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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 npofoklahoma.com.

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Dusty Ervin, RN, DON enjoys working at Northwest Surgical Hospital. Her main focus is taking care of the patients and striving for excellence in everything she does.

by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer

Northwest Surgical Hospital is where you will find a team of excellent doctors and outstanding nurses. From orthopedic surgery, joint replacement to reconstruction, you will be in good hands. A nice-sized hospital that is conveniently located at 9204 North May Ave. Oklahoma City, OK.
Meet Dusty Ervin, RN and Director of Nursing who is a caring individual who enjoys her job. With a cheerful smile, she begins to tell me about herself.
Growing up in Luther, OK, Dusty enjoyed her childhood and always knew she would grow up to be a nurse. It must have been that natural TLC that she had as her compassion grew and she decided to carry it a little farther. “It was definitely my calling to be a nurse,” she said.
Dusty was a nurse at Orthopedic Associates, an ambulatory Surgery Center, where she worked for 19 years. “I decided I would move to more of a management positon, so I came here to Northwest Surgical Hospital a few months ago. Orthopedic Associates was a small surgery center and I think this hospital is equivalent in size, which I like. I’ve had a lot of experience in the medical field, including business management. Right now, I am happy to focus on the employees and the patients. I want to put my nursing and business skills together.”
In your opinion, what makes a good nurse? “I think a nurse should have plenty of compassion, be respectable, honest and caring,” Dusty replied.
When I asked Dusty to describe herself, she replied, “Let’s see…I have a lot of compassion for others. I am a patient person and I strive for excellence in everything I set out to do,” Dusty commented. “We have something that we call the Value System and I like to instill that in every nurse. It’s called, Cares Values. C-Compassion is required A-Attitude is valued R- Respect is demanded E-Excellence is expected S-Service is commended. I like for our nurses to embody that value system and pass it on to our patients,” she replied.
“As far as the employees go, we have a wonderful group of employees. We have 8 excellent doctors that come here consistently, outstanding nurses, a Paramedic and a Patient Care Tech. The hospital has 3 operating rooms and 9 inpatient beds, 2 Pre-op rooms and 2 PACU. This hospital is quaint and a really nice place; the patients get kind of a boutique care or so they say. The patients seem to like it better than a big hospital,” Dusty commented.
Dusty’s hobbies include shopping, hanging out with her friends, and running, but most of all, she likes spending time with her kids. “I also ran in the Memorial Marathon this last year. I really like to donate my time for worthy causes like that,” she said. As far as pets, her family is the proud owners of three Schnauzers and one Lab. “That’s a little bit of a hobby,” she added.
One of Dusty’s qualities about herself is the fact that she is a very honest person. “I also have a sense of humor. I think anyone in the medical field should have a sense of humor. It makes things go a little smoother,” she said. “Well, it does for me anyway.”
Commenting on advice for someone going into the medical field, Dusty said, “I would tell them to just have some compassion for others, be able to work as a team, get along with everyone, be caring and don’t be afraid to form a solid relationship with your coworkers.”
Dusty’s typical day keeps her busy. “I’m in charge of all the nurses, their work schedules, scheduling the doctors for surgeries and just making sure everything is running smoothly. Even though this is a small hospital, we are always busy,” she said. “Of course, team work is so important around here and we all work together.”
Is there anything interesting that you would like to share about yourself? I ask. “Well, my husband is a nurse too. In fact, he is the Director of Surgical Services at the North Community Campus. Technically, we work for the same company. We are both capable of taking care of each other if we get hurt. Our children are really in luck,” she added.
Ending on a little humor, I asked Dusty what her very first job was. She laughed and said, “My very first job was working at Mr. Pizza in Harrah, OK. They don’t even exist now!”

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James Murunga, RN, Norman Regional Health System’s 2018 Healer of the Year.

James Murunga, RN, was chosen as Norman Regional Health System’s 2018 Healer of the Year.
Murunga was Healer of the Month in May 2018, and was one of 12 employees in the running for Healer of the Year.
“When I started here, I never thought of anything like this. It’s a very humbling experience and it’s been that way since May when I was selected as the Healer of the Month,” Murunga said. I give my coworkers all the credit because I think it has very little to do with me and a lot to do with them. They thought I was worthy of this.”
Murunga said that as Healer of the Year, he wants to be a resource to other healers within Norman Regional Health System.
“I’m going to definitely enjoy this, but I also know that I have to give back. I don’t know how, but maybe just by helping other people. There’s no way I can possibly thank these people enough, but I’ll be a resource to them every day and help them with whatever they need,” Murunga said.
Murunga has been working for Norman Regional since December 2014. He works on a Medical-Surgical unit (4N) and has had the opportunity to work on other units, including 2 NE, 3NW, Ortho-Spine, and Rehab.
In his position, Murunga completes key registered nurse functions, physician orders and other duties as assigned by the nurse manager and charge nurse. Those duties includes teaming up with other departments in the assessment and implementation of patient care, as well as evaluating outcomes against set department and hospital-wide goals.
Whenever he is called upon to serve as the charge nurse, his additional responsibilities include working in conjunction with the nurse manager and the staffing office to complete staff assignment, delegate tasks and provide leadership for a safe and more-efficient unit.
Murunga said his favorite part of working at NRHS are the people.
“I work with a great team,” he said.
Murunga was born in Kenya, East Africa; but has lived in this area for 12 years. He received his Associate Degree in nursing from Oklahoma City Community College, and is currently completing his BSN in nursing at Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford.
Murunga said his love for food sometimes leads him to “unusual experiences.”
“I once took a train from Oklahoma to Fort Worth just to eat barbecue ribs at the stock yards, then took the next train back,” he said.
Murunga’s favorite pastime is theater. He enjoys watching plays on a stage.

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or call Julia Burleson BSN RN CHCR at 405.307.1554 for more information
An Equal Opportunity Employer
Norman Regional Health System
NormanRegional.com

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Adianne Ayers and INTEGRIS Team.

How the Team at INTEGRIS Saved Her Life

 

In February of this year, 40-year-old Adrianne Ayers, a single mom raising three teenagers by herself, began to feel ill. As a registered nurse, she self-diagnosed it as the flu. “I was tired, achy, had a fever,” she recalls. “All the usual flu symptoms.” But in typical mom-fashion, she pushed through, thinking the virus would simply run its course. After all, Ayers was in the best shape of her life. She had recently lost 100 pounds and was eating well and exercising regularly. “I never got sick, I thought this was something that would pass.”
After a couple more days of feeling lousy, Ayers went to an urgent care clinic where it was confirmed that she did indeed have the flu. She spent the next couple of days in bed with no improvement. Until finally things got so bad, that her then 16-year-old son called 911.
She was taken to St. Anthony Hospital where she worked. There, it was discovered that she not only had the flu, but pneumonia and strep-throat as well. It was a nasty combination with near fatal consequences. “I was unconscious at this point so I don’t remember any of it, but I was told that on top of everything I also had a flesh-eating type of MRSA that was attacking my lungs,” says Ayers. “In fact, they were shutting down, so were my heart and my kidneys. My doctor at St. Anthony’s knew that extracorporeal membrane oxygenation, known as ECMO, was my only hope.” Ayers was transferred to INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center to receive the last resort lifesaving technique.
ECMO provides both cardiac and respiratory support to patients whose heart and/or lungs are so severely diseased or damaged that they can no longer serve their function; perhaps after a heart attack, cardiac surgery, pulmonary embolism, near drowning or lung-related issues such as flu or pneumonia.
The therapy continually pumps blood from the patient via a tube inserted into the groin vessels or neck vein. The blood is pumped through an artificial lung that imitates the gas exchange process of the lung, removing carbon dioxide and adding oxygen, before returning the blood to the patient. The goal is to allow the heart or lungs to rest and recover while the machine does all the work. When the heart or the lungs have healed and can work on their own, the lifesaving support of the ECMO artificial heart/lung machine is weaned then removed.
“In Adrianne’s case, this took longer than most,” says Michael Harper, M.D., with the Advanced Critical Care and Acute Circulatory Support team at INTEGRIS. “She was dependent on ECMO for 119 days, whereas a typical patient is usually on this therapy for 10 to 14 days. To date, she holds the record for being on ECMO the longest of any of our patients.”
But Dr. Harper says things got worse for Ayers, before they got better. “She was in really bad shape. An army of machines were keeping her alive. She was on ECMO, she was on a ventilator, she was on dialysis. There was even talk of transplantation. We thought at one point she may need combined lung and kidney transplantation.”
Ayers was sedated and unconscious for most of this, but remembers coming to, in April. “I got sick in February and now I wake up in the hospital hooked up to all these machines and they tell me it is April. I was terrified. I mean, I’m a nurse and I had never even heard of ECMO and now I was on it. I trusted the nurses and doctors, but I was scared of the unknown.”
Ayers required extensive multi-disciplinary care and truly innovative thinking. She was enrolled in the ATHOS 3 Expanded Access Protocol for Giapreza clinical trial and was one of only 10 patients in the world to have received the therapy while on ECMO at the time. She also benefitted from an off-label use of the Olympus Spiration endobronchial valve, a device no physicians in the Oklahoma City metro area had experience with until now. As a result of this unique combination of medical modalities, Ayers’ condition began to improve.
“Her hospital stay was long and undoubtedly expensive, but she will survive to raise her three children,” declares Harper. “I can honestly say that no other hospital in this region, and in most places in the United States, could have provided all that she required. I am proud to have been a part of it and to be at a center that is able to offer such high level care.”
Ayers was released from the hospital this July and is back at home with her children. She is on oxygen and is receiving outpatient physical therapy. She says life is slowly returning to normal and she feels stronger every day. She is eternally grateful for the second chance she was given.
“ECMO and medical technology played a role in my survival; the doctors, nurses and support staff played a role in my survival; my children played a role in my survival; prayers from my friends and family played a role in my survival – and of course, God,” concludes Ayers. “I’ve been in health care since 1998 and this was by far the best collective care I’ve ever witnessed. I owe them my life.”

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Cynthia Bennett LPN and Skilled Unit Manager enjoys her job at Bellevue Health and Rehabilitation.

by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer

Welcome to Bellevue Health and Rehabilitation, a family company with 60 years’ experience. Here, the licensed nursing and treatment team work together to develop a plan to meet their guests’ needs. Individual programs are designed, supervised and executed by a team of specialists. The team includes physicians, nurses, therapists, nutritional consultants and mental health professionals.
Services close by include, Physicians, Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy, 24 our nursing staff, Cardiac Rehab, IV Therapy, Neuro-Muscular Theory, Orthopedic Rehab, Respiratory Therapy, and Stroke Rehab Wound Care, Family On-Site 7 days a week.
Meet Cynthia Bennett, LPN and Skilled Unit Manager. Cynthia served in the U.S. Army for 8 years, going to nursing school in the military. She has been a nurse for 22 years, going on 23, and has been at Bellevue Health and Rehabilitation for a total of 14 years. “This is a wonderful place to work, it’s a great company and I love my job,” Cynthia commented.
Growing up in Chicago, it was quite an adventure moving to Oklahoma but Cynthia adjusted to it well.
When I asked Cynthia what qualities she thought made a good nurse, her answers were quick and precise. “They would need critical thinking skills, time management, be able to pay attention to detail, have organization skills and most important, have a caring heart,” she said.
Cynthia’s favorite part of her job is the fact that she can make a difference in a patient’s life. Cynthia is good at putting a smile on her patient’s face and forming a personal connection. She understands how they are going through rough times; away from their family, their surroundings, their pets, and it can be hard! “The more I can make my patient happy, the harder they will try to get better so they can go home. Getting to know a little more about the patient, getting to form that personal connection is enough to make the patient feel better, making it easier for them to accept the many changes in their lives,” she said.
One of Cynthia’s biggest strengths is the fact that she always does her job. She would never tell anyone to do a job that she wouldn’t do herself. “I feel like I always give 110 percent, no matter what the situation is,” she said. A real challenge is when she is not able to fix the problem or able to fix the patient, that patient isn’t healing as well as they expect and this is when reality sets it. The patient can’t always be fixed.
Between Cynthia’s husband, who is an x-ray technician, and her two kids, she also has 5 dogs and a cat. “If I could open a kennel, I would,” she said with a smile. Most of her dogs have been rescue dogs.
Cynthia’s hobbies include putting models together, coloring and puzzles. In other words, anything that helps her destress. “All of those activities are very relaxing for me and it works wonders each time,” she said.
Are you a leader or a follower? I ask. “Well, I am both. When it comes to work, I am a good leader. Also, I am a good follower. I think a person needs both of them. I am a leader when it comes to the nurses, and a follower to authority. Being a nurse gives me a good balance of both and I think that is very important. When you have both, they become very effective.”
What is the one thing that people will always remember about you? I ask. “I think they will always know that I am willing to do that job that someone else might not want to do. I am not beyond them. A few words that I like to live by are: every day is a new day, start each day as a brand new day, keep personal life as a personal life, and don’t bring your problems to work,” Cynthia commented.
A heartfelt thank you to Cynthia Bennett for serving in the Military. She is an excellent nurse with a caring heart. To all the men and women that have served their country, past and present, thank you!

Oklahoma’s largest healthcare network is still growing.
Be part of a rapidly growing, locally owned and operated, not-for-profit organization dedicated to the health and wellness of eastern Oklahoma. As Oklahoma’s largest healthcare provider, Saint Francis Health System invites you to experience a personally and professionally fulfilling career on the cutting edge of quality and technology.
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**
• With hospital campuses and Warren Clinic locations throughout eastern Oklahoma, we offer opportunities in virtually any nursing capacity
Saint Francis Health System includes:
• Saint Francis Hospital
• The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis
• Warren Clinic
• The Heart Hospital at Saint Francis
• Saint Francis Hospital South
• Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital
• Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee
• Saint Francis Hospital Vinita
• Saint Francis Glenpool (opening September 2018)
Explore nursing opportunities with Saint Francis Health System today. To view our current openings, please visit saintfrancis.com/nursing. For more information, please call 918-807-6048 or toll-free 800-888-9553.
*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 studentaid.ed.gov.
Equal Opportunity Employer: Disability/Veteran

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If you were a flower, what kind of flower would you be and why? Children’s Center – Bethany

I would be a sunflower because they are big and bright.

Amanda McKenzie, PAA

I would be a lily because of their delicate beauty.

Callie Rinehart, Nurse Educator

I would be a daisy because they are happy.

Anna Lawson, LPN

I would be a tulip because they are spunky!

McKenzie Jennings PAA

AllianceHealth Midwest
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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EOE

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Q. I finally found a great guy after experiencing several “you’ve got to be kidding me” dates. I gave up and planned some new activities that did not include dating. Then Mike surfaced. But something is bothering me and I wanted your opinion.
— Candice

A. I realize I was somewhat “needy” for a guy who was respectful, communicative and stable, just to name a few of the qualities I had on my list. I really did plan not to date anymore and invest my time somewhere else. Then I saw Mike on facebook. We had known each other many years ago so I decided to connect with him. We met for coffee and had an instant chemistry.
I really love him and he definitely “checks all the boxes.” He gives me a lot of attention and affection, goes out of his way to show me his love, i.e., dropping by the nail salon to bring me my favorite coffee. Now you may be asking how did he know where my nail salon was located; he has a GPS app that lets him know where I am. (Lets think about that for a moment……….dating for 2 months and a GPS tracker??)
He wants to buy a house which will require both of our incomes but Mike says we cannot live together unless we are married. So when we buy a house I will be paying for it but not living in it unless we are married. This all seems so fast. Its all good, I love him but it seems so fast.
Do you think it is fast? When you think about marriage, it is probably best to put a lot of thought into the decision which means taking your time. Also something else to consider — buying a home together is a huge purchase. You are talking about marriage and buying a home after dating a man for a couple of months that you have not seen or talked to for several years.
Also consider that you had put your life on a different path with new and exciting plans and suddenly you find Mike and the ball starts rolling very fast. You have not had much time to catch your breath before having some big decisions to make.
If you are feeling things are moving too fast then they probably are!! Do you have to buy a house right now? Can he buy the house and then you get married when you are ready; not because Mike says you can’t live in the house unless you are married? Also, if Mike wants to buy a house but needs your income to make it happen…….do you want to buy a house right now?
Candice, I would encourage you to get off the train at the next station and really think about the plan Mike has and soul search if this is also the plan you want.

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

Companion Healthcare is accepting applications for an RN Case Manager for Private Care services.
The RN Case Manager will meet with prospective clients and provide professional assessment of the needs and desires of clients.
They will help coordinate the total plan of care and maintain continuity of care by interacting with other health professionals.
Requirements:
· Current Oklahoma RN license
· Graduate of an approved school of professional nursing
· One year experience in home health field preferred
· Demonstrate knowledge and skills necessary to provide care primarily to the geriatric population
· Valid Oklahoma driver’s license
· Must pass criminal background check
Companion Healthcare is a local family-owned company with offices in Guthrie, Edmond and Stillwater.
Benefits:
· Competitive Salary
· Paid Time Off
· Medical/Dental/Prescription/Vision/Life Insurance
· Matching 401K
· Company Car
APPLY ONLINE: www.companionhealth.net

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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 npofoklahoma.com.

Oklahoma City-County Health Department
PUBLIC HEALTH NURSE
Public Health Nurse position is available in various departments.
· Monday-Friday work schedule · Paid holidays · Annual leave · Sick leave · Retirement plan · Medical, Dental, Vision and Life insurance
Apply online at www.occhd.org
AA/EOE

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Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Bob Axtell, Ph.D.

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Bob Axtell, Ph.D., has received a four-year grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a rare autoimmune disease called neuromyelitis optica (NMO).
The grant, awarded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, will provide Axtell with $2.8 million to study NMO and investigate its similarities to other autoimmune diseases, particularly multiple sclerosis. Another primary focus will be to study why medications for multiple sclerosis, namely interferon beta, actually make NMO symptoms worse.
NMO, like all autoimmune diseases, occurs when the immune system attacks its own healthy tissues as if they were harmful invaders. In NMO, the body primarily attacks the optic nerves and spinal cord, resulting in inflammation that can cause severe pain and vision loss. In severe instances, NMO can invade regions of the brain or the brain stem.
“NMO was initially considered a subset of multiple sclerosis and is so similar to MS that it often gets misdiagnosed,” said Axtell, a scientist in OMRF’s Arthritis and Clinical Immunology Research Program. “This can be devastating for patients. One of the main things we’re trying to understand is how interferon increases disease in NMO.”
Interferon is a protein naturally produced by the body that is released in the cells in response to a virus and helps to prevent the virus from replicating. In MS, interferon levels are lower, requiring interferon beta treatment to bring the levels back to normal levels. But in NMO, the interferon levels appear to be elevated, possibly explaining why treatment with interferon beta worsens symptoms.
Axtell said, “In theory, therapeutically inhibiting interferon could benefit NMO patients, but there are a lot of good things about interferon, so blocking it entirely could have negative consequences,” said Axtell, who joined OMRF from Stanford University in 2013. “If we can understand the different molecular pathways that interferon activate in NMO patients, we may discover new, more effective and safe ways to treat this disease.”
With that knowledge, said Axtell, researchers hope to develop new therapies for NMO. There are currently no approved therapies for the disease.
“This is a great opportunity, and we are motivated to be a part of the solution,” said Axtell. “People are becoming more aware of the disease and are working on better diagnostic tools to identify it. The more we understand, the better the outlook will be for people struggling with this horrible condition.”
The grant, 1 R01 AI137047, is funded through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a part of the National Institutes of Health.

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The American Nurses Credentialing Center has designated INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital as a Pathway to Excellence® hospital for the second consecutive four-year term.
The Pathway to Excellence designation identifies elements of work environments where nurses can flourish. This distinction substantiates the professional satisfaction of INTEGRIS Canadian Valley nurses and identifies it as one of the best places to work.
“This national designation showcases the accomplishments of the INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Nursing department,” says Teresa Gray, vice president of Patient Care Services, chief nursing officer at INTEGRIS Canadian Valley. “Our hospital could not have been awarded this honor without our nurses’ dedication and commitment to our patients, their families, their colleagues and to the nursing profession. Achieving the Pathway to Excellence accreditation reflects our nursing team’s commitment to our INTEGRIS mission of improving the health of the people and communities we serve.”
The designation is granted based on the confirmed presence of characteristics known as Pathway to Excellence Criteria. To be named as a Pathway to Excellence organization, a hospital must undergo successfully a thorough review process that documents foundational quality initiatives in creating a positive work environment, as defined by nurses and supported by research. These initiatives must be present in the facility’s practices, policies and culture. Nurses in the organization verify the presence of the criteria in the organization through participation in a completely confidential online survey.
“We’ve worked to build a culture of trust and respect,” notes Gray. “By meeting the ANCC’s goals, we’re inspired to continue building on that foundation to give our nurses the tools and resources to provide the best possible patient care. “
“I am honored to work with such a dedicated group of individuals who are committed to our healing culture of not only caring for our patients, but for one another,” says hospital president Rex Van Meter. “To receive the Pathway to Excellence designation consecutively is a testament to our hospital, our nurses and to our medical staff whose support during this process is as appreciated as it is invaluable.”
As a Pathway to Excellence designated organization, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley is committed to nurses, to what nurses identify as important to their practice, and to valuing nurses’ workplace contributions. This designation confirms to the public that nurses working at INTEGRIS Canadian Valley know their efforts are supported. The honor encourages other nurses to join their colleagues in this desirable and nurturing environment.

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