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Mike Isaac, RN, went from breaking down doors as a police officer to opening new ones as a nurse at the JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities in Norman.

by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer

To say Mike Isaac’s resume is extensive would be an understatement.
EMT, police officer, detective, SWAT team member – all of it has combined into Isaac’s RN Nurse Manager role at JD McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities in Norman.
And for the past six years now, Isaac has been a nurse. But his past is almost as interesting as his present.
Fellow nurse manager Suanne Livingston likes working alongside Isaac and is constantly amazed by his background.
“He’s very organized and he’s very respected,” Livingston said. “He does a great job with staff. When he was a staff nurse he was a great staff nurse. I kind of defer to him as far as how he handles things employee-wise because he’s a little more hard-nosed than I am.”
“I learn a lot from him and I kind of watch and learn how he handles situations.”
Isaac worked in emergency rooms at night to help put him through college. He applied for PA school and quickly found it wasn’t a career track he wanted to pursue.
He spent some time in medical research and a couple other jobs before signing on with the Norman Police Department as an EMT for the ambulance service.
He attended the prerequisite police academy and later pursued his master’s degree. The only problem was working those 24-hour EMT shifts really took a toll on his studies.
So he decided to become a police officer instead.
“I said I would just transfer over and I did,” Isaac said. “I did really well and got promoted quickly and did a bunch of really good stuff but I got really interested in things involving mental health.”
A detective and eventually a supervisor, Isaac helped craft Norman’s policy on dealing with mental health subjects. His plans were carried over into department’s across the nation during his 27 years with Norman PD.
Isaac’s reputation earned him a spot helping craft officer-involved shooting policy.
“They weren’t getting the help they needed post-shooting,” Isaac said. “There were a lot of trauma victims involved with homicide and rape – two of the things I was assigned to – that weren’t getting follow-up care to prevent and treat post traumatic stress.”
Working with the FBI’s Behavioral Science unit in Quantico, Va., he helped craft policy to protect all involved.
“You didn’t take their gun right after a shooting. You took it as evidence but you replaced it,” Isaac said. “You didn’t put them on a desk job and treat them like they were unable to do work. Basically we wrote it so they would get a return to work slip.”
The process helped officers work through the ensuing mental and physical issues while protecting their personal health information. Inservice training was given and officers qualified again at the shooting range before easing back into their duties while riding with a supervisor.
“That was actually taken to Quantico for the national FBI academy that all law enforcement agencies around the world send people to.
“Our policy is still given out there.”
A friend mentioned he would be a perfect fit for nursing school.
“They sold me on this BADNAP program,” Isaac said of Oklahoma City Community College’s accelerated nursing program. “It was a great program. I wouldn’t do it again but it was a great way to get in and get employed and get out. I had a couple jobs before I even graduated.”
EMT, policeman, mental health advocate – you would think it all prepared him for nursing school.
“It did, but the pace was a great equalizer. It was just so fast. I don’t know how some of those people did it,” Isaac said. “I don’t know how some of those people did it, single heads of households with children to take to soccer games and other things.
“They were my heroes throughout. It was a great experience.”
Day and night, Isaac completed his ADN in eight months.
“It was tough but it was good. They don’t cut any corners,” Isaac said.
Assessment, investigation, report writing and observation – all skills Isaac honed in his former life have prepared him for a nursing career.
Nursing care plans are still vital. Different disciplines are heavily involved such as dietary and physical therapy.
He laughs when he admits his experience as Norman’s chief hostage negotiator still comes in handy.
But most days he doesn’t need it.
“The opportunity to see mostly the direct care staff grow in professionalism and responsibility so they can take ownership,” Isaac said of his greatest reward. “I always tell them when I interview it’s not a nursing home for kids.”

Small-town lifestyle. Big-time benefits.
As a Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee nurse, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a
friendly, small community and the resources of Oklahoma’s largest healthcare provider.
Less than an hour from Tulsa, Muskogee features outstanding cultural and natural
attractions, including numerous lakes and state parks that offer boating, skiing, golfing,
fishing and every other type of outdoor family recreational activity.
Be part of a rapidly growing, locally owned and operated, not-for-profit organization
dedicated to the health and wellness of eastern Oklahoma.
Why now is a great time to join our team:
• $10,000 sign-on bonus and relocation assistance for experienced RNs*
• Great benefits, including paid time off, tuition assistance, medical and dental insurance, retirement plans, onsite childcare, adoption benefits and more
• We are a qualified not-for-profit organization, so you may be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness**
To learn more about nursing opportunities at Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee, please call Melissa at 918-558-8028 or email
*Applies to registered nurses in select patient units with at least two years of nursing experience. Two-year work commitment required.
**View program details at
EOE Protected Veterans/Disability

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Lewis Perkins, RN, BSN, MSN, DNP is named Chief Nursing Officer for INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center and it’s affiliated entities.

Lewis Perkins, RN, BSN, MSN, DNP is named Chief Nursing Officer for INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center and it’s affiliated entities.
Lewis is currently the System Vice President of Nursing at Norton Healthcare in Louisville, Kentucky where he has worked since 2011.
Lewis has an incredible career in nursing leadership with significant MAGNET experience, he serves on the APRN Practice Committee for the Kentucky Board of Nursing and brings a wealth of nursing leadership experiences and innovative ideas to the table.
A few of his many career accomplishments include reducing nurse turnover, creating nursing student-nurse retention programs, improving throughput, creating a preadmission testing program and creating a nurse hospitalist program at Norton. He has had specific responsibilities over the Norton Cancer Institute and in addition to his extensive inpatient nursing experience, has practiced in long term care settings early in his career.
Lewis will begin his duties at INTEGRIS on Oct. 1. He and his wife (also a nurse) have a son in college and a son in high school who will be re-locating to Oklahoma City at the end of the school year.

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Left to right: Cheryl Moore, Carolyn Reconnu-Shoffner, Pamela Jackson and Marlene Asmussen.

For the second year in a row, three registered nurses at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) were named to the “Great 100 Nurses” in Oklahoma.
Marlene Asmussen, Pam Jackson and recent OHCA-retiree Cheryl Moore were selected for the honor.
“I am very proud of Marlene, Pam and Cheryl, and I am glad they were selected for this honor. They are amazing leaders and bring tremendous value to OHCA,” said OHCA CEO Rebecca Pasternik-Ikard.
Asmussen has dedicated the majority of her career to the public health arena. She began her career at OHCA in 1997 as the aged, blind and disabled nurse case manager. She was the first exceptional needs coordinator in the newly-formed OHCA Care Management department and has worked her way to her current position of Director of Population Care Management (PCM). Asmussen expertly navigates the continuous changes in health care, while simultaneously maintaining a foundation for her staff.
Jackson is a supervisor in the Case Management Unit within the PCM department at OHCA where she mentors new staff. She mentors and coaches her team of nurses, reviews their clinical assessments and guides their care coordination efforts. In her various roles throughout her career, leadership is a common theme. Her comprehensive clinical knowledge, extensive management experience and familiarity with the state and federal regulations that govern the SoonerCare (Oklahoma Medicaid) program, are a valuable asset to OHCA.
An employee of OHCA for more than 14 years, Moore was serving as a supervisor in the Case Management Unit when she retired in July 2018. With her diverse experience, Moore has an abundance of knowledge about the SoonerCare program. This knowledge base, combined with her clinical and managerial experience, are what personify Moore as a role model, both to the clinical staff within OHCA and to the Oklahoma nursing profession.
The Great 100 Nurses Foundation was founded by PK Scheerle, RN, in New Orleans 32 years ago, according to their website. Since its founding, the Great 100 Celebrations have honored thousands of nurses across Louisiana, North Carolina, Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.
“These exemplary Nurses are selected based on their concern for humanity, their contributions to the profession of Nursing, and their mentoring of others. It is a great honor in the life of the Nurse to be selected as a Great 100 Honoree and our Foundation helps each RN recognize themselves as Nurse Heroes,” the website reads.
The top nurses were recognized during an award celebration in Catoosa on September 10.

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Small but BIG.
Small enough to care about you,
big enough to care for you!
We are welcoming experienced RN’s for all areas to apply!

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Integris Southwest Medical Center ER nurse Andrea Gibson trains for triathlons after she finishes her shifts.

by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer

After a 12-hour shift in the state’s busiest ER, most nurses would want to go home and crawl into bed.
But after a shift, Gibson’s day is just getting started.
Meet Andrea Gibson: nurse by day, triathlete by night.
Most recently, Gibson was one of 129 athletes who attempted the Alaskaman Extreme Triathlon.
The event was so rugged that the mandatory gear list included bear spray for portions of the course that would more than likely have native inhabitants.
Waiting for her in Alaska was a 2.6-mile swim, 113-mile bike ride and 27.5-mile run.
When the race began she quickly felt what 50-degree water felt like.
“About 1,500 meters in there was a dip in the water temperature from 50s to 40s because there was a glacier runoff you had to swim through,” Gibson said. “When you first start out it’s already like getting punched in the face because you can hardly catch your breath because of the water temperature. You get warmed up just because your face and hands are numb but then you hit that and it’s all over again.”
Just 26 females completed the race. Gibson placed 50th overall and was the eighth-fastest female in the field.
Gibson calls the adventure a “racecation” as she’s always wanted to travel to Alaska but never thought she would have the chance.
She’s only been running a few years.
Gibson signed up for her first marathon at the end of 2014. That first marathon performance was enough to qualify her for the elite Boston Marathon.
“The IronMan was kind of on the bucket list to do and I’d already done the marathon so I might as well,” said Gibson.
“Doing a marathon was crazy enough for me just because I was never a runner,” Gibson continued. “I kind of picked it up and was able to accomplish that. I thought I might as well do this because I’ve trained for it. I don’t know where the jump camp from other than it was a bucket list thing.”
While the bike ride has always been her weakest, she’s always been comfortable in the water. She weighed the idea of swimming in college, but saw a friend drop her nursing major to incorporate the sport.
Born and raised in Indiana, Gibson followed her boyfriend from Hawaii to Oklahoma to settle down.
Gibson sheepishly admits to making a five-year plan in undergrad school. Complete a triathlon made the list.
“Maybe it was the fact I’m a little competitive and after I completed Boston I realized I could be competitive at the full distance vents and it kind of inspired me to do more.”
She’s completed four IronMan races so far with the Alaska event adding even more distance.
“Physically, it’s always a little painful. Mentally it’s always a release because you work so hard to get to that point but when you finish you have that feeling of being able to finish,” Gibson said. “It’s always a relief and you feel accomplished from what you were able to do.”
The days can be long. And family and friends understand that.
“Honestly, it’s kind of a selfish sport,” Gibson said. “It’s really time consuming. You work 12 hour days and you have to go from work to the gym to run 10 miles and you’re not getting home until 9:30 or 10. On the weekends there’s five or six-hour bike rides on your day off.
“I’m really appreciative of all the family and friends I have that support me.
Gibson became a nurse in 2011 and has worked in the emergency room the entire time. She’s been in the state’s busiest emergency room at Integris Southwest since October 2017.
“Here everybody works really well together,” Gibson said. “I’ve gone into organizations and felt like the odd man out. Immediately here everyone is very welcoming and they communicate very well. Just the workflow of the day, you’re able to get through it a lot easier with the people you’re working with here.
“While it is the busiest I feel much less overwhelmed with my days because of the support we have.”
She’s about to check off another item on the list – a graduate education, which she completes in January. She’ll graduate with a dual MBA-MSN that she started 2.5 years ago.

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Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, RN.

First Responders to Orlando Nightclub Shooting Serve on Panel

Disaster preparedness and response will be the focus of the Oklahoma City University Kramer School of Nursing’s 15th annual Caring Across Cultures Conference on Sept. 28.
Dean Lois Salmeron said the conference will address healthcare issues that surround disasters. Johns Hopkins University professor Tener Goodwin Veenema, PhD, RN, will give the keynote speech. Patty Wininger, RN, emergency preparedness coordinator at Duncan Regional Hospital also will speak. A panel discussion will follow comprised of representatives from Orlando Health who served as first responders to the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016.
“The annual Caring Across Cultures Conference gives the Kramer School of Nursing an opportunity to serve our own students, faculty and alumni, as well as those from other institutions and the statewide nursing community, by focusing on timely topics that might not be addressed otherwise,” Salmeron said.
Continuing education credit is available for the conference. The event starts at 8 a.m. Sept. 28 at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum. Presentations start at 9 a.m. and conclude at 4 p.m. Registration is $175. Discounts are available for nursing students and OCU nursing alumni. To register, visit
For more information, contact Chris Black at

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AHNA is accepting educational workshop proposals for the 2019 Annual Conference, Unifying Heart, Presence & Voice, until Monday, October 15, 2018 and Research Paper, Poster, and Non-Research Poster Proposals until Saturday, December 1, 2018. The conference will be June 2 – 7, 2019 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Conference event space and lodging is provided by Hyatt Regency Tulsa.
Proposals are being accepted for both half-day and full-day preconference workshops, and both 60 and 90-minute conference workshops. Research Papers, Research Posters and Non-Research Posters are also being accepted until Saturday, December 1, 2018. Eligible proposals must reflect the theme, purpose, and objectives of the conference and topics may apply to practice, education, research, aesthetics, personal & professional development, advanced holistic practice and nurse coaching. All submissions must be relevant to nursing. Nurses, physicians, healthcare and other professionals are welcome to submit proposals.
The 2019 conference theme is Unifying Heart, Presence & Voice, enabling participants to embrace, empower and inspire nursing practice through heart centered communication, theories rooted in holism, disciplinary knowledge and authentic presence. Living in a dynamic, rapidly evolving time of complex challenges and untold opportunity, holism is a solid foundation upon which we can create an envisioned future of true whole-person caring.
For more information, submission guidelines and links to the required, online proposal submission site go here
The American Holistic Nurses Association (AHNA) is a non-profit specialty nursing professional membership organization that serves as the definitive voice for registered nurses who practice holistic nursing.
Founded in 1981, AHNA’s primary mission is to advance holistic nursing through Practice, Community Building, Advocacy, Research and Education. The association is dedicated to the continued development of evidence-based holistic research, self-care methods for nurses and non-pharmacological pain management. AHNA offers networking opportunities to its members along with continuing nursing education through webinars, self-study programs, publications, conferences, and scholarship and grant opportunities.
AHNA currently services more than 5,000 members through 146 local chapters in the U.S. and abroad. Holistic nursing is recognized by the American Nurses Association as an official nursing specialty with a defined scope and standards of practice.

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What is your favorite restaurant in Oklahoma City and why? Oklahoma Indian Clinic

Cheleno’s-I grew up in South Texas and this restaurant’s food reminds me of home.

Krista Everett, LPN

Ted’s! Isn’t that everyone’s favorite?

Tiffany Griffin, RN, BSN

Olive Garden-Lots of fresh salad and yummy pasta, how can you go wrong?

Amanda Robnett, LPN

Chick-fil-A Delicious food, always fast and great service.

Staci Deland, RN, BSN

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Q. I recently got a promotion. I was so excited. I got a raise. I was so excited. I am now salaried. I am not excited. No one told me that meant I would be working more, let me repeat; I am working 10 hour days most of the time. Can you help me survive? —-Carol

A. Carol goes on to say: “I hear people talk about work – life balance. I was a bit off balance before but it was manageable. I am so far off balance now, I actually don’t have much of a life. When I get home I am so tired; forget going to the gym, meditating or watching my favorite show. Once I hit the sofa even taking a shower seems too exhausting. By Friday evening I am beyond fatigued.
I notice that I am forgetting things; little things, like paying routine bills, forgetting to do laundry that I need for the next day and preparing food. My husband is worried about me and also feels neglected. We have not had a date night since I got my promotion.
When I am not at work, I get emails, sometimes many emails. Really, does this job ever end. Who knew a health care job would slowly TAKE my health. When you think of the word HEALTH-CARE, it is really kind of a paradox. This job does not allow me to take care of my health. I am fatigued, no time or energy to exercise, eat poorly and sometimes feel depressed.
What is so difficult is that I actually like some of my job responsibilities. I was thinking this promotion, besides making more money, would provide more opportunities for future growth. But I don’t think I will live that long.”
When I was an assistant manager (assistant head nurse) I would walk into a meeting and notice how many of the managers looked depressed, fatigued and bored. I thought, “that would never happen to me.” So I became a manager. The hours never seemed to end. There really wasn’t a beginning or end to my day.
I noticed the following in many of the managers:
1. They looked older – stress was aging them.
2. They gained weight – too many junk food meals.
3. They were depressed – some on medication/some riding it out
I became ill over the three year time period in my job. Very ill!!
Carol also shared the following: Don’t ever calculate what you are making an hour when you are a salaried manager. I put a pencil to it and realized I was making about $8.00 an hour!!!!!!!
I am rethinking the rewards of this promotion vs the damages!! My health is worth more than $8.00.


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

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Initiative will enhance the leadership capacity of Medicaid directors to deliver high-quality, cost-effective health care services.

Becky Pasternik-Ikard, Chief Executive Officer of the Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA), is one of six Medicaid directors chosen to participate in the Medicaid Leadership Institute, a national initiative directed by the Center for Health Care Strategies (CHCS) and made possible by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). The program offers a unique opportunity for Medicaid directors from states across the U.S. to develop the skills necessary to successfully lead and improve their essential state programs and impact key health outcomes in an ever-changing policy and financing environment.
“The Oklahoma Health Care Authority has long been recognized as one of the best Medicaid agencies in the nation. I am thrilled that CEO Pasternik-Ikard was chosen for this highly competitive leadership institute. Her participation with other stellar Medicaid directors will provide valuable insights as she continues to refine OHCA’s current programs and implement additional programs to improve care for the approximate 800,000 members served by OHCA,” said Tanya Case of Duncan, OHCA Board Member.
Pasternik-Ikard was competitively selected to participate in the leadership development program along with five additional Medicaid directors: Idaho, Louisiana, Rhode Island, Texas, and Virginia.
“Medicaid directors oversee the delivery of vital health care services for nearly a quarter of the U.S. population, including individuals who are most vulnerable to social and economic factors that negatively impact health” said Tara Oakman, PhD, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Our investment in leadership development for these state officials aims to strengthen state capacities to promote health equity, consumer-centered care, and cross-sector collaboration.”
The 2019 class of the Medicaid Leadership Institute marks the eighth group of Medicaid directors chosen for this prestigious executive training opportunity. With this next class, 47 directors in 35 states and the District of Columbia have participated in the program since 2009. It is directed by Mark Larson, vice president at CHCS, former Vermont Medicaid director and Class of 2014 MLI Fellow.
“As the largest health care purchaser in most states, Medicaid directors are uniquely positioned to drive positive change across the health care system,” said Larson. “We are excited to support this year’s class of dedicated leaders from these six states in their efforts to maximize the quality and cost-effectiveness of state programs that are so critical to the well-being of millions of Americans.”
During the 10-month-long program, fellows will gain skills in key areas, including fostering delivery system innovation, leading effective multi-sector collaboration, engaging key stakeholders, communicating the impact of their programs, and developing leaders of the future. For more information about the Medicaid Leadership Institute, visit

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The Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners announced that early registration is now open for the organization’s annual conference. The conference will take place Oct. 17-19 at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Tulsa.
“After several years at the same venue, we wanted to give our members a new experience, and this makes the conference more accessible for those in the Tulsa area who couldn’t attend in the past,” said AONP President Margaret Rosales.
The annual AONP Conference has grown to host nearly 400 nurse practitioners from across the state. The conference will offer workshops and seminars on a range of health care topics, including hypertension, obesity, coding and reimbursement and legislative advocacy.
“This year’s sessions cover everything from keeping up with the latest advancements in medicine, to running a practice, to advocating for the profession in halls of the State Capitol,” Rosales said. “There will be sessions to benefit every nurse practitioner at every level of experience.”
Conference organizers are offering discounted registration rates for students and for AONP members. Early registration discounts continue through Sept. 30. Conference sessions will be submitted to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing for continuing education credits.
For more information or to register for the conference, go to