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The Power of Palliative Care: Sponsored by Norman Regional Health Systems & Foundation 

When: Wednesday, April 4, 2018 at 7:30am CT – 4:30pm CT.
Where: Norman Regional Health System Education Center, 901 North Porter Avenue, Norman, OK 73071. CE Credits: This event offers 5.0 CE credits to attendees. CE accredited by Norman Regional Health System through ANCC. Topic: Introduction to Palliative Care, Symptom Management, Advance Care Planning, Communication & Cultural & Ethical Issues. Speaker(s): Jeffrey Alderman, MD: Director of the Institute for Healthcare Delivery Sciences Additional Information: This Educational Event is being sponsored by the Palliative Care Oncology Fund of Norman Regional Health System and Foundation. For questions or concerns please contact Bridget Pekah, DNP, MSN, RN at or via 405-307-1517. Applications have been submitted to offer CEs to nurses, social workers and respiratory therapists.

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Knee Center for Strong Families Positive Aging Initiative Continuing Education Program in Social Work and Counseling

When: Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 8:30am CT – 4:30pm CT Where: NorthCare of Oklahoma City, 2617 General Pershing Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK 73107. CE Credits: This event offers 6.0 CE credits to attendees. CE accredited by Continuing Education Approved: LCSW, LSW, LSW-Adm. (6.5 hrs., including one hour of ethics) Home Care and Hospice Administrators (6.5 hrs., including one hour of ethics) LADC (6.5 hrs., including one hour of ethics) LPC and LMFT (6hrs., including one hour of ethics) LPNs, RNs (6.5 hrs., including one hour of ethics) Continuing Education Requested: Nursing Home Administrators and Certified Assistant Administrators (6 hrs.) RC/AL, Residential Care, and Adult Day Administrators (6 hrs.). Cost: $65.00 with CE credits $20.00 without CE credits Lunch will be provided. Topic: Full list provided here: PosAgeConfAgenda_2018 Speaker(s): Roberto E. Medina, MD Assistant Professor Reynolds Department of Geriatric Medicine Mark A Stratton, Pharm.D., BCGP, FASHP Professor Emeritus OU College of Pharmacy Jacqueline L. Millspaugh, M.Ed., LPC Clinical Support Manager Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services Karen Orsi, BA Director Oklahoma Mental Health and Aging Coalition. Additional Information: For information and accommodations please contact Diane Freeman by phone (405)325-2822 or Sponsored by OU Fran Ziegler and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing.

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Teresa Bomhak, RN, pictured in the courtyard of Mercy Hospital El Reno, is inspired by her faith and commitment to patients to expand her care to others.

by Traci Chapman, Staff Writer

For Teresa Bomhak, working in an emergency room is everything she could want in a position – the opportunity to help those in need on the front lines, a dream team of both a supervisor and co-workers and an employer that understands how she approaches nursing make for a pretty perfect working life, she says.
“We have a great group of nurses in the ED, and I love working with our team – we are truly blessed to have a great support group,” Bomhak said. “Our ED supervisor is amazing and always there to lend a helping hand when we need it.”
That group is the emergency department team at Mercy Hospital El Reno, where Bomhak serves as charge nurse. It’s a fast-paced, ever-evolving atmosphere that revolves around teamwork, not just within the emergency department, but throughout the 45-bed hospital.
“When other departments need assistance, I work with them to get the problems resolved,” she said.
It’s a job she said she was meant to do, but not where she started out. In fact, now entering her ninth year in nursing, Bomhak said sometimes it seems unreal it hasn’t been longer.
But, while Bomhak wasn’t always a nurse, she always knew that caring for people was her calling, she said. She worked as a paramedic for 17 years before heading back to Rose State College for her associates in nursing degree.
She became an RN in March 2009 – but, even before Bomhak made the switch, she knew what working in the emergency room was all about, assigned as a hospital-based paramedic and working in that department when not responding to emergency services calls, she said.
It was a great job and something she loved. But, something that might have been seen by many as a life-changing setback changed the now 54-year-old’s path, when she was involved in a 19-car automobile accident. Dearing with a fractured sternum and unable to lift patients as she had in the past, the longtime paramedic had a choice – to give in or turn what could be seen as a negative situation into something even better.
“I loved doing what I did and didn’t want to give up patient care, so I went back and pursued my nursing degree,” Bomhak said.
Working for Mercy Hospital El Reno was really a no-brainer. A self-described country girl living with her husband of 17 years on a farm outside El Reno, treating people in her own community was not only fulfilling; it also met a deeper purpose.
Deeply faithful, Bomhak said Mercy’s mission resonated with her own faith. The tenets of Sisters of Mercy, the basis of everything the giant health care provider does, began and remain as deeply ingrained into its philosophy – dignity, excellence, justice, service and stewardship.
“While all five values are important to how we make decisions, dignity is the base on which all the others rest,” Mercy’s mission states. “Because all people are created in the image and likeness of God, each person deserves to be treated with respect.”
That philosophy was one true to Bomhak’s heart.
“First and foremost, I am a Christian,” she said. “I love the Lord with all my heart and have been blessed beyond measure.”
That faith sustains Bomhak both personally and professionally. Her blended family of five sons, one daughter and five grandchildren faced the death of one granddaughter the day of her birth; that test only further strengthened her faith and conviction to help others, those who know her said.
“I just want to be able to maintain the ability to help and serve others,” Bomhak said.
That wish was one reason Bomhak and fellow MHER nurse Brooke Wix decided to expand beyond what normally would be seen as emergency room duties. The pair recently completed their SANE – sexual assault nurse examiner – training. Administered by Kathy Bell MS, RN, Tulsa Police Department forensic nursing administrator, the program focuses on treating and guiding specialized nurse examiners in not only identifying injuries, but also collecting evidence and working with advocates who help victims deal with what could be the most traumatic experience of their lives.
Although still in the early stages, Bomhak serves as coordinator of a program ultimately designed to be the first SANE resource in Canadian County – and one she and Wix hope to extend far beyond the El Reno hospital, they said. Already partnered with Women’s Service and Family Resource Center, also located in the Canadian county seat that nonprofit will provide the advocates working with the two sexual assault nurse examiners to help patients move beyond being a victim, Bomhak said.
“We’re currently working on coordinating an office space and getting everything prepared – getting prepared for the sign-off on protocols; we’ve been working with local churches to prepare clothing and care bag donations for the people we’ll be treating,” she said. “We’re so excited to be able to provide this to people locally, who have always been forced to go to Oklahoma City for help.”

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Norman Regional Health System’s ultraviolet technology helped fight the flu at 15 central Oklahoma schools recently.

NRH sheds light on outbreak

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Clyde Brawner has worked for Norman Regional Health System for 33 years now.
But the director of environmental services and distribution transportation has never seen his organization have the kind of impact in such a short period as it did recently.
“Our health system CEO (Richie Splitt) saw the rise of flu cases as something that we as a health system needed to involve ourselves with from a community outreach stance,” Brawner said.
While the flu was raving Cleveland County and the rest of Oklahoma, Splitt visited with the superintendents from Moore, Noble and Norman public schools to work out the logistics that would bring the same germ fighting technology Norman Regional employs in patient areas to the classroom.
All three districts were more than willing to invite the Xenex robots and Norman Regional employees into the schools.
Eleven germ-fighting robots descended upon central Oklahoma recently to fight germs including the flu virus in local schools.
The XENEX Lightstrike Germ-Zapping Robot is a UV disinfection robot.
The robot uses a pulsed xenon lamp to create intense germicidal ultraviolet light that effectively kills the germs that cause serious infections such as influenza, C. difficile, MRSA and more.
Xenex drop-shipped the robots at the school sites and Norman Regional healers followed behind.
“We have certified users within the health system,” Brawner explained. “We developed three teams composed of four to five employees along with school custodial workers. We trained the custodial workers on the use of the devices and the super users from the health system actually oversaw the teams as they went about disinfecting the classrooms.”
“What it does is disinfect by changing or distorting the DNA makeup so that organisms, viruses, germs or spores can not replicate,” Brawner said.
The machines look like R2D2 with the ability to emit UV light 10 times brighter than the surface of the sun.
Within the health system, Brawner explained the robots are used in the terminal clean process, disinfecting a 14-foot radius per cycle. Typically rooms are run in two or three five-minute cycles.
Feedback was impressive.
“Everybody was so thankful we partnered with them,” Brawner said.
Brawner learned that at one particular Norman school no new flu cases were reported the week of the Xenex cleaning.
“I was impressed when I heard that one,” he said. “I will tell you it really was a great opportunity to do that.”
For the past two years, Norman Regional Health System has used its four Lightstrike robots daily to enhance safety by disinfecting patient rooms and other hospital areas.
The health system has been impressed for the last two years utilizing the robots, reporting a 35-percent drop in healthcare acquired infections.
Richie Splitt, president and CEO of Norman Regional, said since the hospital had seen great results, it wanted to share the robots’ capabilities with the community.
“Norman Regional is committed to improving the health of our community, both inside and outside our hospital doors. If we could provide a robot in every classroom we would, but we’re doing the next best thing by sending 11 robots to our partners at local schools to fight the flu,” Splitt said. “As a healthcare provider, we’ve seen how illness can spread quickly and we know that children learn better when they are healthy. Through this partnership with XENEX and local schools we are helping to keep our kids, educators, and parents healthy.”
Norman Regional has expanded its Xenex use to elevators, restrooms, and clinics to help curb the virus.
Matt Crowe, Xenex territory manager, said Norman Regional’s request for extra robots was an easy one to fulfill.
“Norman Regional is dedicated to creating the safest environment possible and we are extremely proud to help them protect the communities that they serve,” Crowe said. “Xenex is the global leader in UV disinfection and our Germ-Zapping Robots are highly effective against the resistant pathogens that challenge our cities and our hospitals the most: C. difficile, MRSA, Norovirus and Influenza.
“Through our combined efforts this week, we are proactively making a safer environment for all of these students and teachers. Families in these school districts should be thankful to have a health system so dedicated to their well-being.”
After the week, the extra robots were returned to XENEX, but Norman Regional’s four permanent robots kept working throughout the system.
Norman Regional Health System Infection Prevention Specialist Julie Smith, RN, MS, CIC says hospital sites around the country have shown impressive declines in organisms by using the system including:
B 70% reduction in ICU C. diff infection rates
B 53% reduction in C. diff infection rates
B 57% reduction in MRSA infection rates
B 100% elimination of VRE in isolation rooms

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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.

visit: for more information.

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AllianceHealth Seminole is one of only 946 hospitals out of more than 3,600 across the country that has been rated a four-star hospital by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on its Hospital Compare website.
According to CMS, the intent of the Hospital Compare website and the star ratings is to help patients and their families learn about the quality of hospitals and compare facilities in their area. The goal is also to help patients be better equipped to ask important questions about quality of care when visiting a hospital or other health care provider.
“We’re very proud of our hospital team members for their strong and shared commitment to patient satisfaction, quality, and safety. While we are thrilled with our progress, we will continue to push for improvement until we reach 5-stars.” said AllianceHealth Seminole CEO Adam Bracks. “Our physicians, nurses and clinicians continue to work hard every day to provide quality care that the Seminole community deserves.”
AllianceHealth Seminole exceeded the national average and is in the top 10% for Timeliness of Care and 30 Day Unplanned Readmissions measures. AllianceHealth Seminole also is better than the national average in 30 day mortality for COPD and Heart Failure.
In a survey of patients’ experiences, AllianceHealth Seminole ranked in the top 25% in the nation for cleanliness and quietness of the hospital environment. In addition, 2017 data demonstrated communication with doctors, pain management, responsiveness of hospital staff and communication of medications also ranked nationally in the top 25%.
“We are proud to provide such quality care so close to home for the residents of Seminole. We remain dedicated to being a great place for patients to receive care.” Bracks said.

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Four-leaf clovers are known as symbols of good luck, but did you know they are genetically mutated three-leaf clovers?

The four-leaf clover has long been considered a symbol of good luck.
While it’s unknown where the tradition originated, four-leaf clovers are most commonly associated with Ireland because of the island’s high rate of producing the rare four-leaf variety. It has since become a symbol for the St. Patrick’s Day holiday.
The four leaves are said to represent hope, faith, love and luck. But they also represent something else: genetic mutation.
“Believe it or not, four-leaf clovers aren’t a specific type of clover. These lucky charms actually are mutants,” said Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Courtney Montgomery, Ph.D.
Clovers bearing four leaves are rare because they are genetically mutated three-leaf clovers. The four-leaf variety only occurs once in approximately every 5,000 three-leaf clovers. Reported instances of five-leaf and six-leaf clovers are all mutants of the three-leaf variety.
“These mutations occur because of changes in the sequences of the plant’s DNA, or changes in gene structure,” said Montgomery.
And clovers aren’t alone. Even humans undergo mutations of varying degrees. To understand these mutations and how they occur in everything from a clover to a human, it’s important to know a little about genetics.
“Think of your genetic makeup like a book,” she said. “Your genome is the whole book, and the proteins are sentences. The base pairs that make up the DNA are the letters. But the genetic alphabet only has four letters (or chemicals) to create the words that make up everything in the book.”
Those four chemicals—adenine, thymine, cytosine and guanine—comprise the story of you, your neighbor or even a four-leaf clover. Used in countless combinations, sequences and orders, they result in a book you’d struggle to read, with about 3 billion base pairs in a single set of human DNA.
“These A, T, G, C sequences in genes determine things like hair color, height, susceptibility to certain diseases and much more,” said Montgomery, who studies genetics on the human front in autoimmune diseases like lupus and sarcoidosis.
A single change in the order or number of these chemicals can result in mutations, and the changes are permanent. Certain mutations can even have observable consequences, like a fourth leaf on a shamrock.
While they make us unique, sometimes these changes can have negative consequences, contributing to diseases like asthma, heart disease and cancer, all of which have a genetic component. Sickle cell anemia is a rare disease almost exclusively controlled by genetic mutations.
“We all have mutations in our DNA, a lot of them actually,” Montgomery said. “But we tend to categorize them based on whether or not they result in a change we can see. But some can be completely benign and have no health consequences of any kind.”
Researchers are just beginning to truly understand mutations, because the science of genetic sequencing has only recently progressed to the point where DNA can be tested against parents and other family members, she said.
“These advancements could lead to a wide range of new discoveries by helping us better understand the role genetic mutations play in human health,” she said. “When we find those answers, the research could bring all of us plenty of good luck for the future.”

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This column is dedicated to all the parents who are making parenting a priority. The words that you need to hear are “thank you.” I want you to know how much you are appreciated. The following are some suggestions entitled, “Traits of a Healthy Family.” Remember no one can do them all but many of you are checking off many of the boxes.

B The healthy family communicates and listens. I just have to say it……..COMMUNICATION AND LISTENING DOES NOT INVOLVE A CELL PHONE!!!!!
B The healthy family affirms and supports each other. (This can be accomplished in a single parent home as well as two parents).
B The healthy family teaches respect. (This is super important).
B The healthy family develops a sense of trust. (Try growing up and not trusting).
B The healthy family has a sense of play and humor. (This helps children learn how to balance the stress of life with some fun and laughter.)
B The healthy family exhibits a sense of shared responsibility-it is taught. (Everyone needs chores.)
B The healthy family teaches a sense of right and wrong. (Children have to be taught to be responsible for their own moral behavior and it is the parent’s task to teach).
B The healthy family respects the privacy of one another. (Yet also becomes aware if their child appears to be spending too much time in privacy,)
B The healthy family admits to and seeks help with problems. (No family does it perfectly, in fact lets just get rid of the word perfect. When parents seek help it means they don’t have the answers but care enough to ask and then follow thru with behavioral changes.)
Here is a good example of what not to do:
John T called to set an appointment for his 8 year old son. I told him that I needed to speak to him first and he reluctantly agreed. He said his son, Craig was depressed and not sleeping well and thought he might need medication. I met Craig the following day. He was a cute little boy who looked sad and lethargic.
He sat down beside me and we began to draw. He drew a picture of an adult man and young boy throwing a football. I asked if that was him and his dad. He softly said, “I wish it was but my dad sits in front of his computer and tells me he will play with me, then it gets dark and he says it is time for bed. He was very sad as he talked about his dad.
It was now time to talk to his father again. I told John that I was not the person that John needed, nor did I think Craig needed medication. I told John that Craig needed HIM. I showed him the picture that Craig drew and shared his story. I suggested the best medication would be to spend quality time with Craig, especially throwing the football. I will never forget his question.
John looked at me and said, “How long do I have to throw it?”
(PS……that was the last time I saw John and his son).

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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What do you want to accomplish or get out of nursing? Integris Canadian Valley Medical Surg Floor

I want to be med/surg nationally certified and maybe in five years go to NP school.  Megan Guarnera, RN

I’m finishing my BSN but after that I don’t really know yet. I want to explore more areas. Emily Timm, RN

My career goal is to be an NP. Danny Williamson, RN, FNP

I want to be able to just give back to the community. Jasmine Draper, RN



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AllianceHealth Midwest is now offering patients with bradycardia the world’s smallest pacemaker. At one-tenth the size of a traditional pacemaker, this smaller device does not require cardiac wires (leads) or a surgical “pocket” under the skin. Instead, the device is small enough to be delivered through a catheter and implanted directly into the heart, providing safe therapy while being cosmetically invisible. The first procedure at AllianceHealth Midwest was recently performed by interventional cardiologist, Asim Chohan, M.D.
“This fully programmable pacemaker has a battery life that is comparable to standard pacemakers of about 12 years,” stated Dr. Asim Chohan. “Implanting a pacemaker through a catheter is less invasive and has less complications associated with a standard pacemaker because there are no wires leading into the heart”
Patients with bradycardia are affected by a slow or irregular heart rhythm, usually fewer than 60 beats per minute. At this rate, the heart is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body during normal activity or exercise, causing dizziness, fatigue, shortness of breath or fainting spells. Pacemakers are the most common way to treat bradycardia to help restore the heart’s normal rhythm and relieve symptoms by sending electrical impulses to the heart to increase the heart rate.
AllianceHealth Midwest is an Accredited Chest Pain Center and offers a wide-range of cardiac services including outpatient care, interventional cardiology and cardiovascular surgery. To learn more about the cardiovascular capabilities at AllianceHealth Midwest, visit our heart care section.