Features Summer 2021

Nursing Program Graduates Well Prepared for Their Futures

Dr. Robbie Henson, chair of the School of Nursing and Lawrence and Marion Harris Chair of Nursing, is a 1978 OBU alumna. She began teaching at OBU in 1991 as assistant professor of nursing and has led the nursing program since January 2020. She is pictured inside her office in the Jane E. and Nick K. Stavros Hall, home to the School of Nursing since its opening in 2016.

Why is the field of nursing so important?

There are few moments in history where the importance of individuals who provide physical care and monitoring has been more visible than it is today. Nurses are on the front lines of daily and hourly health care of patients. They have both the individual level view and the systems level view in facilitating care delivery.

Why should students choose OBU to prepare for a career in nursing?

The nursing program at OBU has a 69-year history. We have a phenomenal record of producing graduates who are successful on the licensing exam on the first attempt, who are sought after by local and regional agencies, and whose careers make a significant impact on the world for good. We also promise every student who starts with us as a freshman will have a seat in the School of Nursing as a junior as long as they meet our admission requirements. So, no one is placed on a waiting list to start their professional program.

What will students learn from an OBU nursing education that they won’t learn at other universities?

When people rave about our graduates and what excellent professionals they are, I can’t help but attribute a significant portion of that quality to the Christian liberal arts courses that created the foundation for our work in the School of Nursing. OBU has incredibly well-developed general education courses which weave the liberal arts and a Christian worldview into deep, rich ways of thinking. We have the blessing of building the professional attributes upon this base. That makes a huge difference.

When students graduate with a nursing degree from OBU, what positions/careers in nursing are they prepared for?

Graduates of the School of Nursing are prepared for any job requiring a Registered Nurse license. This might be in an emergency department, labor and delivery, critical care, public health, home health, and more. Graduates will also be prepared to start graduate school to study to be a nurse practitioner, midwife, nurse educator, or nurse anesthetist.

How is COVID-19 impacting our nursing graduates as well as current nursing students?

The demands of COVID-19 have been unprecedented. We were affected with the move to online learning in spring 2020 as was every other university. We discovered new ways to educate and train virtually which will be valuable in the future and which were used with our students over the past year. During COVID, we prepared successful graduates who met the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and the national accreditation standards and who immediately entered high demand practice positions.

How does the technology in Stavros Hall give our students an advantage in the workplace?

Our state-of-the-art mid- and high-fidelity simulation labs are outstanding. We have the ability to create opportunities in the lab for deep learning experiences that may not be available to students in clinical settings. In addition to the labs themselves, we have nationally certified faculty running the labs, one of which is an international research fellow in simulation science.

Henson Brings Bison Spirit and Decades of Experience as School of Nursing Chair

Dr. Robbie Henson is the chair of the School of Nursing, professor of nursing, and the Lawrence C. and Marion V. Harris Chair of Nursing. She earned a BSN at OBU and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas at Arlington. She then earned a Ph.D. in Nursing from the University of Colorado. 

She previously served at the University of Texas-Arlington and the Tarrant County Hospital District as an undergraduate faculty/clinical nurse specialist. She also worked as an adjunct graduate nursing faculty member at Southern Nazarene University. Since joining the faculty at OBU in 1991, she has served as professor of nursing, team leader for the CCNE Accreditation visit to the OBU School of Nursing, graduate program coordinator, associate dean for academic programming and interim dean before assuming her leadership of the School of Nursing in January 2020. 

She has received numerous honors and awards throughout her career, including Oklahoma Nurse Educator of the Year by the Oklahoma Nurses’ Association. She received OBU’s Distinguished Teaching Award in 2020 and Promising Teacher Award in 1996. She was also selected as the Senior Class Outstanding Faculty Member for the College of Nursing at UT-Arlington and was a Piper Professor Award Nominee for Excellence in Teaching, also at UT-Arlington. 

She has clinical experience in a wide range of specialties including adult medical-surgical, intensive care, home health, psychiatric-mental health and maternal-newborn nursing. She has received recognition from the National League of Nursing as a Certified Academic Nurse Educator.