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Jennifer Gray has been named associate dean for the College of Natural Health Sciences at Oklahoma Christian University.

by Mike Lee
Staff Writer

Jennifer Gray, RN, Ph.D. has been named the associate dean for the College of Natural Health Sciences at Oklahoma Christian University. And, she has a lot of skills to offer the nursing program as it continues to grow.
“This has been a dream come true for me,” Gray said.
OC will be accepting 40 additional students this fall in its upper division of nursing. One of the new changes for the School of Nursing is additional Space. Heritage Plaza is a building owned by OC just east of Benson Drive. When the lease ran out for tenants, it became available to fill the needs of the nursing program.
The building’s redesign has faculty offices and a laboratory space for students. Clinical space is provided as well as well as for class.
“RN to BSN has always been in a separate space. Now we’re all together,” Gray said. “We’re tickled. We’re thrilled.”
Gray described herself as an Oklahoma girl. She grew up in southwest Oklahoma. He came to OC as a student at the time when OC had an affiliation with then-Central State University, now the University of Central Oklahoma.
At the time, OC would pay to have five students in the UCO nursing program. So her nursing degree is from Central State. She then began teaching at Red River at Duncan. Gray then went to West Africa, where she worked in a mobile clinic for 20 months.
She came home and met her husband while working in admission nursing at OC and oncology before they moved to Duncan. She taught there and moved to St. Louis where she had a baby.
Her career led her to teach at the John Peters Smith School, the county hospital in Fort Worth. It’s the sister hospital of Parkland in Dallas.
“That hospital still had a vocation nursing program in the hospital,” she said. “I directed and taught in that and started working on my masters at the University of Texas, Arlington. “About the time I finished my masters at UTA, they asked me to come on the faculty. So I came on the faculty there in 1989.”
In the meantime, Gray began working on her Ph.D. at Texas Women’s University. Her doctorate was in Nursing Science, which she earned in 1997. She went on the tenure track and began a new Ph.D. program and became the associate dean there.
She instilled a masters program and most recently started the graduate program at the University of Texas Arlington before coming to Oklahoma Christian University.
“I got where I could retire. As you could imagine, it was stressful,” she continued. “And OC had talked to me several times about coming back to OC. Not too many of the Church of Christ are Ph.D. prepared in nursing. Our nurse faculty need to be members of the church.”
Gray had always stayed connected with OC through the Alumna Association. So she decided to retire from UTA and move professionally to OC.
“I’m really excited, because we are looking at every way we can build our capacity and increase our program,” Gray said. “We’re taking almost a 50 percent greater class this fall. The goal there is to keep moving that up as we can.”
One of the big breaks for any school of nursing is clinical space. OC is getting to where it is capped out in classroom size for clinical studies.
“We will continue to look for other clinical sites, but really expanding much beyond where we are now is going to depend on us figuring other ways to address clinical experiences,” Gray said. “One of those ways will likely be high fidelity simulation. We have kind of medium low simulation right now.”
The Oklahoma Board of Nursing is lobbying the Oklahoma State Legislature to include in the definition of clinical, a certain percentage of simulation,” Gray said. “When that happens, that would help all schools of nursing in that we would not have to be in the acute care facilities as much.”
This will work well because there is still a very critical nursing shortage, Gray said. What makes the OC program unique is the thread of servant leadership, Gray said. Undergrad students either have an experience of going to Honduras or low income local clinics. These experiences let them see how to use a nurse as a Christian with a person with few recourses.
“As you get more graduates, you obviously see your influence grow,” she said. “I’ve been very impressed. This group of faculty are very committed to this program and dedicated, and are really wanting to make it work. And it is. Our percentage of boards passed is going to at least be 85 percent. And we’re excited about that.”

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Jodi Tracy, BSN, RN, CNOR, RNFA is waiting for her daughter to return from a year-long mission trip. Inset: Katie Tracy is racing around the world sharing the gospel on a unique mission trip.

story and photo by Mike Lee

Jodi Tracy, BSN, RN, grew up in the tiny Oklahoma panhandle community of Sharon-Mutual, two towns that together might have 200 people on a Saturday night.
For her entire adult life the Oklahoma Heart Hospital South nurse has lived in Oklahoma City. Her comfort zone is here and probably always will be.
So imagine her surprise when 23-year-old daughter Katie informed her that she was selling her car and possessions to finance a trip that would take her around the world.
And not only would she be traveling to a new country every month but she would be spending the majority of her time working in some of the neediest and most dire spots on the globe.
“I struggled with her going. God and I had to talk about it a lot,” Tracy said of her daughter’s year-long mission trip. “She graduated from college in December and left in January. She’s done some great things. People say she’s going to come back a different person. I kind of like her the way she is.”
This year Tracy became the director of surgical services at Oklahoma Heart Hospital South after serving as the manager of surgery since the facility opened more than five years ago.
It was also the year she let her daughter go out into the world in a way most parents would never imagine.
Tracy’s daughter is on a mission trip known as the The World Race.
“It’s kind of a race to take the gospel to all parts of the world,” Tracy said. “They are gone for a year and go to 11 different countries.”
Racers spend about a month in each community performing different ministry work.
The transition to parenting an adult has been difficult at times for Tracy.
Katie spent time in Nepal helping rebuild a church that was damaged by an earthquake.
“She was there working on that church when the second earthquake happened, which was a very trying time for mom,” Tracy said. “She’s off doing all these things and I grew up in very small northern Oklahoma and didn’t have a lot of world view.”
But seeing her daughter stretched and growing in so many ways has been rewarding.
She was even able to join up with her daughter over the summer in Thailand to do some ministry work together.
For Tracy, her ministry has been much closer to home.
“My day is filled with making sure the surgical patients are taken care of to the best of my ability and the surgery schedule flows,” Tracy said.
Tracy opened the building more than five years ago. Today it draws patients from all around.
“It’s been exciting, overwhelming, fun and crazy,” she said. “I knew a lot of people at the North campus … and what their vision was for that hospital. So when they were going to open this one I thought they had all the processes down and we would just take it and plop it down here.
“It was a little naive thinking on my part.” Tracy has helped guide the South campus through its addition of complex spine surgery patients, services the North campus does not provide.
She sees her accomplishments every day.
“The team that I’ve built. I’m very proud of my team,” Tracy said of her biggest accomplishment. “I’ve never worked anywhere where I’ve felt so empowered to really impact our processes and to do what we can do to take care of our patients here.
“The leadership team we all really work together great, much more so than any other place I’ve worked.”
Tracy is proud of how the hospital has invested in the community through tutoring and mentoring programs.
“We’ve worked hard to integrate in the community around us,” she said. “It does feel good when you leave here and stop at Lowe’s or somewhere and someone says ‘Oh, you work at Oklahoma Heart.’
“To have that sense of pride to wear that kind of marquee brand is something I’m proud of at church and in the community.”
Tracy is in her 27th year of nursing. She received her associates at Oklahoma State and her bachelor’s at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.”
And while she has no idea what her daughter may be doing in five years, Tracy is pretty sure of her own future.
“Same thing I’m doing right now,” she said. “I feel like I’ve invested my heart and soul, lot of sweat and tears here. I see myself retiring from here. I can’t imagine there’s any place in town I’d rather go work.”

 

Inset: Katie Tracy is racing around the world sharing the gospel on a unique mission trip.

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By Tamra Spells

by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer

It’s easy to understand why Titus Mason is the Alzheimer’s Unit nurse manager at Grace Living Center, NW 10th Street, Oklahoma City.
He meets you where you are in life. He seems at ease in any situation. And he is a kind, approachable young man with a capacity to learn and engage with new situations in life.
Mason has a confident smile that sets you at ease. He’s been loyal to Grace for 11 years, since before graduating from Canadian Valley Vocational Technical Center in El Reno in 2013.
“In my personal opinion, the most competent nurses, LPNs that I know came from Canadian Valley,” Mason said. “It’s the most difficult program by consensus. They take you through the wringer. I’m very glad I went there.”
At first he was a CNA. He earned this distinction in 2003 when he was in high school at Putnam City North in Oklahoma City. Initially Grace was a college job, he said.
“As I stayed here, I started forming bonds with the residents and I formed loyalty to the company,” Mason said. “I just began to see the importance of serving the geriatric population — being involved in it — and I’ve stayed in it.”
His past experience as a CNA is the base of everything about his nursing career. He flourished from his experience and furthered his skills as a licensed practical nurse.
Mason’s family is filled with CNAs, and Mason is the first one to become a nurse. His older brother inspired many of his family to explore health care. He was a nurse aide before he switched to pharmacy.
“And Iike even though I’m a manager now, I’ll help with anything on the floor,” he said. “I’ll sweep floors. Sometimes I’ll do a good percentage of the rounds with my aids.”
That’s his style of leadership. When he arrives at Grace, Mason makes sure his hall is stable with the staff going in the right direction. He’ll get some intitial treatments done.
“I get all the orders for the entire building. I’ll check over them for all four units and I’ll check over things from the previous day,” Mason said.
He goes to meetings with department heads to discuss patient care before heading back to his hall where he helps the CNAs in their daily rounds.
“I communicate with family members and do actual hands-on nursing, too,” he said.
Another thing on his mind is that his wife is expecting a baby boy in December. He’s often asked when the baby is due by the residents, many of whom he has taken care of for many years. His wife also worked at Grace as an admissions coordinator, so the residents know her, too. His wife works at Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City in her sixth month of pregnancy.
“Titus Martin Mason II is on his way,” Mason said. “That’s a big part of my life. I plan to really be there during the week for my son when he comes.”
Mason said he feels a lot of loyalty to Grace Living Center. He said he’s just a common kind of guy for everybody that comes and goes.
“I try to be personable with everyone. It makes my day flow easier,” Mason said. “I’m happier that way. I don’t want to have a brick wall between me and anyone.”
He will bond with people where ever he goes. The director of nurses was his charge nurse when he was a CNA and she became Mason’s mentor.
“She’s really who I model myself after in my nursing career,” he said. “I look up to her a lot.”
Working with Alzheimer’s patients is not always easy. But it helps to have someone like Mason lead the way. His communication approach is to meet each patient living with dementia where they are in their moment of life.
His activities director engages them in various activities, depending on their level of ability. Many of them participate in a daily exercise class. For some of them, this might not be possible, but they can color or go to concerts at the home.
“We have some people who were factory workers so they want to stay busy with their hands,” he said. “We just try to meet you where you’re at. Some people just want a snack and watch TV.”
Mason said Grace is where God wants him to be at this point of his life.
“I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it’s significant work,” he said. “On one level I’ve helped someone become physically more comfortable and meet their physical needs and emotional needs. I really have close attachments.”

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Oklahoma Wound Center’s certified HBO technicians are: (from left to right) Jack Ames, CHT, Safety Director; Arika Tate, RN, CHT, Clinical Nurse Manager; Anna Stanphill, LPN, CHT; Mark Shelby, LPN, CHT; Cori Gilmore, LPN, CHT; and Maegen Dover, RN, CHT, Lead Case Manager.

Norman Regional’s Oklahoma Wound Center Home to Certified Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBO) Technicians

These individuals administer hyperbaric and oxygen therapy to patient as prescribed by a hyperbaric physician. In addition to passing the online exam, certification by the American Board of Wound Healing requires a minimum of 500 hours of clinical wound care training and active practice experience per year for the previous two years, completion of at least 10 hours of wound care training and education during the previous two years, and completion of set core competencies in wound care.

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Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing and the Oklahoma Nurses Association will host its 12th annual Caring across Cultures conference Sept. 11 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. This year’s conference is titled “A Culture of Addiction” and will feature a presentation by Paula Davies Scimeca, a registered nurse who wrote the book “Unbecoming a Nurse.”
Scimeca’s book is about chemical dependency in the nursing profession. According to her book summary, “the most conservative estimate is that one in 10 nurses will develop a problem with drugs and/or alcohol within their lifetime. Some studies suggest the prevalence is double that.”
Scimeca wrote the book with two primary goals — to outline possible safeguards to help nurses avoid substance addictions, and to provide support to nurses and nursing students. The book includes testimonies from 29 nurses on how they became addicted to drugs and how they recovered.
Scimeca’s career has spanned over three decades with the first 10 years spent in medical, surgical and critical care nursing. She has more than 20 years experience in addiction and psychiatric nursing, as well as a background in occupational health, case management and legal nurse consulting. Since 2003, her professional endeavors have been devoted to chemical dependency in nurses.
Other sessions in the day-long conference include “Cultural Aspects of Addictions: Gambling and Substances,” “Understanding Clinical Dependency,” “Decreasing Drug Abuse in the Clinical Setting” and “Pain Management in the Addicted Population.” A panel discussion amongst the participating experts will conclude the conference.
The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum is located at 1700 N.E. 63rd St.
A conference schedule is available on the nursing school’s continuing education web page at okcu.edu/nursing/continuing-education. Oklahoma Nurses Association provides 5.5 contact hours for successful completion of this educational activity.
Oklahoma Nurses Association is an approved provider of continuing nursing education by the Texas Nurses Association, an accredited approver by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation.
For more information, contact Christopher Black at cblack@okcu.edu or call at 405-208-5832.

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Stephanie Waterman, APRN, FNP-C, is a family nurse practitioner who received her Master of Science in Nursing from The University of Oklahoma.
“Living in a small town, I’ve come to appreciate the personal relationship I get to develop with my patients and their families. We’ll work as a team to come up with a health care plan that allows my patient to take part in their path toward better health,” says Waterman.
“I’m also excited to provide care for the veterans in our community. My husband is a member of the military, and these patients are very close to my heart.”
Stephanie joins Drs. Jamie Hokett, Joe Leverett, Willard Perez, John Tran and PA-C, Erica Camilletti, at INTEGRIS Family Care Altus located at 201 South Park Ln. She is accepting new patients and often has same day appointments.

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The University of Central Oklahoma and Swansea University (Wales, UK), established in 1920, are expanding their successful Ph.D. partnership to include a doctorate program in Nursing. The degree, granted by Swansea, is a standard British Ph.D., requiring the completion and defense of a strong thesis (dissertation).
British Ph.D. degrees in general, and Swansea degrees in particular, are widely respected. In 2014 the World University Rankings included Swansea in its top 400 universities, along with the University of Oklahoma.
The students work independently to research and write their theses under two advisers, one from Swansea and one from UCO. Individual contact is frequent, but there are no classes and no added requirements for minor fields, statistics, languages, etc., unless these are needed to complete the thesis. A student’s time is completely flexible.
And, because of UCO’s willingness to assist with student advising, Oklahomans can do their degree work here with only an initial two-week trip to Wales and a two-day return at the end to defend their theses. The program pays for these trips.
Typically, students finish in three-four years. According to a just-released National Science Foundation survey, American doctorates with those requirements take from five to seven years after the master’s degree to complete.
The Swansea@UCO Ph.D. program began in 2011 and now has fourteen students in a variety of humanities, social science and selected health-related fields, which now includes Nursing. Specific information on Nursing is at: http://www.swansea.ac.uk/nursing/.
Students pay tuition in a lump sum to UCO at the start of each of six semesters (three-years). If a student needs a fourth year to complete her or his work, that year is free. No state funds are used in the program, but Sallie Mae loans are available to qualified students, as are certain income tax benefits.
Interested nurses can find details on the Swansea@UCO program at the UCO Graduate College website (http://www.uco.edu/graduate/index.asp) and from UCO Graduate Dean Dr. Richard Bernard (rbernard1@uco.edu).
Source: Dr. Richard M. Bernard, Dean, Jackson College of Graduate Studies, University of Central Oklahoma, (405) 974-3494 rbernard1@uco.edu

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If you could meet anyone in the world, who would it be and why? Mercy Hospital, Kingfisher

“Bette Midler.  I love her voice and her movies.  ‘Beaches’ is my all-time favorite!” Monica Dew, RN

“President Barack Obama…so I could tell him everything he is doing wrong.” Katie Bowers, RN

“Barbra Streisand because I like everything about her.” Deborah Day APRN, CRNA

“I would say Maya Angelou.  She was so empowering to women for generations and a strong role model. She was brilliant!  I was sorry when she passed away.” Renee Weatherford, RN

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Q. My husband and I are in counseling to learn how to be better communicators. Why does this sound so easy yet so hard to do? Do you have some “Communication for Dummies” lists that might be helpful?

A. “First lets talk about the obvious:
1. Don’t talk about important issues while watching TV, looking at your phone or sitting in front of the computer. 2. Look at each other. (eye contact is almost harder than communicating) 3. Don’t bring up important issues if you are not in the same room. 4. Don’t talk about important topics if you are hungry, tired, sick or distracted. (so you are sitting there thinking, “when am I not tired or distracted?)
Tips for women:
1. When you ask a question, give him a few seconds to answer. (Men usually take longer to think about their answer). 2. Don’t talk for him. Do not tell him what you think “he thinks.” 3. Don’t interrupt him. Let him talk. Patience!! 4. Practice the 24 hour rule. If he does something/says something that you are still thinking/feeling 24 hours after it happens, tell him. Do not store it!! Stored feelings result in resentments and they are VERY hard to move past. 5. When your husband tells you something you have done that bothered him; you also listen. Men can store feelings too.
Tips for men:
1. When she asks you a question, take a few seconds, not all day. (If you don’t have an answer, tell her you don’t. If you sit there long enough without responding, she will ask again). 2. Give her a response or she may “think for you.” (And it could be wrong.) 3. Tell her that you will not be talking if she continues to interrupt you. 4. When she tells you something you have said/done that bothered her, do not roll your eyes or look away, listen to her, look at her. I promise, this will benefit you in the long run. 5. Don’t me the man who says, “I never really get angry, that stuff just rolls off my back.” Trust me, it can roll right into the resentment file and pop out during your next argument.
One of the most common presenting issues in counseling is women who have been trying to tell their husband’s something that really bothers them and their husband don’t take it seriously.
You are right, communication sounds easy but takes ongoing practice.

 

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 news@okcnursingtimes.com

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Sheryl Buckner PhD, RN has been selected to receive the 2015 Midwest Nursing Research Society/National League for Nursing Doctoral Dissertation Grant Award. In a blind peer review, Dr. Buckner’s dissertation proposal, The Effects of Attention on Academic Performance, was considered “outstanding, contributing to the work in advancing the science of nursing education.” Her dissertation was also supported in part by a grant award by Sigma Theta Tau International, Beta-Delta-Chapter-at-Large.
In addition, Dr. Buckner is one of twenty-two distinguished nurse educators who have been selected for the ninth class of fellows for induction into the prestigious Academy of Nursing Education. Dr. Buckner was selected by the Academy of Nursing Education Review Panel for her contributions in innovative nursing education and community partnerships. .
Both the dissertation award and the induction into the Academy of Nursing Education will be formally announced at the 2015 NLN Education Summit in Las Vegas, NV. She is currently an Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Nursing.

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