needs, and public health needs of a community. Other benefits of this project would be nursing students who are excited about the opportunities and objectives of working or volunteering in public health and high school students who are excited about continuing their education in a health profession.