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Last year, Redlands Community College graduated 25 nurses.
As Dean of Nursing and Allied Health, Rose Marie Smith, RN, MS, CNE oversaw the education of every single one.
There’s no doubt in her mind that each will be successful in whatever setting they may choose.
Smith says Redlands’ focus is always on the individual.
Quite simply, it’s success by design.
“We feel it’s the best because I truly believe (students) get a lot more clinical opportunities because we know the people,” she said. “We know who needs what and we’re there kind of guiding and pushing them to get to the learning experiences. They can’t just hide in the numbers.”
This May, Redlands is expecting its largest graduating class in 15 years. That could be as high as 38.
Closing in a quarter century of nursing education, Smith smiles when she sees former students. The administrator of Kingfisher Hospital is a Redlands graduate. The director of the Canadian County LPN program is a Redlands graduate. The director of the Carnegie Hospital is a Redlands graduate.
“You see how long I’ve been in nursing education and it blesses my heart,” she said. “Our graduates take care of patients and do well but they also go on.”
Last year, Redlands partnered with Oklahoma Panhandle State University and their RN-BSN online program. Any graduate of Redlands can enroll in the program at the Redlands tuition rate.
“And we’re one of the lowest tuitions in the state of Oklahoma,” Smith said. “Because our graduates are so successful they are courted if you will. Directors seek them out. I just feel proud when I walk around and see graduates caring for patients and graduates in administration.”
Smith first began her career at Redlands in 1985 as faculty. She progressed through team leader and director of nursing program roles before stepping away in 2006.
She helped lead two other nursing programs in that time before coming back home in 2015 to Redlands.
She wanted to make the Redlands experience unique for each individual and that begins by investing time.
Community support is huge in Canadian County for the school and vice versa.
The Canadian County Health Department has requested Redlands students work with their OB nurse practitioner.
Students have adopted a mission in El Reno treating recently released inmates and recovering drug and alcohol addicts. Students serve in the twice-monthly, bilingual health clinic
“Our students get a wealth of experience,” Smith said. “We screen and provide health care advice, teaching and things they’ve never really had in their life before.”
Redlands students also go into local schools to help teach pediatric curriculum.
“Our students get opportunities to not only learn public speaking but also teaching at appropriate grade levels,” Smith said. “The students carry those experiences with them in life. Those are tools they can use, soft skills if you will.”
Some students drive nearly an hour and a half from rural, Western Oklahoma to attend Redlands.
There’s a definite investment.
“We have rural students who graduate and return to rural areas and with the demographics of Oklahoma changing we wanted to provide them with equipment to contributors to their cities, towns and counties,” Smith said.
Bed transfers and feeding skills are taught down the street at a local five-star long-term care facility.
“We do a lot more live learning labs to learn how to care for that population as well,” said Smith, who notes Redlands nursing students also help with annual flu vaccinations for the entire campus . “We don’t just stop at the classroom we try to engage them throughout their education.”
Redlands admits students one time each year to the traditional day program. LPN to RN admission occurs for a handful of individuals in the spring.
“What we do really well is student first, smaller classes with master’s prepared faculty,” Smith said.
The program threads theory and simulation together to help build understanding of the specific content being taught.
Simulations enhance student understanding, build confidence prior to clinical as to what to do, say, and provide appropriate interventions for patients.
Redlands Nursing Program graduated its first class in 1981. The program is a two-year nursing program with new classes beginning in the fall of every year.
Students graduate with an Associate in Applied Science Degree and, upon graduation, are eligible to take the NCLEX exam to become a Registered Nurse.
Redlands also offers options for LPNs attending the nursing program. LPNs with one year of experience are given credit for Fundamentals of Nursing.

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Matthew Tygart RN BSN Externship, Oxley College of Health Sciences at The University of Tulsa.

Matthew Tygart always knew he liked working with children. When his compassion for people influenced him to major in nursing, he learned through a series of clinical rotations and his externship at St. Francis Hospital that he wanted to work in pediatric oncology after graduation.
“I grew up working with children,” said Tygart. “Now I can take that one step further by caring for them in their most vulnerable states. I can be there for the families and the patients.”
Tygart is earning a bachelor of science in nursing at The University of Tulsa School of Nursing in the Oxley College of Health Sciences. One of the reason’s he chose TU was due to the high success rate of TU students passing the NCLEX (National Council Licensure Exam) exam, a standardized test that each state board of nursing uses to determine whether a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice. The pass rate for TU School of Nursing students is higher than the average in Oklahoma and nationally.
Tygart and his classmates participated in clinical rotations at the three major hospitals and various clinics in Tulsa. “Our clinical rotation group was small and included only six or seven students,” said Tygart. “This allowed us to develop closer relationships with faculty.”
Want to learn more about TU School of Nursing externships? Watch our video at
During his rotation at St. Francis Hospital, Tygart realized that he wanted to work in oncology and with the help of his professors, he secured an externship there. “The faculty helped me complete my externship application and provided references,” said Tygart. “I was able to work in both adult and pediatric oncology.”
After his externship, Tygart received a job offer from St. Francis to work as a nurse technician providing basic medical care in the pediatric oncology unit while he completes his schooling. Nurse technician positions are generally part-time employment opportunities reserved for students currently enrolled in a licensed practical nursing or registered nursing program.
During his time at TU, Tygart served as a member of the Golden Hurricane Spirit Squad and participated in a fraternity. He also started the TU chapter of Love Your Melon raising money for children battling cancer. This organization functions on a buy one give one model where every piece of apparel sold provides a beanie to a child fighting cancer.
Read more about the TU School of Nursing and apply at

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Graduating High School? Thinking about college? There’s so much to consider when it comes to getting ready for college: where to go, what to study, how to apply, how to pay for it all, and more.
It’s never too early—or too late—to explore your options for college. Inside this Guide are some key steps in preparing for college and resources that can help you along the way. You’ll have to take the time to research and understand your options, but you don’t have to do it alone. This Guide Can Help!
Why go to college?
More money, more job options, and more freedom. With less than a high school diploma the average inclome is just over $31,000 per year. With an Associates degree your earnings jump to more than $53,000 per year and $75,000 with a Bachelor’s degree. Earnings soar ever higher with a Master’s and/or Doctoral Degree at over $100,000 per year.
As student or parent just about to start college, the following checklists will help you get ready.
1. Work hard all the way to graduation—second-semester grades can affect scholarship eligibility.
2. Stay involved in after-school activities, and seek leadership roles if possible.
3. As soon as possible after its Oct. 1 release, complete and submit your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), at, along with any other financial aid applications your chosen school(s) may require. You should submit your FAFSA® by the earliest financial aid deadline of the schools to which you are applying, usually by early February.
4. After you submit the FAFSA, you should receive your Student Aid Report (SAR) within three days to three weeks. This document lists your answers to the questions on your FAFSA and gives you some basic information about your aid eligibility. Quickly make any necessary corrections and submit them to the FAFSA processor.
5. If you haven’t done so already, register for and take the standardized tests required for college admission. Check with the colleges you are interested in to see what tests they require. pply to the colleges you have chosen. Prepare your applications carefully. Follow the instructions, and PAY CLOSE ATTENTION TO DEADLINES!
6. Well before your college application deadlines, ask your counselor and teachers to submit the required documents (e.g., transcript, letters of recommendation) to the colleges to which you’re applying.
7. Complete any last scholarship applications.
8. Visit colleges that have invited you to enroll.
9. Review your college acceptances and compare the colleges’ financial aid offers.
10. Contact a school’s financial aid office if you have questions about the aid that school has offered you. In fact, getting to know your financial aid staff early is a good idea no matter what—they can tell you about deadlines, other aid for which you might wish to apply, and important paperwork you might need to submit.
11. When you decide which school you want to attend, notify that school of your commitment and submit any required financial deposit. Many schools require this notification and deposit by May 1st.
Notes: a. Understand the FAFSA better by watching the videos in the “FAFSA: Apply for Aid” playlist at b. Follow or like the office of Federal Student Aid at and to get regular financial aid tips. c. Make informed decisions about student loans; the following resources are important at this point: Federal Versus Private Loans and Federal Student Loans: Basics for Students
REMEMBER: Register for all tests in advance and be sure to give yourself time to prepare appropriately! If you have difficulty paying a registration fee, ask your school counselor about getting the fee waived.
For more information go to:
Why Nursing?
Nursing is challenging, interesting, and allowes you to make a difference in people’s lives every day. Nursing is one of the fastest growing careers in the U.S. and offers a variety of medical settings. Nurses are near the top of the list when it comes to employment growth and income. In short, nursing can offer a career that is both personally and financially rewarding.


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The Oklahoma Baptist University College of Nursing boasts a long and storied history. Its reputation is known far and wide for educating nursing graduates who are skilled and in-demand. Yet, the College of Nursing is known not only for its high standards of excellence, but also for being a trailblazer in Oklahoma nursing education, leading from the front in its earliest days, and continuing that tradition today.

In the fall of 1952, the Oklahoma State Board of Nursing granted approval to OBU for Oklahoma’s first baccalaureate nursing program. This degree was the first four year baccalaureate program for nursing in the state among all universities.
The first class of eleven students graduated in 1956 and the OBU nursing program was accredited by the National League for Nursing in 1960. This accreditation continued without interruption until the School of Nursing affiliated with American Association of Colleges of Nursing, its current accrediting body.
The College of Nursing now offers a Bachelor of Science degree with a strong liberal arts foundation, a BSN completion degree for nurses with an Associate Degree, an LPN to BSN degree, and a Master of Science in Nursing.
OBU nursing alumnus Travis DeWall, ‘16, offered his perspective on why he chose to study nursing at OBU.
“I felt compelled to use my talents and efforts in a field that would allow me to directly serve others. Nursing met this goal and is a career with the opportunity to expand my scope of practice in the future if I decide to. I chose the OBU College of Nursing because I felt the appeal of both rigorous academics and the valuable focused interaction with professors that only a school of this size can provide.”

The Future…Leading the Way Again

The OBU College of Nursing is housed in a state-of-the-art nursing education facility, Jane E. and Nick K. Stavros Hall. Opening in 2016, Stavros Hall delivers cutting-edge nursing education for both undergraduate and graduate-level students. It includes five classrooms, a 109-seat lecture hall and a computer lab as well as spaces for students to study, meet and interact with faculty. The facility features six state-of-the-art, high-fidelity skills simulation labs, a medium skills lab, a health assessment skills lab, and a home health and bathing training room, totaling 24 beds.
The facility is unrivaled in the state of Oklahoma, its attention to detail and inclusion of real-world medical technology allowing OBU nursing students to be ultimately prepared to enter the nursing workforce.

Nursing Simulation Technology

The crown jewels of Stavros Hall are its simulation labs. Their technology, design and cutting-edge practices are second to none. These labs bridge the gap between learning and practice, placing students at the front lines of patient care, all while under the watchful eye of their professors.
The high-tech simulation labs are equipped with the industry’s most advanced medical simulation solutions. The lifelike patient simulators are used to train students in various medical emergencies, allowing learners to acquire the clinical skills necessary to improve patient safety. Students have the opportunity to acquire hands-on practice using a birthing simulator, pediatric simulator and adult patient simulators.
All simulation scenarios are recorded, allowing instructors to conduct debriefing sessions with students in which video recordings are reviewed so that students can receive necessary feedback for improving their skills. The training curriculum consists of single- and multi-patient scenarios that include respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological, maternal-child, trauma, mass casualty and disaster situations.
Patient simulators significantly enhance realism, as they can breathe, bleed, speak and even give birth to a lifelike baby that cries upon delivery. The lifelike devices also simulate complications and various life-threatening scenarios while allowing students to monitor vital signs and administer treatment.
With this facility, OBU is poised to once again take the lead in nursing higher education in the state of Oklahoma, a position familiar to the College since its earliest days.

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There is no better place to learn to be a registered nurse than by attending OSU Institute of Technology and earning an Associate in Applied Science Degree in Registered Nursing. The OSUIT Registered Nursing Program is approved by the Oklahoma Board of Nursing and accredited by the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN).
Our nursing labs feature advanced simulation mannequins – enabling practice for a wide range of nursing procedures. Upon successful completion of the degree program and NCLEX, you will be eligible for employment as a registered nurse helping people in a lifelong career that provides both personal satisfaction and great income.
OSUIT’s Associate in Applied Science Degree in Nursing provides: hands-on learning environments, experienced faculty, and numerous employment opportunities with excellent salary potential. Every nursing school graduate across the country who wants to become a registered nurse must first pass the National Council Licensure Exam-Registered Nurse (NCLEX-RN), a national standardized test administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing.
Each year, nursing programs, including the one at OSU Institute of Technology School of Nursing & Health Sciences, are given a NCLEX Pass Rate report that shows the percentage of nursing graduates that have passed the exam. In 2016, OSUIT’s NCLEX score was 85.71 percent, which was higher than the state pass rate of 83.78 percent and the national pass rate of 84.56 percent. The same thing happened in 2015 when OSUIT received an 88 percent pass rate compared to Oklahoma’s 85.70 percent and the nation’s 84.51 pass rates.
The NCLEX, a computerized exam made of up 75 to 275 questions, tests nursing graduates knowledge in eight health care areas including management of care; safety and infection control; health promotion and maintenance; psychosocial integrity; basic care and comfort; pharmacological and parenteral therapies; reduction of risk potential; and physiological adaptation.
Nursing school graduates are required to pass their NCLEX exam in order to work as a registered nurse. Jana Martin, dean of the School of Nursing & Health Sciences, said in the last several years OSUIT’s NCLEX pass rate has really improved, and the trend seems to be continuing. “We’re very, very proud. That tells us we have a quality program. Our graduates are eligible to work as registered nurses, they can support their families and they can pay their student loans,” Martin said. “We have a rigorous program. It has to be rigorous— we are dealing with patients’ lives.”
Martin said students who come to the nursing program are almost always surprised by just how difficult and challenging it is, even for those who excelled in high school or other college programs. “It’s a new way of learning that they’re not used to. It’s memorization but also critical thinking. It’s a lot of reading and stringent studying,” she said. “It requires organization, flexibility, the ability to make tough decisions and prioritize. And the student needs a support system at home.” The training and education is tough because the profession is hard work, Martin said, and the faculty in the nursing program are continually working to ensure the program improves while also meeting the needs of the industry. “Our faculty make sure this is a quality program. They make sure we maintain our standards.
Everything we have done and our accomplishments are because of our faculty,” she said. “They stay up to date on best practices and new technologies.” It’s all in service in making sure the students are prepared and knowledgeable when they start their careers. But before they can do that, they have to pass the NCLEX, which can be stressful and nerve-wracking, Martin said, which is why the preparation and support doesn’t end when the students walk across the graduation stage.
“Students are assigned a mentor, myself or one of our faculty, after they graduate, and we follow them through their NCLEX testing,” she said. “We text or call them to make sure they are doing their test trainers or if there is anything they need. That extra encouragement really shows our students we care about them.”

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It is an exciting time to be a nurse and Northwestern Oklahoma State University is making a difference in the lives of nurses and patients alike. Northwestern’s Nursing Graduates are in demand! Northwestern offers three exciting Nursing programs to help meet the need for BSN-prepared Registered Nurses and APRN – Family Nurse Practitioners throughout the state and nation.
Graduates of the traditional on-campus BSN program are eligible to take the NCLEX-RN exam after program completion. Students have a choice of attending classes on the Alva, Enid, and Woodward campuses as well as at the University Center in Ponca City. State of the art simulation labs and a wide variety of experiences in hospitals, clinics, schools, other health agencies throughout the northwest Oklahoma region as well as at Vance Air Force Base assure students receive a well-rounded education experience. Students begin their nursing courses after completing two years of general education and program pre-requisite courses. A low student-to-faculty ratio allows for personalized experiences allowing every student to optimize their learning and be successful.
For RNs with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing, Northwestern offers an affordable Online RN-to-BSN program designed for working RNs. With no traditional clinical hours required, the BSN may be earned in 12 months, once all general education requirements have been met. Students are challenged to build upon their current knowledge and develop new skills, experiences, and insight to strengthen their nursing practice.
The new BSN-to-DNP program offers students the opportunity to become family nurse practitioners with an emphasis on rural health needs. Graduates of this program are eligible to take the national certification exam and pursue licensure as Advanced Practice Registered Nurses. In this hybrid program, the students experience a variety of course and clinical experiences promoting professional growth and practice. This program saves the student time and expense by advancing directly to the nationally desired Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree.
The Nursing Faculty at Northwestern are experts in their field and dedicated to your success. The Northwestern Nursing programs have received national recognition for affordability, accessibility, quality, and outcomes annually since 2014 in a variety of online sources. Northwestern Oklahoma State University also is recognized as #1 in Oklahoma and #16 nationally among all public schools for its Low Student Loan Debt by The Student Loan Report. Now is the time to learn how Northwestern Nursing can help meet your professional goals. We look forward to hearing from YOU!
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The flexibility of nurses can be one of their greatest assets, so why not choose a program to advance your career that is as flexible as you are?
Abbey Elliott, DNP, MHA, RN, CEN, CHSE, is the director of nursing at Southwestern College in Kansas and has been in charge of growing the online program for more than a year now with one thing in mind.
“I think what we do really well is we are very student-centered in our approach,” she said.
Established in 1885, the Methodist-affiliated college is open to students of all backgrounds and faiths looking to pursue their nursing education.
More than a decade ago, Southwestern College became one of the first schools to offer a 100% online RN-BSN program, attracting students from across the nation. Registered nurses with a diploma or an associate degree in nursing may earn a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwestern College Professional Studies.
The RN to BSN program builds on previous nursing education and experience and is designed to position graduates for leadership roles and career advancement in a variety of healthcare settings.
In recognition that nurses are broadly educated and have transferable knowledge and skills, the Southwestern College RN to BSN program provides the opportunity for further study in nursing professional practice including leadership, community health and evidence-based practice.
Elliott says incoming students are paired with an individual advisor that works with them through every aspect of their education from scholarships they want to attain all the way through registration and eventually graduation. It’s one of the many more personal benefits of working with a smaller college.
“We also have a small group of faculty members in the nursing program that work closely with the students and guide them if they are struggling,” said Elliott.
Southwestern has also long been a higher-education hub for students from nearby McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita. The school prides itself on its flexibility with military learners and carried that knowledge over to its online RN to BSN program.
“We’re not a large program, but we’re not the smallest,” Elliott said. “We are able, with smaller class sizes, to provide more of an intimate setting or working with them and helping the students through.”
And attending class online means no out-of-state tuition at the Wichita, Kansas institution.
“Students never feel like they’re alone in the process of going to college whether it’s been a year or 20 years,” Elliott says. “It’s not as scary going through Southwestern because we are so student friendly.”
Learners coming back to school after a layoff find a welcoming entry point. Elliott says students also are pleased to find that Chemistry isn’t a required course.
“That’s a big seller for our learners,” Elliott explained. “When they finish their ADN, we accept those credits. There’s not a lot of general education they have to complete before entering our program, so we waive that.”
The depth of faculty experience is also a big draw at Southwestern. With an online program, that means Elliott is able to draw faculty from around the nation whether it be in Florida or Las Vegas. From backgrounds in the medical surgical floor to the ICU, faculty are well-rounded and bring that real-life working experience to students.
“What’s nice is students get a different perspective of what nursing is like,” Elliott said. “This provides different ideas and thoughts about what nursing is like not just in Kansas, Oklahoma or the Midwest, but in other parts of the country.”
Still, working in the field allows instructors to better relate, especially when it comes to evidence-based practice instruction.
“Our faculty work in different fields of nurses and are academically prepared from different universities,” Elliott says. “They bring all these different parts they’ve learned at different universities to how they teach. All of our faculty are at least master’s prepared and I think that brings in some different pieces, too, and some helpful thoughts of those thinking they may go on to a graduate degree.”

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Debbie White, BSN, RN, is Russell Murray Hospice director of utilization review and education. She is one of a growing number of nurses working to ensure patients receive quality care, while also juggling the requirements of Medicare, Medicaid and private health insurance, among other issues.

by Traci Chapman, Staff Writer

The world of a utilization review nurse goes far beyond bedside, or even patient, care – it’s a position combining the best of all worlds, combining traditional nursing, quality and cost efficiency, administrative functions and community outreach.
It’s a job Russell Murray Hospice’s director of utilization review and education, Debbie White, said remains new and challenging every single day.
“It makes me very happy to know I can help teach others while caring for patients and families and that I can ensure we offer as much as we possibly can to them – even beyond the nursing care itself,” White said.
The 59-year-old White began working at Russell Murray Hospice 22 years ago. Back then, the company was solely located in El Reno; its single office was a comfortable fit to the few nurses and administrative staff that primarily served Canadian County and surrounding areas.
Much as White’s career has flourished, so too has Russell Murray’s service areas, its patient numbers and variety of the services it provides. RMH now employs about 25 full-time RNs and LPNs and several per diem PRN nurses across four offices located in El Reno, Oklahoma City, Kingfisher and Weatherford.
“We serve approximately 75-mile radius surrounding each of the four offices,” Russell Murray Executive Director – and one of the firm’s founders – Vicki Myers said. “We generally serve about 100 to 110 patients, up to at times close to 120.”
That kind of volume and a service area comprised of hundreds of square miles means having the right process in place to ensure both care and administrative tasks are performed to the highest standards is paramount – and, it’s one reason why utilization review has become so important.
Russell Murray’s nurses, like those working for other hospice providers, face a somewhat unique dynamic, particularly when considering the intensity that comes along with the nature of that care – and the fact their patients are not going to get better. Throw in ever-complex and constantly changing issues in dealing with Medicaid, Medicare and private health insurance, and it can become beyond overwhelming.
Those requirements mean White and other UR nurses review not only what treatments a patient might need, but also make sure those treatments will be of benefit to that patient without overloading healthcare systems. The idea is fairly new, with utilization review primarily developed in the 1980s, as managed care came to the forefront, according to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.
“Utilization Review can be invaluable in bridging the gap between patient care, insurance and cost expectations and realities and healthcare professionals working to determine the best treatment options and even whether some treatments are appropriate at all,” The National Academies outlined in a 1989 study.
While utilization review is about numbers and dollars on some levels, for White it is primarily a way to help patients and their families get the best and most appropriate care possible. Hospice has a unique place in healthcare – Russell Murray’s nurses are not providing care that will end in a cure or improved condition, at least in the long term, Myers said.
“This is about making sure the individual has the tools to face end of life,” she said. “We want to work with each patient, and their family, to make sure they are able to do this on their own terms and to offer the care they need in the way they need it.”
That philosophy has worked, evidenced not only by Russell Murray’s growth, but also by how long it has been providing hospice care, Myers said. Now in its 30th year, the company continues to evolve – and utilization review, while behind the scenes, is just one way RMH can make sure it is helping both patients and their families, but also staff, as well, she said.
That staff support is also something in which White is very involved, in her “second” position as RMH education director – ensuring nurses are fully compliant in continuing education to conducting new orientation training.
While White said she always thought she would become a nurse, she approached her then-potential career with the study and care she shows now in her work, those who know her said. She first worked as a nurse’s aid before attending University of Oklahoma College of Nursing; as a BSN and RN, she was a pediatric and mental health nurse; but, it was at Russell Murray the Blanchard woman found her professional home and it was in hospice utilization review and education she found a niche where she could best utilize her skills and gifts.
“Although nursing can be complicated and challenging, I feel it is a very special privilege to help serve others in their time of need,” White said.

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Luke Richardson-Walker is President of Oklahoma Nurses Association’s Region I

Resources available for metro nurses

story and photos by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

At every step of his career, Luke Richardson-Walker, RN, has been evolved.
Whether it be on the floor as a dialysis charge nurse, in the surgery theater or as a house supervisor Richardson-Walker has made it a point to know everything that’s going on and why.
Now in his second year as President of Oklahoma Nurses Association’s Region I Richardson-Walker wants Oklahoma City metro nurses to know the ONA offers resources to help them grow their practice.
“I want to see nurses engaged in their profession and in helping grow their profession,” he said. “Nursing is not just a job it is part of our lives.”
ONA Region I members meet the second Thursday of every month. The group historically has met at Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing but Richardson-Walker said a greater effort will be made to meet at area hospitals this year.
“We just want to make sure we’re more accessible for our membership that works in the hospital setting,” he said. “We don’t want to be an organization just focused on nursing instructors and managers who work 9-5 jobs. We’re for all of nursing.”
Region I is for RNs that work and/or live in Oklahoma County.
“We’re trying to engage nurses with learning opportunities,” Richardson-Walker says. “We’ve had speakers for dialysis treatment options, to House Bill 1013 to people coming from the Regional Food Bank to talk about Fresh Rx.”
Richardson-Walker said the Fresh Rx program is one that nurses need to bring to their patients.
Based on its 37 years of successful program operations, the Regional Food Bank knows that only collaborative efforts can effectively reduce hunger and treat disease.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s FreshRx initiative is a strategic effort to improve health outcomes for low-income, high-risk individuals.
Food insecurity is linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases.
More than 632,000 Oklahomans are food insecure, which means that they may not know where their next meal is coming from. Oklahoma ranks near the worst among states in terms of the most severe forms of food insecurity.
One of the ONA’s largest events is the upcoming Nurses Day at the Capitol.
Jane Nelson serves as the executive director of the Oklahoma Nurses Association. She says it’s vital that nurses become involved in the legislative process if they want to have a say in the way healthcare is offered in our state.
“We want to see nurses out there working on issues that relate to nurses. Whether it’s an LPN, RN or advanced practice nurse, they tell those stories the best,” Nelson said.
As a professional organization, the Oklahoma Nurses Association is a community of nurses from all specialties and practice settings that empowers nurses to improve health care.
Each year, the ONA organizes a single day to arm nurses with the necessary information and give them the opportunity to discuss those issues with policy makers.
This year the event will be held on February 27.
Nelson says nurses are always well received at the capitol and typically find the day very informative.
“Nurses are powerful political advocates because they are members of the most-trusted profession in the country,” Nelson said. “With that comes a lot of power.”
Consistently ranked as the most-trusted profession in the nation, nurses collectively carry a strong voice when it comes to health care issues, Nelson says.
“There are a couple of ways for nurses to get involved,” Nelson said. “One is to attend Nurses Day at the Capitol and the second is to stay in touch with ONA. Nurses can stay in touch by being a member.”
“As a member they will receive emails about Legislative issues and what needs to be done, they can also serve on an ONA committee in addition to serving as Nurse of the Day.”
ONA encourages all nurses and nursing students to get involved in the legislative process by attending Nurses Day at the Capitol.
The Mission of the Oklahoma Nurses Association is to empower nurses to improve health care in all specialties and practice settings by working as a community of professional nurses.
ONA encourages all Nurses and Nursing Students to get involved in the legislative process by attending Nurses Day at the Capitol. The day begins with an informational session held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, followed by an opportunity to go to the Capitol and talk with legislators.
“Region I is very active but it wasn’t really active for a while,” Richardson-Walker said. “We had a really busy year last year so I want people to know we’re here.”
For more information contact Richardson-Walker at –

MDS Coordinator, Oklahoma Methodist Manor
Tulsa, OK
This position is primarily responsible for planning, organizing, developing, and managing the RAI process to ensure the timely and accurate completion of the MDS. The RAI process will be completed in accordance with all State and Federal guidelines, and ensure appropriate reimbursement for services provided.
Maintains attitudes and behaviors that demonstrate and uphold the Mission Statement of Oklahoma Methodist Manor (OMM), supports the OMM core values and shows an understanding of OMM’s person-centered philosophy.
Job Requirements:
· Graduate of an accredited School of Nursing (RN or LPN) with a valid state nursing license as required by the state of Oklahoma.
· One year of long term care clinical nursing experience is preferred.
· Knowledge of RAI requirements is preferred.
· Experience with Medicare/Medicaid reimbursement, MDS completion, clinical resource utilization and/pr case management is highly desirable.
· Strong computer, interpersonal, leadership, organizational, and clinical skills.
· Ability to communicate effectively with residents, their families and all levels of the organization.
MDS Functions
Responsible for coordinating the development and completion of the RAI (Resident Assessment Instrument) in accordance with current Federal and state rules, regulations, and guidelines.
· Directs the facility interdisciplinary RAI process.
· Ensures the validity of all Minimum Data Sets before electronic submission. Assures consistency of documentation between MDS and medical records.
· Ensures the timely electronic submission of all MDS assessments.
· Reviews pre-admission orders and daily chart review for the most cost effective treatment management.
· Disseminates any new or updated materials involving the RAI process.
· Audits charts for appropriate Medicare documentation within the guidelines established by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).
· Schedules residents for appropriate OBRA, Medicare PPS and/or Medicaid required assessment.
Interested candidates should apply online at or send resume to EOE

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YWCA staff and volunteers who work to help victims as part of the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner/Domestic Violence Nurse Examiner program. Pictured are: Karla Doctor, YWCA OKC senior officer of sexual violence prevention and response, nurses Lindsay Stringer and Keri Thompson and Amanda Kemp, director of forensic examinations.


by Traci Chapman – staff writer/photographer

YWCA Oklahoma City and nursing might not seem on the surface to be connected – but, in fact, nurses are an integral part of the organization’s mission.
Those nurses are volunteers in an interconnected program that helps those who are at their most vulnerable – scared, many times alone, always injured, whether it be physically, emotionally, financially or a combination of all three. They are sexual assault and domestic violence nurse examiners, and they advocate for victims in ways that go far beyond traditional healthcare.
“An examination is physical, when needed – we look head-to-toe for injuries, we collect forensic evidence, this is an excellent way to assist in a case on behalf of the victim,” said Amanda Kemp, YWCA OKC director of forensic examinations. “But, this is not intrusive, but rather therapeutic – we want to make sure we don’t retraumatize someone.”
The sexual assault and domestic violence nurse examiner program has taken a system in ways broken and, at times, damaging to the victim. Before, many of those victims would come into an emergency room and asked to wait – often for several hours – until they could be examined. The process, when through, could end up only making the assault they had only gone through worse, said Karla Doctor, YWCA OKC senior officer of sexual violence prevention and response.
“Our nurses are on call and go directly to the hospital to conduct the examination, and victims are kept more shielded, not forced to sit in a public emergency department as they feel their most vulnerable, are scared, injured and can think of nothing else but what’s just happened to them,” she said. “These nurses can accomplish more in a single exam than what many might people would even imagine.”
That examination, of course, includes a physical exam – treating and documenting trauma and injuries, as well as forensic evidence collection. While victims can decide not to file a police report, SANE and DVNEs collect that information in case an individual changes their mind later. Nurses also evaluate the need for treatment like emergency contraception or STD prevention. Examinations and medications – as well as advocacy and therapy services – are provided free of charge to patients.
But, perhaps most importantly, Kemp said, nurse examiners and the YWCA sexual response advocates who take part in the examination provide support to someone who might be feeling unimaginable guilt, shame and pain.
“We make a difference because we are there – obviously, we are there to take care of the physical examination, to make sure the victims receive the best possible medical treatment, but there is so much more to it,” Kemp said. “There are the forensic aspects, the importance to preserve evidence and the emotional care for victims who can feel victimized again if an exam isn’t conducted properly.”
Nurse examiners can face an emotional tightrope in dealing with victims. Some want justice, while others do not want to face everything entailed in filing a police report relating to sexual and violent assault. Most importantly, they many times need support in a climate that might – perhaps, even subtly – blame the victim for the incident; even with family and friends, there are often feelings of shame that can lead those victimized down an even darker path, Kemp said.
“So many come forward and nobody believes them – how good a forensic nurse would I be if I didn’t believe them and didn’t collect as much evidence and information as possible, whether they want to report or they’re a case of non-report,” she said. “There are also so many who blame themselves because maybe they were drinking, perhaps there was a consensual situation that led somewhere else.”
“Sexual assault is never a natural consequence – no one deserves to be sexually assaulted,” the forensic exam director said.
The same can be said for domestic assault victims, individuals who are at the mercy of a master manipulator. In those cases, abuse very well might not be physical – sometimes not at all – but the damage still runs deep.
“There is, of course, the mental abuse – many victims are isolated by their abusers, held hostage even to an extent, and then there is the economic abuse,” Doctor said. “A lot of abusers put all of the debt in their victim’s name, they might keep them from working by saying, ‘oh, I want to take care of you’ – but it’s really just a way to keep that control.”
While nurse examiners from the start move beyond traditional medical evaluation procedures, it is after that exam is over that they truly might make a difference, not only for one victim for many. SANE and DVNEs maintain evidence chain of custody and nurses testify as fact witnesses during hearings and at trial.
“A statement made to a nurse examiner can be an exception to the hearsay rule, and that statement can be allowed in the case,” Kemp said. “Everything they tell us is documented, along with evidence of physical injuries – having a nurse be able to represent your story helps.”
Those impacted by domestic violence and sexual assault also have available to them a variety of resources offered by the YWCA to help them after the examination is over. The organization has shelters for those who need them, as well as offering counseling and educational programs that can help a victim move beyond what’s happened to them.
The need for examiners is high, Kemp and Doctor said. The organization’s SANE and DVNEs conduct about 425 to 475 examinations a year. While that number is staggering, what is more alarming are the numbers of women who never receive any kind of examination or treatment, women who are afraid or embarrassed and never report an incident at all.
“I think we should be doing thousands of exams,” Kemp said. “About 90 percent of college students assaulted don’t report for a variety of reasons, and that’s frustrating and frightening.”
YWCA officials hope nurse examiners will turn that tide. Both sexual assault and domestic violence nurse examiners work to empower victims, letting them know that no matter the circumstances of their assault, they are not to blame – and they are not alone.
“Sexual assault is a community issue that moves far beyond victims, their families and the programs that are trying to help them,” Kemp said.
To reach all those who need it, however, YWCA OKC needs RNs willing to step outside a traditional medical environment, individuals willing to volunteer their time and skills to help vulnerable patients who are suffering far beyond any physical injuries they might have. In doing that, Kemp said she and her staff have experiences beyond anything she ever would have expected.
“I get to make a difference with each patient, I get to see them change from a person in crisis to calm and empowered,” she said. “We let them know we believe you, we care, and we can make such a difference in that instance.
“We save lives, sometimes not even realizing the difference we’ve made until much farther down the road,” Kemp said.
Nurses who wish to become sexual assault or domestic violence nurse examiners must have been a full-time practicing RN for a year with an active license and must maintain state-required continuing education, as well as other administrative requirements. Volunteers also complete 30 hours of crisis services training, Kemp said.
To register for SANE training or for more information about taking part in the program, go online to YWCA OKC’s website, located at or contact the organization’s outreach director by emailing or calling 405-948-1770.

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