The feeling of uneasiness regarding job security that many have experienced due to the current economic situation has only been compounded by area employment layoffs.  Vickie Fields, coordinator for the Fast Track Program at Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College, said she takes every opportunity to encourage prospective students to make themselves more marketable.  Now is the time to advance one’s education, she said. “For LPN’s who have been laid off, their situation could be viewed as an opportunity they need to take advantage of,” said Fields.  “I would encourage those individuals to return back to school to advance their career.   There are more opportunities for jobs and advancements for RNs than for LPNs.  This means more job security. NEO’s Fast Track Registered Nurse Program allows Licensed Practical Nurses or paramedics to complete the coursework to become an RN in one calendar year once prerequisites are completed.  LPNs and paramedics who enroll full-time can complete the entire program in two years instead of the typical three years, Fields said. Much of the class work will be done on-line.  Fields said the Fast Track Program combines the convenience of on-line learning and the importance of hands-on training in a format that is conducive to the non-traditional student.

Financial aid is available to assist with the cost of tuition.Students not living in Oklahoma may apply for the out-of-state tuition waiver.

NEO has partnered with area health-care facilities to offer clinicals for the program.    Integris Grove General Hospital in Grove, Freeman Health System in Joplin, Mo., Integris Baptist Regional Health Center in Miami, St. John’s Regional Medical Center in Joplin and the Oklahoma Forensic Center in Vinita offer the clinical sites. Fields said that while the program requires dedication and discipline, its rewards are well worth the commitment.

“I tell my students that this one year of work will reap tremendous benefits when they are an RN,” Fields said.

Inquires about the Fast Track Program can be addressed by calling Fields at (918) 787-5475 or by e-mailing vfields@neo.edu.