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The March of Dimes recently held their annual awards banquet and, as usual, INTEGRIS was well represented.
Etta Nelson from INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital received the night’s highest honor, the Lifetime Achievement Award. Etta has been with INTEGRIS for 44 years and is most deserving of this prestigious accolade.
Go to the link below to learn more about her contagious personality and amazing career:

In addition to the Lifetime Achievement Award, INTEGRIS also had 19 Nurse of the Year Finalists; five of which actually walked away with the prize.
The Nurse of the Year winners are listed below:
* Stacey Purintun – Emergency Services, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital
* Teresa Gray – Nursing Administration, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital
* Christine McMurray – Nursing Management, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital
* Kelli Langdon – Surgical Services, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital
* Connie Brasier – Women’s Services, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital
You’ll notice all of our winners come from INTEGRIS Canadian Valley this year!!!
The coveted award is designed to recognize nurses who demonstrate exceptional patient care, compassion, and service and play a critical role in improving the health of Oklahoma’s residents.

Oklahoma State Department of Health
October 23 8:00am – 7:00pm
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Oklahoma City, 1000 N.E. 10th St
Oklahoma, 73117
Need RN’s to work in Clinic’s, Early Intervention, Children First and Medical Facilities.
Apply online at using the keyword “State Department of Health” or bring a resume.

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The Edmond Republican Women’s Club donates books to babies born at INTEGRIS Health Edmond.
It’s part of the Babies First Book program. The book “On the Night You Were Born” was given to all of the babies born at the hospital during the month of September in honor of National Literacy Month. This is the third year the group has made this type of donation.

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Tammi Holden, MAAL, BSN, Chief Nursing Officer; Glinda Huitt, MSSL, BSN, OCN, Assistant Vice President of Nursing; CTCA Tulsa DAISY Award winner Judy Charles, SCU, RN; Jay Foley, CTCA Tulsa CEO; and Maloree Hamel, BSN, RN, Special Care Unit Manager.

Loving your job and enjoying what you do is not a something everyone experiences. Judy (JT) Charles, SCU, RN at Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) Tulsa, is one of those lucky few. And her patients and their caregivers appreciate her positive attitude.
JT has been with CTCA Tulsa for a total of seven years and was recently recognized with a DAISY Award. CTCA is a hospital-partner with the international DAISY Award program, which highlights and rewards one nurse per quarter for extraordinary, compassionate and skillful care demonstrated in their everyday work.
After growing up in Sand Springs, JT has lived in Verdigris and Inola for the last 26 years. She received her BSN from Langston and went on to get her MSN from the University of Oklahoma.
According to JT, nursing was a choice that made sense for her because “it’s the largest profession in healthcare and will only continue to grow in strength and voice.”
“Nursing degrees can be challenging to earn in healthcare, but to me, the professional and personal rewards are the richest,” she explained. “Originally, I planned on obtaining my undergraduate nursing degree and using it to go into medicine. With knowledge of the philosophy of nursing and witnessing the profound effect nurses have on patient and family outcomes, 15 years later I am happy and proud to be a nurse.”
Her passion for the medical field continues through her volunteer work. She has provided medical support for Cheyenne Frontier Days Contract Acts-Security. She also served eight years with the United States Army Reserves.
Family is important to JT, and her passion for helping others has been passed down to her three kids. Raevyn, her oldest, is an Intensive Care Unit nurse in Tulsa. Shelby was a CNA for two years and is now finishing cosmetology school, while her youngest, Chance, is finishing high school and hopes to join the Marines.
When JT is not working with her patients, she enjoys nature and the outdoors.
“I love working in my yard, it’s so relaxing and rewarding,” she said. “Being outside is one of my favorite hobbies, and I’m looking forward to re-exploring my love of hiking and riding horses.”
Others in the hospital see JT having an extremely positive effect on the patients and families she comes into contact with on a daily basis.
“JT has been amazingly vigilant – she never gets upset or angry,” said a CTCA patient’s caregiver. “Even when my father-in-law refused to listen or was combative with her, she always had a smile. And she has fun at her job! She obviously loves what she does. The world needs more people like JT – compassionate, caring, and simply amazing.”

October 23 8:00am – 7:00pm
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Oklahoma City, 1000 N.E. 10th St. Oklahoma, 73117
Need LPN’s with six years of experience in health care settings to work as Surveyors. Some positions require extensive 2-3 day overnight travel.
Apply online at using the keyword “State Department of Health” select Clinical Health Facility Surveyor II or bring a resume.

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Q. Lindsey called to make an appointment. She shared some basic information, we set the date but before we hung up, Lindsey asked if I prescribed drugs. I told her no and she immediately cancelled her appointment. Why are people asking for drugs to solve their problems?

A. I do not have prescription authority, nor do I want to prescribe drugs. It is a liability that I do not wish to experience. Nor do I want people to attend therapy and look to drugs for the answer. If it looks like medication might be necessary, I have doctors for referral, but it is always as a last resort.
The ease in which people are obtaining drugs is alarming. I recently talked with someone who told me about paying $200.00 cash for a month supply of Suboxone, NO QUESTIONS ASKED BY THE DOCTOR. According to this source, the waiting room was full.
Do you know how many people tell me on the phone or during their first therapy session that they are Bipolar and take meds? During the assessment I ask them to describe their episode or episodes of mania. They often look at me like I have two heads and state, “I don’t know what mania is” or they say “I have never been manic.” I explain the symptoms for mania to make sure we are talking the same language and again they reply with “no mania.” But they are medicated.
Have you ever taken a drug and had side effects from that drug? So here is a too familiar scenario:
Susie’s doctor prescribes an anti psychotic for anger dyscontrol. One of the side effects is weight gain. Susie puts on an extra 20 pounds quickly. Her doctor prescribes another medication to decrease her appetite. She is also taking a pill for depression. She starts having stomach discomfort so she gets a pill for acid reflux. Now she is constipated so she gets a pill to make her go to the bathroom. If you think this is fiction, you are wrong. It is being played out all over America.
And Big Pharma loves it!!!!! They are getting richer and richer and Americans are more drugged than ever!!! We cannot continue this craziness!!!
Therapy is not about taking drugs to solve your problems. It is about doing the work. Sometimes it is hard, you cry, you get angry, you get insight and you get better. But you have to do the work!!! There is no magic pill!!!

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

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The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation is seeking volunteers who have been diagnosed with sarcoidosis to provide blood sample donations for OMRF’s Sarcoidosis Research Unit. For the studies, OMRF also needs healthy volunteers to serve as controls.
Sarcoidosis is a rare disease where cells in the immune system that cause inflammation overreact and cluster together to form tiny lumps called granulomas. These granulomas can form in the eyes, liver, skin and brain and most often are found in the lungs. If too many of these granulomas form in a single organ, they can cause the organ to malfunction or even fail.
The disease strikes 39 in 100,000 African Americans, versus only 5 in 100,000 Caucasians. A recent study showed that the mortality rate is nearing 7 percent.
OMRF’s Sarcoidosis Unit, which launched in January, is the only one of its kind in the state. It’s funded with a federal grant from the National Institutes of Health.
“The disease is not well understood, but it’s thought to involve both genes and environmental factors,” said OMRF’s Courtney Montgomery, Ph.D., who leads the Sarcoidosis Unit. “Through this and other research studies, we’re working to identify the genetic factors that cause sarcoidosis in order to improve diagnosis, treatment and patient outcomes.”
For this research study, participants will undergo a screening process, complete questionnaires and donate a small blood sample to be used for research. Volunteers will also be asked to provide consent to review medical records and request previous biopsies related to the disease.
No treatment is administered, but the information gathered can give researchers a clearer picture of the disease and how it progresses. The blood samples will be examined in the laboratory to look at the genetic makeup of patients versus healthy controls to help scientists identify triggers or biomarkers for the disease.
In less than a year of operation, OMRF’s Sarcoidosis Unit has already made significant strides in better understanding the disease.
“The traditional thinking on sarcoidosis was broken into two camps: either it’s an autoimmune disease or it’s an infectious disease,” said Montgomery. “Our preliminary findings are strengthening the argument that this disease has components of both.”
Montgomery said the goal is to enroll 200 patients in this new research study and match them with the same number of healthy controls. Participants will be compensated $20 per visit for their time and effort.
To participate in the study or for more information, please call the Sarcoidosis Research Unit at 405-271-2504 or toll-free at 800-605-7447 or email
Funding for the study was provided through grant number R01 HL113326-06A1-05 from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

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Teresa Gray, MBA, RN, ANCC is now the president of Integris Canadian Valley Hospital.

by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer

The bigger picture has always drawn Teresa Gray, RN.
For years she absolutely adored bedside nursing, but catching glimpses here and there, she understood she could make an impact on a much greater scale.
It was that insight and understanding matched with clinical excellence and an ability to relate to just about everyone that has earned her the title of president of Integris Canadian Valley Hospital in Yukon.
“Nursing has been my passion and what I love but I also love that bigger picture, it’s one of the reasons I’ve been in management so long,” said Gray, an LPN and then RN for the better part of 24 years. “I really like to know what else is impacted, what else happens – what’s the rest of it.”
Gray fills the role vacated by Rex Van Meter, who was named president of Integris Deaconess.
After officially acquiring Deaconess Hospital Oct. 1, the hospital is considered a campus under the Integris Baptist Medical Center umbrella.
“I hope my nursing background gives me a different perspective as a president to see things a little differently,” Gray said. “I hope to blend both worlds and see things a little differently.”
Gray takes the reigns of a facility that has become a leading provider to much of Western Oklahoma.
“The culture, the community and how everyone works together like a family unit,” Gray said of what initially drew her and has kept her at Canadian Valley. “I remember the first day I had my very first interview walking down this long hallway and everyone smiling and greeting me. That’s something you don’t feel everywhere you go. It’s a feeling.”
Church functions, ball games, local events – all bind ICVH employees to the local community they serve.
Gray has always been keenly focused on quality. Through the Oklahoma Quality Foundation, Gray has gone into facilities across Oklahoma on site surveys to see whether or not organizations are living up to quality standards.
It’s a focus she’s carried with her during her tenure, which has been one, long preparation for where she’s at now.
“Integris has a very robust succession planning program,” Gray explained. I’ve been on the succession play for about four years, being mentored by Rex Van Meter and going through the process to be ready to take such a position.
“It’s been a long time planning. When Rex had his opportunity they approached me and felt like I was ready to take over the operations of the hospital and be a leader.”
Van Meter has been a part of executive leadership at Integris since 2001. He joined as vice president of finance at Integris Blackwell Hospital and was promoted to president there four years later.
In 2012, he was named president of Integris Canadian Valley Hospital, and has led that facility to successive year-over-year record performances. Van Meter earned a bachelor of accounting from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a master of health care administration from Trinity University.
Gray came to Integris in August 2011 as the chief nursing officer and vice president.
She distinguished herself in that time as a leader of the system’s nurse consortium and member of the Integris executive leadership team. Gray earned national certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a nurse executive, and helped lead efforts that culminated in Integris Canadian Valley Hospital being named an ANCC Pathway to Excellence facility.
Prior to joining Integris, Gray worked with Foundation Surgical Hospital Affiliates. She earned her bachelor of science in nursing degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and a master of business administration from Southern Nazarene University.
As both a registered nurse and hospital president, Gray is in elite company in the metro. Her succession track has taught her the ropes when it comes to the executive team.
She vows to always remember how that should translate at the bedside.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit of both. Some of my thought process will change but I hope to bring that aspect of nursing and that experience I have in quality and patient care to the role and kind of design it differently for me,” she said.
“I hope to take a little of both and combine them and hopefully be a strong leader for our town, our patients and our staff.”

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Lori Popejoy, PhD, RN, FAAN recently spoke on the topic of care management at the Fran & Earl Ziegler College of Nursing.

by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer

Through the Donald W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, University of Oklahoma faculty and students were able to learn more about the evolving role of care coordination in nursing recently.
University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing’s Lori Popejoy, PhD, RN, FAAN, addressed attendees on the importance of care management in today’s nursing environment and beyond.
Fran & Earl Ziegler College of Nursing Interim Dean Gary L. Loving, PhD, RN applauded Popejoy’s insight.
“Dr. Popejoy’s visit to OUHSC was very timely,” Loving said. “Her background and expertise in care management provided valuable insight and guidance for the care management initiatives in which the College of Nursing and OU Medicine nursing personnel are engaged. “
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. is reaching an unprecedented demographic shift, with almost 1/5th of the American population over the age of 65 by 2030. At the same time, system changes including shorter hospital stays and limited nursing homes leave a growing number of older adults at home for health care.
As Americans live longer, increased research and training is required to meet the need for geriatric care and quality aging.
Established in 2008 through a gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing is dedicated to ensuring that as the American population ages, there are increased cross-discipline solutions for community-based aging in place.
This approach to supports and interventions for older adults is emerging – one that enables older adults to maintain as much independence and dignity for as long as possible in their preferred setting, typically the home environment.
“We’re trying to avoid hospitalizations that don’t need to happen and certainly avoid rehospitalizations that could be prevented had we had better collaboration between the organization and the stakeholders, care providers, patients and our community providers overall,” Popejoy said. “Care coordination is all about how do we work with each other and communication patient and family needs so that we can meet them.”
Popejoy started her career as a diploma nurse before working in critical care and then hospital leadership for 13 years.
She went back for her BSN with an eye toward’s a master’s focused on geriatric care.
Popejoy lauded OU’s current curriculum that brings home the point to new nurses that care coordination is simply an extension of the nursing role.
But in today’s healthcare environment the true purpose may be getting muddled, in part, due to the nature of billing.
“I would say the answer is maybe we’ve over-embraced it in some respects,” Popejoy said. “There’s a lot of specialties that use care coordination. You can have different clinical specialists that have care coordinators but we are actually getting to the point where there are a lot of care coordinators but who is the primary coordinator that needs to be working with the patient and communicating outward?”
“I think we’ve almost created another layer of complexity that we haven’t quite worked our way through yet.”
Care coordination is identified by the Institute of Medicine as a key strategy that has the potential to improve the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of the American health care system. Well-designed, targeted care coordination that is delivered to the right people can improve outcomes for everyone: patients, providers, and payers.
Although the need for care coordination is clear, there are obstacles within the American health care system that must be overcome to provide this type of care.
Preventable hospitalizations and duplicative tests increase health care spending. In fact, inadequate care coordination is estimated to have caused between $25 and $45 billion in wasteful spending in 2011 alone due to avoidable complications and unnecessary hospital readmissions.
“Care coordination is part of nursing practice. I call it the big C and the little C,” Popejoy said. “Care coordination is part of nursing and no matter what can not be removed from the profession of nursing. But then there is care coordination that occurs at a bigger level, to organize the care plan overall. That umbrella term is really the role that needs to be developed more fully.”

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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Tara Placker, LPN is the Staffing Director for Parcway Post Acute Recovery Center where she gives the upmost care to her patients.


by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer

Selecting the right skilled nursing facility can be critical to your speedy recovery. Parcway Post Acute Recovery Center, located in Northwest Oklahoma City, OK offers a variety of therapies and care services to help you regain your independence.
Meet Tara Placker, LPN, and Staffing Director for Parcway where she has been a nurse for almost 3 years. Proud to be an Oklahoman, Tara was raised here, attending Platt College for her nursing career. “I really enjoy living in Oklahoman and my husband and I enjoy raising our 4 children here. I really can’t imagine living anywhere else,” she commented.
In your opinion, what qualities make a good nurse? “I think a good nurse has to have a lot of compassion for the patients. A lot of the patients at Parcway are coming here from just having surgery and they are feeling down and out. It is up to us to care for them, making them feel as comfortable as possible. Nurses also need a sense of knowledge; to help the patient and to answer to the doctors when they need us. The biggest thing a nurse needs is a heart of compassion,” Tara replied.
Tara’s favorite part of her job is the interaction she has with the patients. “When I am working the floors, I assist the CNA’s with the patient’s showers and getting them dressed, etc. It seems like that is when the patient wants to talk the most and they need someone to listen. The stories are full of history and the patient is eager to tell all, and we need to be ready to be their listener. I love the interaction between the patient and myself.”
How was it that you became interested in nursing? “I had never even thought about nursing until one day, I received a flyer in the mail about CNA/CMA classes at OSU-OKC. I thought it sounded interesting and decided to check it out. I ended up going to the classes and it was at that time, I knew that I wanted to become a nurse and take care of people. I am so happy that I am able to have a job allowing me to help others,” Tara said with a smile.
The biggest challenge that Tara finds with her job is also the interaction with some of the patients. “It can be very hard dealing with some of the patients from the mental health side or the fact that the patient is a Vietnam POW. There are not many situations like that but when there are, we are ready to help in any way we can,” she said.
Tara’s advice to someone going into the medical field would be to work hard and do it for the right reasons; to care for the patients and have a real desire to help others. “Don’t become a nurse if you plan on a 9-5 job because it doesn’t happen that way. Sometimes, the hours are long. Long hours and hard work, yet it is all worth it in the end,” Tara said.
According to Tara, her personality can be described as versatile. “When I am working with the patients, I am a happy, up beat nurse. I try to always lead by example and have a good attitude. When the coin is turned, I can be serious if I need to be,” Tara commented.
Tara’s hobbies include reading all kinds of books, novels and any and everything that keeps her interested in the first ten pages. “If the first ten pages keep me interested, I am sure to read it,” she said. “I also like to work 3D puzzles or any of those brain games.”
Tara is married and has 4 children; November 9, Lydia 5, Damien 4, and LilliAnn 1. “I love to spend time with my children and we always make it a family thing,” Tara said. “My children keep me going and I work hard to be the best mom I can.”
Teamwork is very important to Tara. “I feel like teamwork plays such an important part of being a nurse,” she said. “We need strong team players and that is what we have here at Parcway. We are all team players and I feel like teamwork is the building block to form a strong foundation. Once that foundation is built, no one can tear it down.”
Tara lives by these words of wisdom: Teamwork makes the dream work. Apparently, her words of wisdom live on with her and the staff at Parcway.

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