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photos by A. Sims Photography LLC of Yukon

Some of Santa’s best presents aren’t found under the Christmas tree, they’re experiences shared with the people you love. Here’s one family’s story of joy … courtesy of Old Saint Nick.
Nuncia and Dion Hall struggled with infertility for five long years. They wanted desperately to have a baby and start a family of their own. When it became clear to them that having a biological child was not an option for them, the Halls lovingly and wholeheartedly decided to adopt.
They adopted a beautiful baby girl named Leya two years ago and then adopted a bouncing baby boy named Dominic a year later. And as fate would have it, as it often does in stories like these, when Dominic was only two months old the Halls discovered they were pregnant – not with just one baby but twins!
Since multiples have a tendency to come early, Nuncia was put on total bedrest at just 24 weeks gestation. She would spend the last 20 days of her pregnancy in the hospital. Twin boys, Xavier and Vincent, were born on Oct. 9, 2017. They were two months premature and barely weighed 3 pounds each. The good news though, is that other than their size, they were relatively healthy.
The tiny pair continues to grow but will remain in the neonatal intensive care unit of INTEGRIS Children’s at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center until their lungs are fully developed. This means they won’t be able to go home until after Christmas. Santa knows spending the holiday in the hospital is no fun, so he paid the twins a special visit last week.
“Having our boys in the NICU has been challenging for the whole family, especially during the holidays,” says the twins’ mother. “We are so grateful for the NICU staff at INTEGRIS, they take amazing care of our boys and work hard to make sure we get to enjoy special moments like seeing Santa!”
But perhaps the biggest gift given to the Hall family that day, was that Leya and Dominic got to meet their baby brothers for the very first time. Children, even siblings, under the age of five are not typically allowed in the NICU. But an exception was made and the Halls were able to take their first ever family photo. Little Leya even got to hold one of her brothers!
It was a magical moment enjoyed by many that day, as the Big Man in Red brought Christmas cheer to several families spending Christmas in the NICU this year.

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by Traci Chapman, staff writer

Eleven Oklahoma skilled nursing care centers, their nurses and other staff members were recently recognized by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living.
The centers, located throughout the state, were recognized through AHCA/NCAL’s Quality Initiative Recognition Program for quality and service improvements. Facilities honored were:
* Cedar Creek Nursing Center – Norman
* Claremore Nursing Home – Claremore
* Forrest Manor Nursing Center – Dewey
* Grace Living Center – Edmond
* Grace Living Center-Southwest – Oklahoma City
* Emerald Care-Southwest – Oklahoma City
* Medicalodge of Dewey – Dewey
* Montevista Rehabilitation and Skilled Care – Lawton
* Rainbow Health Care Community – Bristow
* Shanoan Springs Residence – Chickasha
* The Village at Southern Hills – Tulsa
AHCA’s Quality Initiative Recognition Program recognizes association members who attain at least four of eight quality initiative goals, President/CEO Mark Parkinson said. Those objectives include:
* Reducing hospitalizations – Facilities are assessed either for their safe reduction of long-stay resident hospital stays of at least 15 percent from December 2014 or for achieving or maintaining a 10 percent or lower rate.
* Minimizing nursing staff turnover – Centers that either accomplish a 15 percent decrease from 2015 levels or maintain less than 40 percent total nursing turnover rates meet this criteria.
* Cutting hospital readmissions – This goal aims at safely reducing hospital readmissions, within 30 days of first admission, by 30 percent, compared to December 2011 levels or maintaining a 10 percent readmission rate overall.
* Decreasing off-label antipsychotics use – Long-stay nursing resident use of off-label antipsychotics must be reduced by 30 percent from December 2011 levels to qualify for this particular achievement.
* Reducing unintended health care outcomes – Accomplishing this goal “improves the lives of the patients, residents and families skilled nursing care providers serve,” the Office of Inspector General found, according to a 2014 report.
* Improving discharge rates – Facilities are tasked with maintaining a 70 percent rate, or 10 percent improvement since December 2014, of patient discharges back to the community.
* Boosting functional outcomes – Centers must improve functional outcomes by 10 percent since December 2015 or maintain a 75 percent improvement rate to attain this goal.
* Adopting Core-Q questionnaire – AHCA developed the Core-Q questionnaire specifically for use by post-acute and long-term care providers, Parkinson said. Adopting the practices outlined, measuring and uploading results may satisfy this particular program aspect.
“Improving quality care as a profession requires dedication from many organizations,” Parkinson said. “The program provides an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the progress that our members have made by achieving the quality initiative goals and improving care for individuals living in their communities, and I commend their hard work.”
Oklahoma Association of Health Care Providers is the AHCA state affiliate. More information about AHCA may be found on its website, located at; OAHCP’s site is

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· Complete working knowledge of all applicable laws and regulations
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· Strong managerial skills
· Implement recommendations to improve all facets of the Nursing department
· Active Oklahoma RN license
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American Nurses Association President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN.

For the 16th consecutive year, the American public has ranked nurses as the professionals with the highest honesty and ethical standards, according to a Gallup poll released today. The annual poll has ranked nurses as the most honest and ethical out of a wide spectrum of professions, including pharmacists and grade school teachers.
“Nurses provide much more than bedside care. We advocate for patients, deliver primary care, meet the complex needs of patients with chronic conditions, volunteer for disaster relief efforts, and are a trusted voice in boardrooms across the country,” said Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA).
According to the poll, 82 percent of Americans rated nurses’ honesty and ethical standards as “very high” or “high.” The next closest profession, military officers, was rated 11 percentage points behind nursing.
“One of our greatest accomplishments this year has been the role nurses have played in fighting against any legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act,” said Cipriano. “Advocacy efforts have always been a core function and priority for our organization, but there is still work to be done, which is why we recently announced 2018 as the Year of Advocacy. The public relies on nurses to promote a healthy America, and that includes access to affordable, quality care. ANA is committed to supporting and encouraging nurses to be advocates at all levels and to be influencers of positive change for our patients, our colleagues, and our nation.”

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I am convinced that our society is addicted to being addicted. I have been in recovery from a serious eating disorder for five years. My thoughts will occasionally take me back to behaviors that I could engage in to lower stress but I work my program and “stay sober.” But I realize that in some ways society has benefited from my addiction and others. I will explain.


I have a friend Cindy, who weighs over three hundred pounds. She is carrying two people on her skeleton that was designed for one. Her ankles, knees and hips hurt all the time and she takes opiates for pain relief. She has been in therapy but had the typical addict responses, i.e, “I really don’t eat that much.” “I am big boned,” etc.
Cindy called me one day and while talking I could tell that she was eating. She told me that she had gone shopping at her “fat lady” store and she got a reward coupon for spending over $50.00. I held my breath imagining what the coupon “reward” would bring her. READY……… a free pie at one of the local restaurants!!!! A free pie for the obese shopper to make sure she comes back to the “fat lady” store.
I was outraged and wanted to call the store and scream at them but then it hit me; this store was in the business of selling clothes to overweight and obese people and they want to stay in business.
Fast food restaurants lure us in all the time. Who can’t afford the dollar menu. But what are the choices? How much do you know about the calorie content, as well as the nutrient content.
How many doctor visits and medications could be avoided if food choices were healthier. People will often say it costs more to eat healthy. Really think about that statement. It costs more………how many overweight people taking diabetic medication might be eliminating that medication with weight loss. I know for a fact doctors have told people, “If you lose weight you might not need medication.’
Just for grins, sit down and add what you are spending in doctor visits and prescriptions. How much healthy food could you buy with that money.
There are people advocating for healthy eating, less prescription medications (don’t even get me started on the amount of money being made by the pharmaceutical companies, they want you to eat the pie.)
I recently experienced a situation when I was at a gas station. A man with a large apron approached me and asked if I smoked. I said, No. I watched him approach the person next to me and handed them a free pack of cigarettes with a coupon attached. It never ends.
Addictive behavior is hard to change but it can be done. Be aware, have support systems and don’t eat the pie.

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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Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation scientist Jian Li, Ph.D.

The Robert Glenn Rapp Foundation has awarded the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation a four-year, $400,000 grant.
The grant will help two new scientists establish laboratories at OMRF. In their labs, they will study the cellular processes that lead to cancer, as well as diseases of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
“Our family is pleased to play a small role in the important work underway in OMRF’s cancer research laboratories,” said Jilene Boghetich, managing trustee of the Rapp Foundation. “Cancer seems to strike almost every family in some way, and our goal is to help OMRF’s scientists discover new methods to detect and treat the disease.”
Founded in 1951, the Rapp Foundation distributes funds to a wide variety of charitable projects throughout the U.S. This new grant to OMRF represents the latest in a long line of gifts that have helped the Oklahoma City-based nonprofit strengthen its scientific infrastructure.
The new funds will help support the recruitment of a pair of new scientists, Wan Hee Yoon, Ph.D., and Jiang Li, Ph.D.
Yoon joins OMRF from the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, and his research uses fruit flies to understand the processes of cellular decline that lead to diseases such as cancer and Alzheimer’s. Li also studies the basic cellular mechanisms underlying cancer and neurodegeneration, and he comes to OMRF from Northwestern University in Chicago.
The grant will provide funding for the purchase of sophisticated laboratory equipment and supplies for the new researchers. It will also help support salaries of personnel working in their labs.
“It’s hard to imagine OMRF as it is today without the enduring generosity of the Rapp Foundation through the years,” said OMRF Vice President of Development Penny Voss. “They’ve been true friends to OMRF and to medical research in Oklahoma, and they’ve invested in visionary projects that will benefit us all.”

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Mind Body Essentials is a series of educational sessions offered through the INTEGRIS James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit by local professionals with experience in providing services in mind, body therapies and/or integrative medicine practices. The sessions are designed to educate our community on how to INTEGRATE these practices into daily life.
These sessions are offered on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Raymond A. Young Conference Center at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. There is no charge for our Mind Body Essentials classes; however, reservations are required. Call the INTEGRIS HealthLine at 405-951-2277 or 888-951-2277 to reserve your spot today. Topics to be covered through our Mind Body Essentials for January and February include the following.
* Jan. 23, 2018 – Charging Your Inner Battery: The Value of Living a Resilient Life
In this session, Diane Rudebock, Ed.D., RN, will help us explore our inner landscape, looking at where we focus our time and energy and the importance of resilience as we navigate the ages and stages of life. This session will also introduce participants to a six-week series we will offer beginning in February called The Science of Self Care: Moving Toward a Healthy Resilient You!
* Feb. 27, 2018 – Mindfulness: Resilience in the Face of Life’s Challenges
Resilience is the ability to adapt well to change and bounce back from adversity. We know all too well “life can be like a box of chocolates. We never know what we are going to get.” The practice of mindfulness cultivates our potential to be present each moment with kind, open and non-judgmental awareness, and effectively manage stress and change. We discover we can stay steady and at ease in the face of life’s challenges and still enjoy life’s sweetness. Marnie Kennedy, a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction instructor, will share what mindfulness means for resilient living.

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Sudheera Perera, RN, has found his nursing home at Community Hospital south.

by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

A long time ago Sudheera Perera’s father gave him a piece of advice.
“Whatever you do, make sure you like it,” Perera said, recalling his father’s words. “It doesn’t matter if you’re sweeping the streets or washing bathrooms.”
Years later the registered nurse has added a bit to that to pass along to his children: Work with people you like.
He calls himself blessed to have the best of both worlds at Community Hospital south.
Friends like Kristi Gates, RN, who serves as a night supervisor, have helped him in his nursing career.
Perera says Gates has mentored him along the way and has always been there with whatever he needed.
“Kristi has been there for me since the day I started,” Perera said. “She helped me finish my degree. It’s just a different world over here.”
When he comes to work he knows there are people willing to pour into him. He knows there are people at Community that will support him in his nursing career, even if means helping out financially.
He’s humbled by that.
“I do everything I need to do and if I can do anything extra – no problem,” he said. “Luckily, I fell into a place that was full of wonderful people. My managers, house supervisors – not one person I can complain about it. They’ve always helped me. I’m married and my brother is there but beside those two most of these people are involved in making me who I am today.
“I’m very, very blessed.”
Perera works night shift at Community Hospital South.
It’s been seven years now but he hasn’t always felt this comfortable.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Perera came to Oklahoma in 1996 to study business administration at Northwestern Oklahoma State.
Four long years later he came to a realization.
“I didn’t have a lick of business in me,” he laughed.
He went into wholesale for a rustic furniture store. He quickly burned out.
The plan was become a nursing assistant, then become an LPN and finish strong with his RN.
He became a tech in 2004. RN wouldn’t come until 2015.
“That was a long time,” he said.
Perera took the unusual route traveling as a nursing assistant from 2006-2010 in Montana with an agency.
He worked long-term care and rehab, holding down a 25-30 patient load each night.
“I liked it but you know you don’t see the end result,” Perera said. “Working here you get to see the patient walking out. Over there I just didn’t like the end result.”
A friend worked in radiology at Community and told him it was an amazing place to work.
He agreed.
“When you become an RN you can’t point fingers, it’s you and you only,” he said. “When you’re a tech you could always go back to the nurse. Now you don’t have that luxury.
“I have that sense of pride now. I like what I do. This hospital has been really, really good to me and I want to do the little things I can do for them.”
He tried ICU for a short period at a large metro hospital just to try to pick up some extra shifts.
It didn’t compare to what he already had.
“Two patients, out of that 12-hour shift I had two patients. Ten hours of that time I was in front of a computer trying to catch up on my charting. That scared me,” he said. “It didn’t click with me.”
Community Hospital actually has two campuses featuring a comprehensive range of medical services and high quality care.
Perera’s Community Hospital south campus is a full-service hospital serving Southwest Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities including Blanchard, Moore, Newcastle, Norman, Mustang and Tuttle.
Community Hospital’s north campus celebrated the opening of its new facility in 2016 and offers inpatient and outpatient services, including diagnostic imaging and direct access to physician offices.
The north campus in conveniently located along the Broadway Extension near Britton Rd. and provides easy access from north Oklahoma City, Edmond, Piedmont, Guthrie, Jones, Luther and Wellston.
A unique strength of the hospitals is the strategic relationship developed with The Physicians’ Group (TPG) and OSSO physicians.
This partnership between the hospitals and the medical staff allows for new resources for continual growth.
It also strengthens the ability to expand hospital services and to add new medical specialties that meet the needs of the Oklahoma City metro area and surrounding communities.
Perera feels that backing. He enjoys working largely with a post-operative population.
“I just love it,” he says. “This place is small enough the management has a handle of what’s going on. Here if I have any concerns it’s easy for me to tell somebody. The hospital takes care of its employees.”

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Models from the CMSA Christmas Charity Fashion Show along with Santa at The Tulsa Country Club on Dec. 14.

by Lindsay Morris, CMSA of Eastern OK Board Secretary

The Case Management Society of Eastern Oklahoma (CMSA) raised $4,486 for The Center for Individuals with Physical Challenges during its annual charity fashion show and Christmas luncheon on Thursday, December 14 at Tulsa Country Club.
CMSA of Eastern Oklahoma, a group of local case managers, social workers, nurses and other professionals in the healthcare field, is in its seventh year of hosting the charity fashion show. Sponsors of the local chapter provided models to showcase clothing from Dillard’s during the event. Every attendee donated at least $20 for entrance and gave dollar bills to the models as they “walked the runway.” All money given at the event was donated to The Center, a non-profit community-based recreation center providing health, wellness, fitness, recreation, adaptive sport and support services to persons with physical disabilities.
“We are so grateful to be selected as the beneficiary of this year’s holiday event from CMSA of Eastern Oklahoma,” said Lori Long, Executive Director of The Center. “Being able to bring awareness about The Center’s programs and activities to those who can get it in the hands of direct service recipients is invaluable to us! And add to it they have selected us to receive monetarily as well – that’s a win-win situation for sure!”
Over the past seven years of holding the charity fashion show, CMSA of Eastern Oklahoma has raised a total of more than $19,000 for nonprofits such as Meals on Wheels, Tulsa Area United Way, Clarehouse, and Shriners Hospitals.

CMSA of Eastern Oklahoma is a local chapter of the Case Management Society of America, an international, 501(C)(6) nonprofit association for case management professionals. Our membership is comprised of case managers, care managers, nurses, social workers, rehab specialists, physicians, students, and corporations as well as suppliers that support the case management industry.

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Military Veteran Alex Hughes is the new president of the Oklahoma Nursing Student Association

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

Two deployments overseas as a combat medic. A marriage, three kids and a job as a nursing assistant at Mercy Hospital Logan County.
Alex Hughes is more than ready for his next assignment which happens to be president of the Oklahoma Nursing Student Association.
Hughes will lead Oklahoma’s largest body of student nurses after his election a few weeks ago at the organization’s annual convention.
Growing up an Army brat, Hughes moved often, traversing the U.S. and the globe with stops in Germany and Okinawa, Japan along the way.
Moving every year and a half taught him the importance of family and flexibility.
It was no surprise that he would later enter the Army after graduating from a military high school in Oklahoma.
Initially, Hughes served as an engineer in the reserves. He quickly learned his body would pay the price long term in that specialty so decided to change when he moved over to active duty.
The field of healthcare specialist didn’t exactly catch on. But when the recruiter told him “combat medic” he was hooked.
“I loved it,” Hughes said. “I had a blast with it.”
Hughes started off attached with some of the same engineers he went through training with.
Basing out of Fort Carson, Colorado Hughes spent one year serving in Iraq, moving from Kirkuk to Mosul.
He returned home and married before shipping out to the Arghandab River valley in Afghanistan.
Coming down from the guard tower one day during a base security rotation he heard one of his fellow soldiers yell “Hey doc, by the way you’re a dad now.”
He hurried into the communications tent to talk to his wife, who had minutes earlier delivered their first child.
For the last couple of years Hughes has worked as a nursing assistant at Mercy’s 25-bed critical access hospital which offers both acute and skilled care (swing bed) services in Guthrie.
His focus has always been on getting his BSN at the University of Central Oklahoma. Now just one semester stands in his way.
He’s put the skills learned in the Army to good use.
“It helped a lot in the clinical side of it,” Hughes said. “I was already used to doing some of the skills and was used to doing hands-on patient care. However, the rest was complete opposite.”
As a medic it was Hughes’ role to diagnose and prescribe. Stepping back from that was tough.
“It took me a little time … to manage their care,” he said.
And working part-time now Hughes wants to devote more time to growing the student association.
“The main thing I would like to really see happen is more involvement from other schools,” he said. “We have a lot of schools that have delegates but never show up to events. I’d like to see more schools that haven’t been involved.”
Hughes encourages students from more schools to get involved and eventually run for office. Right now just four universities are represented on the board with only people from five universities running for office.
Nursing students preparing for Registered Nurse licensure or RN to BSN completion programs are invited to join ONSA. By joining ONSA you are also becoming a member of the National Student Nurse Association.
Hughes said by joining you can take advantage of leadership opportunities and product discounts that ONSA and NSNA have to offer.
Hughes now leads the Board of Directors which is the policy-making body of the Oklahoma Nursing Student Association between meetings of the House of Delegates held annually.
Each board member has responsibilities in various program areas of the association and must also function as part of the organizational board of directors, sharing equally in the fiscal and decision-making responsibilities. Each board member is expected to serve the association as a whole and to represent the needs of all members.
Hughes previously served on the board as the marketing director.
There are twelve members of the Board of Directors behind Hughes including: 1st Vice President, 2nd Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Director, Newsletter Editor, Legislative Director, Breakthrough Director, Community Projects Director, Public Relations Director, and Marketing Director.
The association will begin the year on January 20th at Tulsa Community College with a leadership summit.
A panel of nurses from various fields will be doing a question-and-answer session with attendees and a guest speaker will address the event.
In February the group will partner with the Oklahoma Nurses Association for the group’s annual Nurses Day at the Capitol.
To find out more about the Oklahoma Nursing Student Association go online to

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What do you hope to get out of your nursing career? Oklahoma Nursing students

I love helping people and feel like I’m doing something to make things better. Alex Hughes

I want to be able to help people and ensure they can live the life they want to live. Timi Branum

I don’t really look to get anything out of it. I just want to put into it and help people. Charlee Tompkins

I want to be the best part of someone’s worst day. Jessica Veach