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Sue Douglas, RN, MHA oversees quality for Carter Healthcare, Oklahoma City’s only five-star rated home care provider provider.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Back in school when the topic of leadership and organizational structure came up, Sue Douglas’ classmates started to glaze over.
But for the Moore High School grad those classes were the highlight of her day.
So it’s no surprise that six years later she’s head of quality improvement for one of the most streamlined and innovative health care companies in Oklahoma at Carter Healthcare.
Go online right now to and you’ll see Carter is the only five-star home health company in the entire metropolitan area.
That doesn’t happen by accident.
“I just knew in high school nursing was the route to go,” Douglas said of her role with the company. “It was a good recession-proof job and I also liked caring for people and the clinical aspect. I could handle the blood and the guts but I also just enjoyed the medical side along with the entrepreneurial aspect of it.”
Douglas is the Quality Assessment Performance Improvement Coordinator and an assistant director of nursing.
Carter Healthcare is Medicare certified and JCAHO accredited.
“I like that the technology changes and the business changes and there’s a lot of different avenues you can go with health care,” the University of Central Oklahoma nursing grad said. “That’s why I feel like my job title and what I do fits so perfectly for me,” Douglas said. “Coming here and being able to be in that quality role you’re able to really assess what we are doing, if it’s efficient and is it effective. It may be getting our end result but are we doing it fast enough.”
“There’s a two-fold for quality, you want to increase the quality for your patients but you also want to increase the quality for the people who are working for you.”
Douglas’ professional life revolves around numbers. But instead of looking forward to a certain date on the calendar for reports to come in, Douglas has real-time access to what’s going on throughout Carter’s seven-state area.
With a pharmacist as a boss, Douglas understands President Stan Carter comes from a very analytical background.
“He wants to know we’re making a difference and I feel like we’re able to show that with data,” Douglas said.
Douglas stepped into her current role a few years ago.
Just a couple weeks in she opened up Carter’s recent Joint Commission Survey to read her company was “data rich, information poor.”
“Since then I’ve been on a crusade to fix that,” Douglas said. “I feel like that truly is a statement that stands corrected.”
Douglas makes sure she and her team share that data at every possible turn.
“If there’s any issues we’re all available. And we also try to let everyone know we’re not back here creating more processes for them,” Douglas said. “I show them it’s more about finding a root cause in the office than it is trying to say ‘you’ve got a problem.’”
“They see the difference,” Douglas said. “I get feedback all the time that they walked into a meeting with 10 people and we were the only people there giving them data.”
Douglas has worked in oncology and home health before coming into her new role. It’s always been her goal to work in home health. She craved the autonomy and the case management aspects of the role.
Now she has a broad-view of one of fastest-emerging modalities of care.
“People are getting older and they want to stay in their homes,” Douglas said. “We go in and we want to prevent them from getting sicker and going into the hospital and we want to help them maintain their life and their health.”
Falls are a major concern in a variety of health care settings. Douglas is tracking those numbers throughout Carter in real time. She’s looking at how many of those falls send someone to the hospital.
“We try to tell them it’s not looking bad on you if you have falls with your patients. What we’re trying to figure out is why is that happening,” Douglas said. “Once we identify that they fell we can look at what types of meds were they on, what’s the primary diagnosis they were coming on service with and what environment they live in.
“We try to let them know reporting isn’t bad. It’s good because how else do we know if there’s an issue in that area. That’s going to increase satisfaction overall.”
And that’s one category everyone at Carter loves to track.


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Jessica Deaton knew from a young age she wanted to be a nurse, providing the care that made such a difference for her own mother.

by Traci Chapman, Staff Writer

Jessica Deaton was in high school when she learned the impact nurses could have on one person’s life. For Deaton that one person was her mother; it was a lesson the young woman would never forget.
“My mom had medical problems, and I was in my senior year at Moore High School when she had a stroke,” she said. “It was an experience that had such a big impact on my whole life since that time, and it showed me what I was truly interested in – and that was nursing.”
That interest led Deaton to University of Oklahoma, where she graduated with a bachelor of science in nursing degree in 2011.
After graduation, the young nurse joined the Interventional Unit at Oklahoma Heart Hospital. The five years she spent at the hospital was full of practical experience that could translate to anything she could encounter later, she said.
“It gave me a good knowledge base in critical care, there was a lot to learn, always,” Deaton said. “I felt that it was important work, it was interesting and I enjoyed the interaction with the patients, but I wanted to find something just different – I wanted a change.”
That came about thanks to her husband, Zach Deaton, a registered dietician now working at Variety Care. But, in 2011, Zach was doing his clinicals at Oklahoma City Indian Clinic, giving him a chance to practice his own passion of assessing patients’ nutritional needs and finding the right therapy to achieve them – it gave his wife just the opportunity she was looking for.
“It was just such a perfect thing for me – I was looking for a job where I could have more long-term patient contact, could do more for people in a leadership-type role,” Deaton said.
At OKCIC, that’s exactly what happened, she said. Deaton became a care manager, working with patients as a follow-up after hospitalization or emergency room visits. But, that was just the beginning – one reason why, from the start, she loved this job more than she even expected, Deaton said.
“There is such a big, big variety – I get to talk to so many patients, check their progress, help them with what they need as they move forward in the process and so much more,” Deaton said. “It’s just such a great feeling when you see that look on a patient’s face and you know you’ve helped them find something that will make them healthier and feel better.”
One way Deaton found to help those patients become healthier was through her work working in OKCIC’s colorectal screening program.
“It’s so important to educate each patient and to let them know these screenings could save their life,” she said. “There’s scheduling, there’s research – it’s just an area where there is a need to pass on this information that’s so critical.”
Deaton is not alone at OKCIC in that belief. The facility joined a 500-member-plus nationwide coalition that includes American Cancer Society, National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the “Eighty percent by 2018” initiative.
“What we’re trying to do is to get at least 80 percent of adults who are 50 years old or older scheduled for regular colorectal screenings,” Deaton said. “The problem is that colon and colorectal cancer usually has no symptoms in its early stages, so without screenings, it can be difficult to see successful treatment later.”
In fact, CDC officials estimated if the national “80 percent by 2018” effort was successful, it could translate into preventing 203,000 colorectal deaths by 2030.
While the results of Deaton’s one-on-one work with patients was obvious, her efforts behind the scenes also greatly helped many who rely on OKCIC for their medical treatment – without them even knowing it.
It was in December 2015, not all that long after Deaton joined the facility, that OKCIC CEO Robyn Sunday tasked members of her nursing leadership team to address a huge problem, the clinic’s new patient waiting lists. With about 1,200 new patients on that at that time waiting for appointments, two RN/BSNs – Deaton and Staci Deland – worked with Kelli Guinn, RN, MSN, to come up with a solution.
The trio rose to the task, creating a team of staff members who helped enter the 1,200 names into a database, calling and mailing patients, gathering historical medical records and coordinating appointments, until, less than a year later, the new system resulted in new patient wait times decreasing from six to 12 months to one or two days.
“That was an experience – it was a lot, a lot of work, but it also really showed what a great team all of us are, how well we work together and how much we can accomplish,” Deaton said. “We are a family, and I’m so happy to be a part of it.”


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April Matchen is an LPN in the stem cell treatment unit at Oklahoma Blood Institute. She has worked for OBI her entire career, and wouldn’t have it any other way, she says.


by Traci Chapman – staff writer/photographer

April Matchen has spent her career in one place, a place that’s grown as she expanded and developed her skills, a place she says she can’t ever see leaving.
That place is Oklahoma Blood Institute. She was 18 and just out of high school when Matchen’s mother told her about a job at OBI. Graduating in May, the young woman applied in December, hired quickly as a phlebotomist.
Although young, Matchen’s OBI supervisors recognized her drive and talent, and her way with individuals donating blood to help others. For 11 years, she not only drew blood, but eventually worked as both a center and mobile bloodmobile supervisor, also responsible for training OBI personnel.
Married to her high school sweetheart, John, in 1993, life intervened in Matchen’s career in 1999, with the birth of the couple’s first child. It was time to make a detour in her path, she said.
“We got custody of my niece and nephew; my sister died when she was 27,” Matchen said. “I had my first baby when I was 29 and left OBI at that time.”
She settled into her second “career,” as a stay-at-home mother. The couple welcomed their second daughter about a year and a half after their first, and Matchen set her work at OBI – for 13 years.
But, OBI wasn’t finished with her, and she wasn’t finished with it. The decision to return to her old employer wasn’t difficult, but Matchen did not want to go back and just take up where she left off.
“I decided to go back to school to become an LPN, just wanted to do more, wanted to learn more,” she said. “It was hard to leave OBI in the first place – I knew that I wanted to become a nurse and I knew where my heart was.”
That’s exactly what Matchen did, graduating in 2012 as a licensed practical nurse from Canadian Valley Technology Center in Chickasha. She returned to OBI, as she always believed she would, taking a position working with hematopoietic stem cells, or HPC.
That was five years ago, and her new OBI experiences have been even better – and much different – than those she had in her early career, she said.
Matchen’s four-member team works with cancer patients, extracting stem cells those individuals will later utilize as part of their own treatment. It’s not an easy job – many of the team’s patients are desperately ill, going through the pain, the fear and the emotional and family turmoil that comes with a cancer diagnosis. Some have no family support at all, experiencing something that, no matter the outcome, will change their lives.
But, along with the uncertainty of their ordeal is courage and hope. Although these patients have gone through – or will go through – chemotherapy or radiation, they come to OBI to generate stem cells that could save their lives. In the process, they find new family members who will be there during some of their darkest and most difficult days.
“The most important part for me is the interaction with the patients, a lot of them with no family and going through this alone,” Matchen said. “They come in with a lot of fear of the unknown – we work to make them comfortable, we let them know they’re not alone, that we’re here for them and working for their recovery.”
Patients’ personalities are as different as their family situations, ages and backgrounds, Matchen said. Some agonize over their situation, while others take a more pragmatic view, facing their condition with humor, others with remarkable composure.
“It’s amazing how different our patients can be,” she said. “We’ve had some who come in gruff and tough and leave just as a big old teddy bear.”
One aspect of her job is the greatest and, yet, sometimes the most painful part of it – the closeness Matchen, her fellow nurses and the rest of the stem cell team develop with their patients. While many of those patients come back to let them know how they are doing, some don’t.
“It’s difficult to say goodbye at the end of the treatment, and it’s awful when someone doesn’t make it,” she said. “But, sometimes we don’t know the outcome, and that’s hard too.”
No matter the challenges, the difficulties and the sadness that can go along with the treatment and care Matchen gives her patients, she said every day since she returned to OBI she’s been reminded why it was so important for her to return.
“OBI’s where my heart is – I love what I do, love touching lives, who I work with, the patients,” she said. “I really wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

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Group picture of the 2017 Nurse of the Year Winners.


Tina Smith from Saint Francis was announced as Lifetime Achievement winner, she was truly shocked.


The March of Dimes Oklahoma, in partnership with Title Sponsor, the LeNorman Family, honored 18 outstanding nurses at the 2017 Nurse of the Year Awards. Through Nurse of the Year Awards, the March of Dimes recognizes nurses who demonstrate exceptional patient care, compassion, and service and play a critical role in improving the health of Oklahoma’s residents.
The following individuals were honored at the ceremonies:
Christina Stuart, INTEGRIS Southwest Med Ctr.- ADVANCED PRACTICE
Gina Newby, St. John Broken Arrow- CHARGE NURSE
Annie Green, INTEGRIS Health Edmond- CRITICAL CARE
Heidi Gilbert, Stillwater Medical Ctr.- EDUCATION
Michelle Stilwell, INTEGRIS Southwest Med Ctr.- EMERGENCY
Denise Moss, Mercy Hospital, OKC- GENERAL MEDICAL/SURGICAL
Anataya Rucker, OK Health Care Authority- MANAGED CARE
Reagan Robertson, Hillcrest Medical Center- NEONATAL/PEDIATRIC
Debbie Pender, Mercy Hospital Ardmore- NURSING ADMINISTRATION
Christine McMurray, INTEGRIS, Canadian Valley- NURSING MANAGEMENT
Amy Terry, Oklahoma State Dept Health- PUBLIC HEALTH & AMBULATORY CARE
Robin Yoder, Norman Regional Health System- QUALITY & RISK MANAGEMENT
Stefanie Gonsalves, Mercy Hospital OKC- RISING STAR
Tammy Hogue, INTEGRIS, Canadian Valley- SURGICAL SERVICES
Kaci Brosh, INTEGRIS, Canadian Valley- WOMEN’S HEALTH
Tina Smith, Saint Francis Hospital -LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT
“It is a great privilege to be able to honor these outstanding individuals, said Karyl James, RN, BSN, MSN, Chief Nursing Officer, Mercy Hospital, Oklahoma City, and Chair of the 2017 event. “What makes this especially meaningful is that through this event, we are celebrating and recognizing these dedicated and compassionate nurses while helping the March of Dimes fight for a healthier future for our babies.” The honorees were selected by a committee, Chaired by Linda Merkey, BSN, RN, MBA, NEA-BC, of distinguished nurses honored for their achievement and leadership in their respective professions.
Tina Smith, a nurse and lactation consultant for 39 years received the prestigious March of Dimes Lifetime Achievement Award. During her nursing career, Tina has been a strong breastfeeding advocate and helped countless women breastfeed ensuring every child gets the optimal nutrition and immunity to start life.
The event was hosted by Chad Smith, M.D., Vice Present of Medical Affairs, Mercy Hospital, OKC. Funds raised by the Nurse of the Year Awards support research and other programs that help moms have full-term pregnancies and healthy babies. Funds are also used to bring support and resources to families whose babies are born sick or too soon.
Sponsors of this year’s event include: Title Sponsor, The LeNorman Family, Platinum Sponsor Mercy Hospital and Bronze Sponsors, AllianceHealth Deaconess, Chickasaw Nation, EZ Go, INTEGRIS Health System, Norman Regional Health System, Saint Francis Hospital and Stillwater Medical Center.
To learn how to get involved contact or information for the 2018 March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards contact, Lisa Liston at 405-415-1265 or


Small 16-bed specialized nursing (ICF/IID) is a long-term home for some wonderful residents that are looking for caring staff. FT Weekend LPN – Baylor Plan available to qualified applicants. FT CMA & ACMA openings for Sunday thru Thursday overnights-differential available. Must make application in person to 10 East 9th St. or 330 West Danforth, Edmond OK. Call Marissa at (405) 341-7132. $250 Hire on Bonus!!!

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Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Hal Scofield, M.D., said patients demanding antibiotics from health care providers has contributed to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance.

The world is running out of antibiotics.
In a new report from the World Health Organization, research showed that too few new antibiotics are being developed to counter the growing threat of infections that are resistant to currently available antibiotics.
“Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest and fastest-growing health crises facing our planet,” said Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation immunologist Hal Scofield, M.D. The CDC estimates that 23,000 Americans die each year from infections that don’t respond to standard treatment with antibiotics. And this number is only going up.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when a bacteria, fungi, or parasite is no longer curable by medicines previously able to treat them. For example, if you give a patient antibiotics and it kills 99.9 percent of the bugs that are causing the disease, the 0.01 percent that survive can become superbugs that are resistant to the medication.
“This happens routinely, and we know it’s going to continue until protocols are established in medicine to minimize it,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D., a physician and medical researcher. “Unfortunately there are a lot of forces working in the other direction.”
The primary cause for the surge in superbugs is excessive use of antibiotics. According to the CDC, healthcare providers write 47 million unneeded antibiotic prescriptions each year in the U.S. alone. “It’s routine for antibiotics to be prescribed for conditions that they can’t treat, things like sore throats, colds and other viral infections,” said Prescott.
Scofield emphasized that patients also bear some responsibility. “People often demand antibiotics from their healthcare providers in situations where they won’t help,” he said. “And for a variety of reasons—including the desire to please patients and to receive high customer-satisfaction ratings—the providers often reluctantly accept.”
Finding ways to administer antibiotics only when needed is important, said Prescott. But so is proper usage by patients once the drugs are prescribed. “This means never skipping doses or stopping treatment early, even if you feel better,” Prescott said.
He added that the use of antibiotics in animals like chickens, cattle and pigs may also be a culprit. “The drugs speed the animals’ growth and how much meat they have on them, but they are also very likely contributing in a significant way to the rapid rise of superbugs,” he said.
The new WHO report states that 51 antibiotics and 11 natural medical products are in development, but the fear is that it won’t be nearly enough, because many won’t make it all the way through trials to enter the market. The WHO also warns that many are only short-term solutions, as well, because most are just modifications of existing treatments.
“People in Oklahoma need to realize this isn’t a rare thing that only happens in third-world countries. It’s occurring all over,” Prescott said. “It’s a real problem and it’s not one that will be easily solved. There are big, wholesale structural changes that need to happen.”

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What’s one piece of advice you would give to new nursing grads? AllianceHealth Midwest

Always ask if you don’t know. Heather Carlson, RN

Be proactive in all situations. Lauren Hammer, RN

I would say do anything you can as soon as you can for a patient. Don’t wait to do your assessments. Ashley McMains, RN, BSN

Keep a notepad in your pocket. We’re all responsible for our own practice so take it upon yourself to research. Tesha Loven, RN


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I have noticed that in the past few weeks I have been avoiding social interactions, preferring to be alone at home. I am overwhelmed with all the hate that is going on in the world, I want to be informed but at the same time I avoid watching the news. I am struggling and need help. — Renee

I saw you on the news today
Like a shock that takes my breath away
You fall like rain, cover us in drops of pain
I’m afraid that we might just drown
You were there in the garden like a snake in the grass
I see you in the morning staring through the looking glass
You whispered down through history and echoed through these halls
But hate to tell you, Love’s gonna conquer all.
You were smiling from that Selma bridge
In Dallas when that bullet hit and Jackie cried
You pulled those towers from the sky
But even on our darkest nights, we’ll keep spinning round.
Renee, yes there is hate. It is difficult and overwhelming to process the damage from evil acts. This is probably the time you need friends the most. It is a time when people can come together to process these emotions but also share happy times and joyful events. It is a time when togetherness can bring peace. When you feel yourself isolating, reach out to someone you love.
Just when I think you have given up
You were there in the garden when I ran from your voice
I hear you every morning through the chaos and the noise
You still whisper down through history and echo through these halls
And tell me, Love’s gonna conquer all
Gonna conquer all
Lyrics by Maren Morris – Dear Hate

Vicki L Mayfield, M.Ed., R.N., LMFT Marriage and Family Therapy Oklahoma City

If you would like to send a question to Vicki, email us at

Nine Oklahoma hospitals recently received awards for providing excellence in perinatal care from the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative. The awards were presented at the fourth annual summit of the collaborative in Oklahoma City on Sept. 29. Approximately 250 providers of maternal and infant care came together at the event to discuss continued efforts to improve outcomes for Oklahoma mothers and babies and to celebrate success from their ongoing work.
Hospitals receiving the “Spotlight Hospital Awards” were recognized for participation and sustained improvement in the areas of early elective deliveries (inducing labor and scheduling cesarean births before 39 weeks without a medical reason), education to prevent abusive head trauma (commonly known as shaken baby syndrome), modeling and promoting infant safe sleep practices, creating an environment that is supportive of best practices in maternity care and of breastfeeding, and being prepared for obstetrical emergencies (such as hemorrhage and preeclampsia) through training, guidelines and hospital resources.
Receiving hospital “Spotlight” awards were:
INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center,
Oklahoma City
INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital, Yukon
INTEGRIS Health Edmond
INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center,
Oklahoma City
Lakeside Women’s Hospital, Oklahoma City
Mercy Hospital Ardmore
St. Anthony Hospital Shawnee
St. John Medical Center, Tulsa
The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, Oklahoma City
In addition, Rebecca Mannel, BS, IBCLC, FILCA, director, Oklahoma Breastfeeding Resource Center, Oklahoma City, received the Warren M. Crosby Champion for Maternal and Infant Health Award for going above and beyond to display exemplary effort to improve outcomes for mothers and babies in the local community and statewide.
Terry Cline, PhD, commissioner of health and secretary of health and human services, commended the group for excellent work in maternal and infant mortality reduction programs and encouraged them to continue their efforts to improve the health of mothers and babies in Oklahoma. Event participants were encouraged to carry on this important work by implementing strategies that are proven to affect outcomes positively within their own practices as well as contributing to the statewide efforts.
Chad Smith, MD, medical director of the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative, congratulated the hospitals saying, “Patient safety and quality improvement in women’s health have become top priorities nationally and for the State of Oklahoma. You have each demonstrated dedication to and excellence in improving the care of Oklahoma women and newborns. We have achieved some momentum through your efforts, and together we can continue to drive change in a positive direction.”
Partners in the Oklahoma Perinatal Quality Improvement Collaborative include: March of Dimes, Oklahoma City-County Health Department, Tulsa Health Department, Oklahoma Health Care Authority, Oklahoma Hospital Association, Oklahoma State Department of Health and County Health Departments, and University of Oklahoma Departments of OB/GYN and Pediatrics.

A little more than 10 years ago, Jason Hasty, then the physical education teacher at Putnam City’s Western Oaks Elementary School, was a dedicated runner. If he wasn’t running in local races, he was training to run in those races.
He wondered. Why couldn’t Putnam City host a race?
Flash forward to today, and it turns out the district can do just that. On the morning of Saturday, Nov. 11, more than 1,000 runners and walkers are expected to take part in the 10th annual Putnam City Cancer Classic, a 5k and 1-mile fun run that raises money for cancer research at Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF). The 5k starting gun will sound at 8:30 a.m., while the fun run begins at 10 a.m. The event will be held at Wheeler Park, 1120 S. Western.
Registration for the 5k race is $30. Registration for the fun run is $15. Runners and walkers can register and pay online at or register the morning of the event at Wheeler Park.
Hasty says the race has come a long way.
“That first year of the Putnam City Cancer Classic I was nervous. I didn’t know a great deal about hosting a race. But it worked, and it’s gotten better and better every year. The community shows up and has a good time. Everyone who takes part knows it’s a great event which benefits a great cause, cancer research at OMRF,” says Hasty.
Last year’s Cancer Classic raised about $9,700 for cancer research. It’s just one component of a larger cancer fund drive. For 42 years, Putnam City has worked with OMRF in the battle against cancer. Using everything from pajama days, school carnivals, soccer games and powder puff football, district students, parents and staff have raised more than $3.5 million to support OMRF’s cancer research efforts. Putnam City’s donations have purchased a vast array of sophisticated laboratory equipment, including centrifuges, microscopes and incubators, and also established an endowed chair at OMRF, the Putnam City Schools Chair in Cancer Research.
“The Cancer Classic is a fun event, but more importantly, everyone who takes part is taking personal action in the fight against cancer,” says Stephanie Treadway, the principal at Western Oaks Elementary School who is chair of Putnam City’s Cancer Fund Drive.

Meinders Nursing Simulation Center at the Kramer School of Nursing

Noon Luncheon 1:30 p.m. Open House and Tours
A formal invitation will follow soon, including all event details and RSVP information. For more information about the Kramer School of Nursing, please visit