Marian University Launches Accelerated Nursing Progam in OKC

16-Month Program Seeks to Combat Nursing Shortage

Tuesday, April 27, 2021 4:35 pm

by Deb Downard

KOCO, ABC Affiliate

 Press Release:


      Deb Downard

         Sr. Director, Community and Corporate Relations

                                                                                                                                 Marian University ABSN Program

                                                                             317.202.1772 |




Rigorous curriculum, hands-on simulations arm frontline heroes for good-paying, rewarding careers


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Aiming to build a pipeline of highly trained nurses, Marian University has launched an accelerated Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at its campus in Oklahoma City to put these frontline heroes into good-paying, rewarding careers in as little as 16 months.

Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing and rooted in Franciscan values, the ABSN program combines rigorous coursework with hands-on skills training in interactive simulation labs, and clinical rotations at some of the region’s top health care facilities in Oklahoma City.

“Here, students can make safe decisions before delivering real-world, patient-centered care as part of their clinical rotations at local hospitals,” said Dr. Michelle Pivacek Garrison, assistant site director of the university’s Oklahoma City program.

What makes the program distinct is its faith-based approach in training students to care for the mind, body and soul, Garrison said. And classes are small, with a low student-to-faculty ratio.

 Marian University has a proven track record in accelerated nursing education, with similar programs in Indianapolis and Nashville.

The shortage of nurses is acute, nationally and locally. In its Employment Projections 2019-2029, the Bureau of Labor Statistics listed registered nursing among the top occupations for job growth through 2029. In addition, BLS projects 175,900 openings for RNs nationwide each year through 2029, considering nurse retirements and exits from the field.

Oklahoma is facing a similar shortage, according to a report by the Governor's Council for Workforce and Economic Development, which revealed the ratio of registered nurses per population in the state was 700 RNs per 100,000 people – well below the national average of 1,150 per 100,000.

“Not only are we serving an aging population, but many nurses are leaving the field altogether,” Garrison said. “These issues are exacerbated by a global pandemic and university nursing education programs that are at capacity and unable to accept new students,” she added.

Nursing offers a promising career, with a starting salary ranging from $59,540 to $113,240, according to the BLS’s latest Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) report. The data lists the average RN salary in Oklahoma as $64,800.

In addition to the salary, “there is an opportunity to contribute to the greater good of our community,” Garrison said.

Marian University’s program in Oklahoma City has three start dates per year in January, May and August. Qualified students must have a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.

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About Marian University

Founded in 1936, Marian University is a nonprofit, faith-based learning institution that provides students, no matter their fields of study, with a quality education framed within the context of Franciscan values.

The university welcomes students of all faiths who seek a quality, student-centered educational experience grounded in dignity of the individual; peace and justice; reconciliation; and responsible stewardship. Through these Franciscan values, the university carries out its vision of providing each student with an education that profoundly transforms lives, society, and the world.

Since opening in 1977, the university’s Leighton School of Nursing has a history of excellence in nursing education, thanks to our expert faculty, faith-based values, and clinical partnerships. Health care employers place a high value on Marian University graduates’ expertise and dedication to the nursing workforce.