Exciting new things are on the horizon for the Murray State College Nursing Program, and there is a new leader at the helm. Robin Coppedge has been named the Director of Nursing for the College.
The MSC Nursing Program is a nationally accredited registered nursing (RN) program, approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing. The program has been graduating critically needed RNs to work in the healthcare industry for over 40 years. Twenty of those years, the program was under the direction of Joni Jeter. Jeter retired at the end of the fall 2012 semester after 30 years in nursing education. Now Coppedge steps in to take over.
“Joni was an advocate for the profession and a driving force for the program. She helped to grow the MSC nursing program into a well-respected and highly sought after degree program. Her presence will be greatly missed,” says Murray State College President Joy McDaniel. “The program will only continue to thrive and move forward under Robin’s leadership. We are thrilled to have her as the new director.”
Coppedge received her Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Oklahoma Baptist University, and her Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Oklahoma. She began her RN career at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City. Coppedge worked in Obstetrics and Labor/Delivery at Mercy Memorial Health Center in Ardmore before taking a nursing faculty position at Murray State College.
“Murray State College provides such an essential service to our community and students who need a vital start to their secondary education. So many capable students are not ready for a 4 year university right out of high school and will flourish with the guidance that a Community College can provide,” says Coppedge. “I love working with faculty who share my enthusiasm of providing academic rigor necessary for student success.”
Coppedge has taught in the RN program at MSC for 24 years, starting out as the freshman instructor then moving to the sophomore year. In 2008, she accepted the newly created position of Career Mobility Nursing Instructor. Career Mobility is an online bridge program that helps licensed practical nurses (LPN) and paramedics to become RNs. Coppedge sees the program and one step on a pathway toward meeting the needs of nursing students.
“This program has been very successful,” says Coppedge. “I see future innovative programs that will meet the needs of students in the large area served by Murray State College. With the ever increasing advancement of technology, the potential for a variety of methods of instruction is vast.”
The college is planning ahead for such advancements. Expanding and renovating the Nursing/Allied Health building is one of the first projects on the slate in the Murray State College Master Plan. The construction plan allows the College to house the Nursing, Physical Therapist Assistant, Occupational Therapy Assistant and Child Development programs in one location. Currently, the programs are held in three separate buildings across the campus. Not only will the added space allow for expanded capacity in the programs, but having the programs under one roof facilitate the sharing of resources and expertise creating a more robust interdisciplinary curriculum.
“The College, under the forward thinking administration, has always been on the cutting edge of technology,” says Coppedge. “We want to continue to improve the quality of instruction of the students to insure the reputation of the program stays at its current high level.”
With the renovation of the administration building on campus complete, the groundbreaking for the Nursing/Allied Health construction project is expected to happen in the near future. Once began, construction is estimated to take eighteen months to two years to complete.
“By creating the College Master Plan, we are assuring that our resources are used in an efficient and practical manner. Expanding the Nursing/Allied Health building is a priority for us,” says McDaniel. “As baby boomers age, the need for healthcare professionals, like RNs, continues to grow. Our Applied Science degrees produce graduates ready for the workforce, and that is a big draw in today’s economy. You can have a new career in as little as two years in some cases. And right now, we don’t have the space to accommodate the number of people who want to attend.”
Coppedge and her husband, District Judge Wallace Coppedge (20th Judicial District), have four children, three of whom, Ashlee, Paige and Jack, have previously attended Murray State College. The youngest, Luke, currently attends MSC as a Wildlife Conservation major and a member of the Murray State College golf team.
“I wanted my children to attend MSC,” she says. “I knew they would receive exceptional academic preparation and would be educated by the finest faculty in the state of Oklahoma.”