With more than 20 years experience in the health care field— 17 years as a nurse and nine years as a nursing instructor— Jodi Campbell knows the importance of educating and preparing the future health care workforce.
It seems executives at First National Bank & Trust and Citizens Security Bank in Okmulgee understand that importance as well, which is why the banks created an endowed professorship for OSU Institute of Technology.
Campbell, who has been a nursing instructor at OSUIT for the last four years, was recently chosen as the recipient of the endowed professorship.
“It demonstrates the bank’s commitment to the university and the university’s commitment to the nursing program,” she said. “I’m very humbled to be recognized by my peers and the university with this distinction. I’m very proud to represent the program and the community.”
OSUIT President Bill R. Path said he was thrilled when he learned the banks wanted to support the university by creating an endowed teaching position.
“It shows just how important OSUIT’s mission of training and educating the future workforce is to the community of Okmulgee and that we really are partners working together toward that mission,” Path said.
Campbell was the director of a licensed practical nursing program in Tulsa before coming to OSUIT.
“I was ready for a change but still wanted to be in the nursing education field. I was attracted to the OSUIT campus and the program. It offered a lot of room for growth,” she said, and the new Allied Health Science Center had just been completed. “We have a state-of-the-art simulation lab. It’s wonderful to teach in a program that the university supports; they’ve really made an investment in the nursing program.”
And the size was just right, said Campbell, who has always preferred working in smaller nursing programs.
“I like the personal relationships you get at a small university. Wherever I’ve worked I’ve tried to develop those personal relationships with my students,” she said, and because OSUIT has smaller class sizes, instructors and staff can really get to know the students. “We know their families, their back stories. It becomes like a family.”
The endowed professorship will help that tradition continue at the nursing program in Okmulgee, a rural community where nurses and health professionals are always in high demand, Campbell said.
Path said leaders at the bank were always proponents of the School of Nursing & Health Sciences receiving the endowed professorship because of the benefits it would bring to both OSUIT and the community.
“Nursing is one of those industries that is always in need of highly-skilled professionals, especially in towns like Okmulgee that provide health care to not only its citizens, but the surrounding rural communities as well,” he said.
Rural health care is one of the areas with the greatest need, Campbell said, and hopefully students who pursue their degree at OSUIT will recognize that need and seek out a career in Okmulgee or a similar town.
“There’s always a need for nurses. With an Associate in Applied Science in Nursing, our students go right to work,” she said. “We give them a good first step to either go right into their nursing career or go on and finish their bachelor’s degree.”