by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
One look at the list of credentials behind Karen Ann Taylor’s name and you know she’s a very involved lady.
Taylor, DNP, APRN-CNP, PMHNP-BC, is the incoming president of the Oklahoma Nurses Association and while she’s ready to lead, she’s also ready to learn.
“I’m very excited to learn more and see what else there is I can do to work with ONA to improve nursing in Oklahoma and the health care nurses provide in Oklahoma,” Taylor said.
Taylor has always been active when it came to leadership roles.
Taylor was the president of her student nurse association when she was in nursing school.
After graduation she started working and trying to raise a family.
When she went back to school as a nurse practitioner she dove back into the various organizations presented to her.
When it involved giving a nurse a voice she was always there. But through the years she’s paired down her focus to the one group that represents all of Oklahoma’s nurses.
“It’s Oklahoma. I want to be involved. I want to help nurses and improve what we do here,” she says of her focus for her upcoming term. “It seems like we have good numbers but we need more involvement.”
Dr. Taylor has been a nurse for more than 25 years.
Beginning her career as a associate degree nurse, she has worked in ICU, home health, and psychiatry. Her passion for psychiatry prompted her to want to improve the care she could provide to the patients she served.
She returned to nursing school and completed a Nurse Practitioner program at Vanderbilt University, in Nashville, Tennessee. During her employment with a local tribal facility she realized a need for improved access to mental health services.
She was enrolled in a DNP program and during this time she implemented a telemental health clinic for the patients she served. Now sustained by the facility she continues to provide a telemental health clinic to those patients who have limited access to Mental Health services.
For the past 12 years, Taylor has been an adult psychiatric nurse practitioner for the Choctaw Nation in Talihina.
She served as an associate degree RN for many years and decided she would go back for her bachelor’s degree and eventually her DNP.
“I wanted to do more for more patients than what I was able to as a nurse,” Taylor explained. “I wanted to be making some of those decisions, the plan of care, not just the nursing plan of care.”
“It’s been very rewarding.”
Later this fall at the ONA Annual Convention, Taylor will succeed outgoing ONA President Joyce Van Nostrand, PhD, RN.
Taylor says she wants to keep the ONA focused on its membership and represent nurses from all fields.
Over the years, the ONA, led by Chief Executive Officer Jane Nelson, has continued to evolve as the practice of nursing has evolved in our state.
One of those initiatives is the Emerging Nurses.
This is a special interest group of the Oklahoma Nurses Association whose participants are registered nurses from all different backgrounds and levels of experience. Emerging Nurses provides a safe forum where individuals from these different specialty areas can come together to support and learn from one another.
As a new RN, it is sometimes difficult to find where you fit in among the health care community. This group provides new nurses with networking opportunities and a chance to discover areas of nursing that may not have been available to them before. Emerging Nurses eagerly addresses today’s hot topics in nursing, as well as nursing care on a daily basis.
FULL PRACTICE AUTHORITY
Independent practice is still the goal for nurse practitioners in Oklahoma.
“I’d like to see the full practice authority be approved and then we can go from there and just pursue a better nursing practice in general,” Taylor said.
It’s been an uphill fight each legislative session as nurse practitioners seeking full practice authority have blocked every step of the way.
Taylor wants to change that, and she wants to change what nurses are willing to accept in how they are treated.
“Because of what we do we do tend to be abused sometimes and we sometimes allow that because of what we do,” Taylor said. “We’re supposed to take care of people, not argue with them or debate with them. I’d like to see that mentality change, the laws changed to where nurses don’t feel like they have to accept that.”
“The mindset was always ‘well they’re ill and at the worst time of their life.’ But I’m sorry that doesn’t give you the permission to treat someone who is trying to help you like they are garbage. That demeans us and it doesn’t allow I think newer nurses to respect what they’re doing.”