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Paula Price, RN, has improved the health of generations of Cleveland County residents through a lifetime of work in nursing and healthcare advocacy.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

A convincing argument can be made that few people have done more for the health and wellbeing of Cleveland County residents than Norman Regional’s Paula Price, RN.
Not only has Price secured millions in funding for public health programs the last few years, she began at the bedside advocating for her patients back in 1975 when she first earned her LPN.
Price credits her parents with guiding her into nursing.
“They thought it would be a great career for me because I liked to help people and was kind, caring and supportive – those were things they always noticed about me,” Price said. “That’s how I started in nursing and ended up realizing after a few years it was a passion for me and that my parents really knew me well.”
And for nearly 20 years now Norman Regional Health System has relied on Price as the Health System’s Director of Health Promotion and Community Relations.
That heart for the community, coupled with her business acumen, led her to be called again to serve on the healthcare front lines.
New Norman Regional Health System President and CEO Richie Splitt recently announced Price would lead the Health System’s efforts as the new Vice President of Strategy and Growth.
“That’s really what we’re focusing on now is keeping patients out of the hospital and keeping them from being re-admitted or helping them prevent the onset of a chronic disease,” Price said, mentioning Oklahoma’s top conditions like cancer, lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.
Price has worn many hats in her career from medical surgical, surgical, and outpatient settings.
She earned her RN in 1990, but there’s always been a next step for Price.
While she always knew how to heal patients in an acute care setting she always wondered what she could do on a larger scale.
Price received a Bachelor’s of Nursing from the University of the State of New York, a Master’s of Public Health from the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center and a Master’s of Nursing from Southern Nazarene University
Most recently, Price has served as the Health System’s Director of Health Promotion and Community Relations for the past 19 years.
Her healthcare experience includes nursing, public health, community relations, marketing and communications. During her career she has received numerous recognitions and honors.
She was honored for her work in the wake of the May 20, 2013 tornado with a 2014 Healthcare Marketing IMPACT Award from Modern Healthcare and Advertising Age.
She also received the Oklahoma City University Kramer School of Nursing Silver Salute Award. In 2016, the Norman Chamber of Commerce recognized her with the Women in Leadership award.
She currently serves on the United Way of Norman Board of Directors, and Norman Chamber of Commerce board.
She makes sure she’s out in the community because it’s the best way to reach so many. It’s one of the reasons she spent 10 years on the board of Health for Friends, which was charged with reaching the underserved population without health insurance.
She led the system’s efforts to provide in-kind contributions of x-rays and diagnostic testing and even pharmacy vouchers that for some patients truly meant the difference between life and death.
She’s dove deep into advocacy especially the last 15 years serving as the Chair of Oklahoma Turning Point and securing millions in local funding through the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust.
“One thing about nursing is that I think it’s a very exciting time for nurses because you can really choose your path and choose your career,” Price said. “Now that midlevels are so key in access to healthcare nurses have so many more opportunities and can be a part of this new push of population health.”
And she’s done it while working for one of the few remaining municipal hospitals in Oklahoma.
There’s no corporate bottom line to answer to at the end of the day, only the local patient population that continues to make its approval known by patronizing any of the three health system campuses.
“The challenge of being independent is you really have to manage your resources and capital investment because you have to depend on yourself,” Price said. “We have to be very smart about being efficient and having the quality patient outcomes so we can do everything to maximize our efficiency and the care we provide.”
“We have a wonderful relationship with the community. We have a hometown feel. People know us and they’re comfortable with us. They trust us.”
And Norman Regional trusts Price to lead it into the future.

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Tesha Loven, BSN, RN, stepped out of her comfort zone four years ago to change hearts, minds and begin a path of service excellence in the AllianceHealth Midwest Emergency Department.

story and photo by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Leave it to an emergency room nurse to roll up her sleeves and figure out a way to accomplish what few thought possible.
That’s been Tesha Loven’s story for the past 23 years. The registered nurse has spent that time working in emergency rooms, seeing people at their lowest and then finding a way to put the pieces back together to get them on the road to recovery.
“Only the emergency room, that’s the only thing I’ve truly felt passionate about,” said Loven, BSN, RN.
And it was that skillset that earned her the position of emergency room director at AllianceHealth Midwest.
“I came to Midwest at a time when I knew they needed leadership,” Loven explained. “I felt like the community was ready for a change, deserved a change and someone to take a chance to come in with some new ideas and passion.”
She’s celebrating four years at AllianceHealth Midwest after initially hiring on as the ER manager and then moving to the director role a little more than a year later.
The hospital’s management company uncertainties were front page news a few years ago when the City of Midwest was looking to make changes.
Where most saw upheaval, Loven saw opportunity.
Her friends feared for her sanity.
“Most people around the city knew Midwest had some struggles with the leasing of the hospital and all the things that were going on,” Loven said. “Pretty much all we were hearing out in the community was the issues with the city and the hospital. I got a lot of negative responses. A lot of physicians and nurses I worked with for 20-plus years thought I was crazy for taking the chance to come here coming from another facility I enjoyed working at.”
“I just prayed about it and knew this was where I was supposed to come.”
More than a decade ago Loven began immersing herself into medical mission trips.
She felt a calling to step outside of herself.
She was told straight up that if you weren’t flexible going in you were going to break.
“I’ve been able to carry that on into the medical field and especially the emergency department,” she said. “It’s all about flexibility. Nothing is the same day-to-day and you have to be able to change with the times, even from one day to the next, one hour to the next. Just being able to be flexible and understanding the patients coming into the ER are different hour-by-hour.”
In many ways, she saw that flexible spirit in her new emergency room. In other ways, she brought it in.
“I have the utmost respect for all the emergency room nurses,” Loven said, bragging on her staff. “We expect them to go above and beyond every shift. Some people think it’s just part of being an ER nurse. It’s really not. The things we ask of them are very difficult. There are good times and bad times. We see the worst of the worst but we also see the best of the best. As far as an ER nurse you are expected to put your personal feelings aside and jump into that moment. You have to be what that patient needs you to be at that time.”
For Loven, the message to her staff is one of service excellence. And deserved or not, her emergency room nurses are often the only interaction some will have with AllianceHealth Midwest.
“They know that every opportunity with a patient is the opportunity,” Loven said. “I’ve always heard you never get a second chance to make a first impression. I take that into the ER. From the moment they hit the front door we’re there to provide that service.”
“No matter what else happens it’s all about that patient at that time.”
Loven stresses that her nurses control what happens within their four walls. Dignity and respect are the mission.
Thirty beds encompass the AllianceHealth Midwest’s Level III emergency department, which is called on to serve almost 4,000 patients per month at a pledge of 30 minutes or less.
“It’s basically our pledge to the community that we’re going to provide quality care as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Loven, who notes that door to provider times average 24 minutes in her department.
Which, after all, is what emergency room nurses like Loven do the best.

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Fredia Peoples, CNA, is where God wants her to be while sharing His love to residents and patients at Sienna Extended Care & Rehab.


by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer

Sienna Extended Care & Rehab is a skilled nursing facility with long-term care, said Adam Stephens, administrator. Sienna primarily offers skilled nursing with a 60/40 split at the 100-bed facility, located in Midwest City.
Light fills the four corners of the building that appears as a figure 8 from a bird’s-eye view.
“In the center there are courtyards that are completely encased by the building with sidewalks all the way through,” Stephens said.
The building was built in 2009. Schuyler Montgomery is the owner. He is a builder by trade who began building nursing homes years ago. Montgomery owns four locations. Gore is where his home office is at the Gore Nursing Center. Vian Nursing Center is 10 miles away at Lake Tenkiller. Montgomery also has the Weatherford Nursing Center.
Patients can get some sun in a safe environment. And within Sienna Extended Care & Rehab there are CNAs like Fredia Peoples providing a lot of love. She also has served as a mentor during her four months at Sienna. Stephens admires the work ethic of the nursing team.
“We’ve got a hard working staff. They interact well with the patients and other staff members,” she said. “I definitely think the newer building helps aesthetically to bring a nice attitude in. It starts there. But the people that we hire — we’ve got some pillars that when new ones come in, they train them the way we like it here. And it wears off on them. If you walk around during the day, even at the end of the first shift, they’re still joking. They’re having fun and the residents are having fun.”
Peoples has been a CNA for more than 20 years. And she loves it, she said. She has worked in hospitals, but said nursing homes is where her heart is. The grace of god keeps her there, she explained.
“Without his patience and his love I wouldn’t be able to do it,” Peoples said.
Becoming a CNA was a perfect fit for Peoples, who has always liked the company of elders. She likes listening to their life stories. Her work is a calling and ministry, she said, and she feels blessed to be able to provide the care and love the residents and skilled nursing patients need.
“I love their mindsets and how their minds go back to childhood,” Peoples said. “The Bible speaks of that.”
Being a CNA requires patience, concern and care, she said.
“You have to love them,” said Peoples, who is active in her church.
What she admires about the nursing staff is teamwork mixed with love and care. The staff is motivated to patient centered care with a lot of compassion, she continued.
“If you’re having a difficult time with one of the residents; for instance, there’s a couple that don’t want to get out of their beds at times, sometimes you have to leave them with somebody else and what you can’t do, they can do.”
Many of the residents have a favorite staff member. She said Sienna Extended Care & Rehab is a great place to work. One that she would refer to anyone.
Peoples offer more than encouragement. She prays for and with the residents. One woman in skilled nursing credited Peoples as the reason she stayed in skilled nursing.
“Because when I pray for her, she said, ‘Every time I see you, you just lighten up my day,’” Peoples said. “And you know I just give God all the glory for that because it’s Him. It’s not me. I tell them all the time it’s not me, it’s Him. Yes sir, it’s Him.”
Peoples met another woman in skilled nursing just recently. She noticed the lady was crying when sitting in a chair. Peoples stopped what she was doing and said, ‘What is the matter?’”
The woman said she was afraid and didn’t want to be there. She was a new patient in skilled nursing. People’s told her the therapy staff would help her and to help them to help her.
“Then you’ll get out of here as quick as you want to be,” Peoples said to her. “So I asked her if she wanted me to pray for her. And she said yes. After I prayed for her she said, ‘I feel so much better. I really do thank you for taking the time out to stop and see about me.’”
Being elderly does not mean life is finished, Peoples said. “Speak life into them,” she said.

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“I work in the skilled unit so I like seeing people come to progress and walk out of here. It makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something.”  Marvis Mimba, RN

“I’ve been in the nursing field for almost 21 years, and I love my patients. That’s why I continue to stay.”  Shaquetta Perry, CMA

“I love helping others and interacting with people.” Nadia Holguin, CNA

“I just want to help people. And I feel like in the end it’s rewarded back to you. It’s a rewarding job and has a purpose.” Marissa Sternberg, LPN

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I work in a clinical setting that has some very challenging personalities and I don’t mean the patients. I have become more aware of my gut feelings when interacting with select individuals. It is so interesting how your initial connection may be good and even for awhile after. But when the dam breaks and that nice person suddenly isn’t so nice anymore………watch out. Can you give me some behaviors that I can watch out for and then what to do to keep myself safe. — Lanie


A. It is true there are all types of personalities around us. We all have quirks and certain neurotic behaviors but for the most part we are functional and easy to work with. Then there are the personalities, as you describe, that fall out of this category.
Two difficult and challenging types are sociopaths and narcissists. And trust me, you work with some. You don’t usually see them coming towards you. It happens later; you feel your gut tightening or you really begin to hear what they are saying. At this point you trust your instincts and refuse to make excuses for them.
1. Lack conscience
2. Cannot love
3. People do not matter
4. Extremely dangerous
5 Always playing the pity card – huge warning sign/appealing to our sympathy
!. Lack empathy
2. Experience psychological pain but lack insight to decrease their pain.
3. Appear to care about you.
4. Intense insecurity
5. They are the main focus in their world.
Once you have identified someone who appears to have some of the above characteristics it is best to interact only as necessary. Keep your personal information to yourself. Stay in your head. Females are especially vulnerable due to their more emotional nature and believe me these individuals can spot you 100 yards away.
“Everyone, including the experts, can be taken in, manipulated, conned, and left bewildered by them. A good psychopath can play a concerto on any one’s heartstrings.’ Robert Hare, a professor of psychology at the University of British Columbia.


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

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Students stop for a picture at the ONASHE Conference.

Seven students from St. Gregory’s University attended the Oklahoma Native American Students in Higher Education (ONASHE) Conference on February 25, 2017. The conference offered three days of workshops and a variety of activities.
“The ONASHE American Indian Higher Education conference truly provides our Indigenous student population with an opportunity to discuss, debate and implement their concepts surrounding a variety of issues impacting Indigenous students in higher education settings,” said Cedric Sunray, Co-Activity Director and Retention Specialist. “From the use of Indigenous people as mascots to combating significantly low graduation rates, as well as sharing stories of success, Indigenous students know that their voice is being heard and valued. They are grateful for the support St. Gregory’s has provided in insuring their involvement.”
Emmaline Barrett, Alyssa Chavez, Sutv Meely, Crystal Pablo, Shannon Foye, Jeffrey Trout, and Phoenix Bills all attended the conference, which celebrated the contributions of American Indian/indigenous populations in higher education and empowered their path towards graduation.
“It was a great experience to be exposed to different Native American cultures here in Oklahoma since I am not from here,” said sophomore Crystal Pablo, a Gallup, New Mexico native. “It was nice having some friends come with me to the event, but also great to meet so many new people.”

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The University Hospitals Authority and Trust (UHAT), The University of Oklahoma (OU), and SSM Health’s St. Anthony Hospitals and Physicians Group announced today they will work to enhance care by clinically integrating their organizations, but they will not move forward with plans to formally unite the governance and financial interests of the respective organizations.
Agreements such as these are very complex, especially when they involve the combination of a large public academic hospital and a private Catholic healthcare organization. After months of ongoing diligence, planning and deliberations, the parties mutually concluded that they would not be able to finalize the transaction.
All three organizations remain optimistic about the benefits of clinical collaboration to enhance care coordination, share best practices, and ultimately, improve patient care. SSM Health, OU, and UHAT are committed to providing the best possible health services for all Oklahomans.
The Hospital Corporation of America (HCA), an investor-owned company based in Nashville, is the current manager and joint owner of OU Medical System hospitals and facilities. UHAT remains committed to concluding its previously announced transaction to purchase HCA’s interest in OU Medical System, which is expected to be completed by late summer 2017.
UHAT and OU will continue to pursue options to best meet the needs of the people of Oklahoma, to enhance the education and training of future physicians and to invest in medical research.
SSM Health will continue its focus on providing exceptional, high-quality care to the Oklahoma community just as the organization has for more than 100 years.
OU Medical System comprises OU Medical Center, The Children’s Hospital at OU Medical Center, OU Medical Center Edmond and the OU Medicine Breast Health Network. We are Oklahoma’s largest and most comprehensive health system, offering expertise in more medical specialties than any other hospital system in the state. Some of OU Medical System’s outstanding services include Oklahoma’s highest level of trauma care for adults and children, the most advanced treatment for stroke patients, the highest-level neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) in Oklahoma, expert cardiac care at the OU Medicine Cardiovascular Institute and Children’s Heart Center, and the state’s largest group of board-certified geriatricians. OU Medical Center Edmond is home to Edmond’s only inpatient senior behavioral health program, Autumn Life Center for Geriatric Behavioral Health. Breast Health Network is the state’s largest group of dedicated breast specialists with four Oklahoma City metro locations and a statewide mobile mammography program. We have the state’s most experienced transplant team and benefit from a collaborative relationship with OU Physicians and the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. Together, we make up OU Medicine and we’re helping keep Oklahoma alive and well. Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube and at www.oumedicine.com.
The University Hospitals Authority and Trust are a state agency and a public trust of the state of Oklahoma. Their mission is to be a catalyst for excellence in medical education, research and health care. Through the leadership of the University Hospitals Authority and Trust, state and federal resources are maximized to ensure a dependable source of revenue for growth, development and ongoing support for programs aimed at improved health for all Oklahomans.
SSM Health (www.ssmhealth.com/system) is a Catholic, not-for-profit health system serving the comprehensive health needs of communities across the Midwest through one of the largest integrated delivery systems in the nation.

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The American Nurses Association (ANA) today announced its strong opposition to the American Health Care Act (AHCA), the recently introduced legislation intended to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
In a letter sent to Congressional leaders today, ANA President Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, FAAN said, “The President committed to repeal the ACA and replace it with something better. The AHCA fails to fulfill that promise. The AHCA, as drafted, would jeopardize the health of Americans with pre-existing conditions, eliminate the Prevention and Public Health Fund, which has effectively helped reduce chronic disease rates, and result in millions of Americans losing critical coverage for mental health and substance-use disorders.”
As it is currently written, the AHCA restructures the Medicaid program, restricts millions of women from access to health care, and repeals income-based subsidies, which will disrupt health care coverage for millions of Americans. In addition, ANA remains troubled by the absence of testimony from non-partisan experts like the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), the Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC) or the Government Accountability Office (GAO).
ANA urges Congress to allow for opportunities for thoughtful, public feedback in the face of reforms that would have such a far-reaching and personal impact across the nation.
In January, the ANA shared its health system reform priorities with Congress. These priorities demanded that careful consideration be given to any legislative proposal which would fundamentally alter health care delivery and impact patients. As the nation’s largest group of health care professionals and the nation’s most trusted profession, ANA asks Congress to keep patients’ health security foremost in their discussions over how to improve the nation’s health care system. ANA stands ready to work with the administration and Congress as a constructive voice and positive force for improving health care delivery, coverage, and affordability for the American people.

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If you have experienced the death of a loved one, grief is the normal and natural response to loss. INTEGRIS Hospice provides ongoing grief support.
The free six-week program conducted by Rev. Bob Willis, B.A., theology, provides a step-by-step approach for those who wish to resolve their loss issues and move beyond their grief toward a richer quality of life.
The program we take place Wednesday evenings, March 22 through April 26 from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m. at the Council Road Baptist Church, 2900 N. Council Road, Oklahoma City, OK 73008
Call the INTEGRIS HealthLine at 405-951-2277 to register. The program is free of charge, but space is limited.
Willis, a former INTEGRIS Hospice bereavement coordinator, was voted Spiritual Counselor of the Year in 2008 by the Oklahoma Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. He provided grief support following the Oklahoma City bombing, Nairobi Embassy bombing and the 9/11 attack in New York.
Since his retirement, Willis has led grief workshops and groups, speaking at conferences around the country. An accomplished sculptor and author, he wrote The Ultimate Caregiver: Words from the Cross to the Caregiver’s Heart, released in November 2008 (second edition 2014).
Normal grief responses include appetite loss, difficulty sleeping, feelings of guilt or regret, lack of concentration, mood changes, numbness and/or crying.

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Third “Critical Conversation” on Transforming Primary Care System via Enhanced Role for RNs to be Held at Children’s Mercy Kanas City on March 17
Kansas City, Mo. (March 9, 2017) – Mounting pressures, including more than 50 percent of Americans with a chronic condition and many with multiple illnesses, are rendering the nation’s primary care system inadequate to meet the population’s needs. On March 17 in Kansas City, healthcare and community leaders will gather for the third in a series of regional critical conversations to share actionable recommendations on the pivotal role the nation’s 3.7 million registered nurses (RNs) can play in alleviating the pressures on primary care.
Co-hosted by the American Academy of Nursing and Children’s Mercy Kanas City, “Critical Conversation: RNs – Partners in Transforming Primary Care” will feature two panels and an audience comprised of health care and community leaders. The discussion will center on recommendations generated by leaders in nursing, primary care, healthcare delivery, philanthropy, social work, government and academia who participated in the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation Conference on Preparing Registered Nurses for Enhanced Roles in Primary Care. (Read the recommendations here: http://bit.ly/2m7bUbg) At the Kansas City event, leaders will discuss practical solutions for moving these recommendations forward, and highlight models of nursing education and practice that enhance RNs role as partners in delivering primary care.
“Over the course of several decades, the core of nursing has shifted from primary care in communities to acute care in hospitals,” said American Academy of Nursing President Bobbie Berkowitz, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN. “But the current need for primary care is greater than ever. These recommendations are critical for leaders of nursing schools, primary care practices and health systems. We must make changes in all of these settings if RNs are to be part of the solution to our primary care crisis.”
“We’re excited to partner with the American Academy of Nursing to lead this important discussion about the enhanced role RNs will play in our nation’s primary care system,” said Karen Cox, PhD, RN, PPCNP-BC, FACHE, FAAN, Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer at Children’s Mercy Kansas City and President-Elect of the Academy. “Together, we must reimagine the role of nurses in primary care nationwide.”
“The forward momentum in primary care means we are moving in the right direction, toward higher value care that is focused on improving the health of the public,” said Macy Foundation President George Thibault, MD. “But we have a long way to go. We simply can’t meet the primary care needs of the nation unless registered nurses are part of the solution, and we must prepare them appropriately and then use them for this role.”
The March 17 event will begin at 8:30 a.m. at Children’s Mercy Adele Hall Campus, 2401 Gillham Rd., Kansas City, Mo.