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Jennifer Downing, MSN, RN and Emily Clark, MSN, RN and are two of the nursing instructors at OSU-OKC who bring real-world experience to students.

by Bobby Anderson
Staff Writer

At one point during nursing school, Emily Clark looked around and saw students all around her failing.
For Clark, that wasn’t OK.
“That really bothered me,” said Clark, MSN, RN and now a nursing science instructor at OSU-OKC.
So she gathered the struggling classmates, rewrote the material and then taught it herself.
Grades rose and so did Clark’s future aspirations.
“That’s when I figured out I liked to teach,” she said.
Her advisor talked her into getting her master’s right away even though bedside care was her immediate passion.
“I loved being a nurse, out there with the patients and I didn’t want to fully give that up yet,” she said. “I feel like I have the best of both worlds right now.”
Right now she works per diem at a local surgery/PACU unit and leads students full-time at OSU-OKC on the path to their nursing degree.
The majority of nursing faculty at OSU-OKC have a similar story about their love for education but their need to remain at the bedside.
It’s a common theme that binds them to their students.
“I approach nursing and teaching probably very similarly,” said Jennifer Downing, MSN, RN, nursing science instructor. “I’m really empathetic and compassionate with my patients and my students. A lot of nurses at my work work will say ‘you’ve been gone a long time. Where have you been.’ I tell them I’m with my patients, that’s what I’m here for.’”
“I’m like that with my students, too.”
Growing up in Indiana, Clark was the oldest of four children.
“I’ve always had that take-care-of-everybody attitude,” she said. “I think that’s part of why I like nursing so well because it’s a similar mentality. That applies to co-workers, students, patients. I think that’s what’s so nice about nursing. It’s very much a teamwork mentality.”
“Everybody works together and it just makes your day better.”
Nursing schools have historically been bombarded by complaints of disconnected, unsympathetic faculty long removed from patient care.
It’s the opposite at OSU-OKC.
“It’s very important,” Clark said of working nurses teaching. “What is the point of preparing them for something that doesn’t apply. Just as we try to teach our students to be holistic with their patients and not to see them as a checklist … as nursing instructors we need to make sure we carry that same holistic view into the world of instruction.”
“It’s not just ‘you’re the student, sink or swim, tough luck this is what we expect and here is the bar.’ It’s important to see them as a whole person.”
Clark and Downing agree that part of being a good instructor is not only being available for students but finding out what challenges they’re facing.
The post-conference sessions instructors have with students are important tools.
“It’s taking that time to talk to them about their day in an area where they feel safe in an area where they’re not worried about ‘what are the nurses hearing me say,’” Clark said. “You’re not being graded and they can just say ‘this is the emotional dilemma I’ve had today.’”
The funny thing is that OSU instructors can relate. They’ve been there before.
“I think we work well as a team and we do team-teaching here,” Downing said. “What I think we do really well for our students is connect with them on a personal level.”
Downing makes it a point to reach out to her students early each semester and supplies them with all her contact information including her cell.
She’s trying to reel that in.
“I make myself pretty available and they feel pretty comfortable contacting me – at all hours sometime,” Downing laughed. “I’m not very good at restricting that. I feel like I should be available to them. I love the connection we have with our students.”
Downing’s last 14 years have been spent as a labor room and delivery nurse, a role she still works at least four times a month.
“It helps having been there and still being there,” Clark said. “Time fades memories. Sometimes when I still work I have those days when I go home exhausted on every level mentally, emotionally and physically. It’s nice to still be able to know what our students are going through.”
“There’s not a right or wrong way to feel.”

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Joe Martin, RN, JD is helping nurses protect their license through RN Guard.

story and photo by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer

Several hundred people, a prosecuting attorney and a board that has the legal right to take away your license to practice.
That’s what’s waiting for nurses called in front of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing.
Joe Martin, RN, JD, knows most nurses aren’t prepared for what they’ll be walking into on hearing day.
But he wants them to know they don’t have to do it alone.
“Sometimes a well-crafted response to an initial inquiry can save the nurse much time and heartache if they would just allow an attorney to represent them,” Martin said.
But that often comes with a hefty price tag, forcing most nurses to represent themselves.
Robert J. Haupt, attorney and founder of Oklahoma City-based National Litigation Law Group, recruited Martin and his combined 15 years of nursing experience and his juris doctorate to come up with a plan that puts an entire law firm behind nurses.
And it costs less than $10 a month.
“Nurses tend to underestimate the risk,” said Martin, managing attorney at National Litigation Law Group. “A nurse who has worked 15 or 16 years – like myself – will say ‘I’ve been doing this for this long why do I need your service now?’”
Reports from two prominent nursing organizations show that a majority of liability issues fall with nurses who have 16 years or more of experience.
NLLG offers a $9.95 monthly subscription plan for nurses. The plan supplies attorney representation for any board inquiry or notice.
Legal advice, written responses to inquiries and even representation at the hearing itself are all included.

“We’re going to be there to help them identify witnesses and evidence that are potentially there as well,” Martin said.
Martin can also help nurses obtain the evidence that will be used against them prior to the actual hearing date.
“Our whole premise of this entire program is we wanted to provide affordable, legal, professional representation for nurses,” Martin said. “Nurses aren’t prepared for every single scenario you will come up against. There are a lot of nurses that probably every single day say to themselves ‘My God, thank you … somebody didn’t die today.’”
Martin says last year alone 746 nurses were investigated and/or sanctioned in Oklahoma.
His nursing career has taken him through emergency room, medical-surgical, ICU, cardiac, Trauma and VIP settings.
Martin began his nursing career at the age of 21 after graduating from Carl Albert State College in Poteau and Northeastern State University.
Talking to a friend who was a nurse and going through law school inspired Martin to pursue the legal field himself.
He graduated from Oklahoma City University law school in 2008.
The legal field was just a good fit.
“I know everybody who goes to law school says this but I am a bit argumentative,” Martin said with a laugh. “I like to prove my point. No. 2, I liked the aspect of helping people.”
With RN Guard, Martin is able to merge his passions.
Martin’s early law career involved malpractice defense. He defended nurses, doctors and hospitals.
“Nursing boards have a job to do. It’s a difficult job for them to do,” Martin said. “At the same time it’s intimidating for a nurse to have to go before them unrepresented. That’s the whole reason behind RN Guard – so each nurse would have the capability of representation without breaking their bank.”
“(Nurses) may think (a hearing) is along the lines of sitting around a table and discuss and figure something out. It’s not that way. It’s more adversarial and it’s meant to be that way because the board has a job to do protecting the public.”
NLLG currently offers the plan for RNs, LPNs and APRNs and provides coverage in all 50 States and in most US Territories.
“As a nurse, I recognize the risk,” Martin said.
“I think nursing schools do a really good job of preparing nurses but what nurses don’t realize are the outliers. In the nursing profession there are times where the books do not prepare you for what is before you and you have to make quick judgment calls on the fly, in what I would consider a battlefield. In hindsight, sometimes the board has questions about those decisions that you make.”
And Martin wants to make sure you never have to answer them alone.


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Rasheda Ehoro, ACMA, says coming to work and hearing residents say they are happy to see her, brightens her day.


by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer

Rasheda Ehoro feels a sense of belonging at Forest Glade Retirement Community in Bethany. She said being an advanced certified medication aide is her calling.
“That’s what has me working with the elderly,” Ehoro said. “Each and every one of my residents have a different personality. We have some of the loveliest elderly ladies here. They are so grandmotherly like. And we have those who have that spit-fire with spunk in them. I love it. It’s beautiful and wonderful.”
Forest Glade Retirement Community is an assisted living with two separate communities for higher functioning residents or for those who need a higher acuity of care. Forest Glade encompasses 72 rooms while Park Lake has 38 rooms.
The residents themselves uplift Ehoro every day, she said. She said she looks forward to coming to work.
“I know whatever day I had in the beginning – when I come here I know that is going to be easily wiped away. Residents are there. They are funny and they have life stories. If I’m going through something and tell them that story, you better believe somebody has already been there and done that.”
Ehoro said one day she was having a petty disagreement with her husband leaving her confused. One of the ladies asked her, “What’s going on?”
Ehoro said she was trying to find the best resolution by being equal to both sides.
“And she said, ‘Oh honey. I’ve been there and done that.’ Sure enough, I took her advice and it works.”
Her inspiration for her career comes from her late mother who had been a registered nurse. She lost her mother and dad within two years.
“This is all I’ve kind of known. This has been my comfort,” she said. “Not only that but what I’ve seen and witnessed from my own family has made me want to research and study to learn more.”
She has been a ACMA for 10 years since graduating from Metro Technology Center. She joined the staff at Forest Glade a little more than a year ago.
“It’s a family environment from the residents to the employees,” Ehoro said. “From the administration, everybody has that general tone that we want to be here. We want to be together. We want to make this the best place for them and a nice experience for everybody that’s here.”
Administrator Karen Martinez said she is proud of the nursing staff because they are hands-on with the residents and the family members. They excel with communication between staff, residents and family members.
Forest Glade is also under new management, Martinez said.
“This group of people. The employees that we have come together and we don’t even have to ask for them to step up,” Martinez said. “There have been times when there was a need for more staff. We didn’t have to ask. They came to us and said this is what we’re going to do.”
The nursing staff is loyal to both the residents and to the company, she explained.
Ehoro said the staff has an understanding that they can always be supportive and talk about challenges whenever there is a problem.
“If there is a family member that is upset, we want to make sure they leave here happy,” Ehoro said. That’s what we want you to do when you leave Forest Glade. We want you to have peace of mind when you walk through those doors.”
Ehoro said her career is not perfect every day. It can be difficult, but at the end of the day she feels rewarded. It’s not easy seeing someone expire, she said. But she remembers her mother’s words, “You just can’t do this because you’re looking for money. To this you have to dedicate your life, your heart, your soul, your body. There are going to be days when you’re going to be tired, but you have to come through.”
When not working Ehoro is taking care of her family or shopping at her leisure. She is a mother of three children ages 9-3 who keep her busy and her life enriched. But she is also enriched by her work.
“It’s when I come in and I have a resident that says, ‘You know what? I’ve been waiting for you all day. I wondered if you were coming. I’m so happy to see you here.’ To hear one of my residents tell me, ‘I’m so happy you are here today,’ That lets me know that my job is done. For me I don’t need a certificate. I don’t need a trophy or a plaque. When I know my job is done is when my residents are saying, ‘I missed you.’”

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The Easter Bunny hopped through the halls of the newly re-named INTEGRIS Children’s pediatric unit at Baptist Medical Center this week.
A uniformed deputy from the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office escorted the friendly rabbit as he visited with children who are unable to spend Easter at home this year because of injury or illness. In addition to giving hugs and taking pictures, the happy hare also delivered stuffed animals to each and every child at INTEGRIS Children’s.
This is all part of a nationwide effort through the Easter Bunny Foundation, a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a personal visit and a toy from the Easter Bunny during the week of Easter to children in children’s hospitals and pediatric wards across the United States and the United Kingdom. The Foundation’s message is simple: “Some Bunny Loves You!”
INTEGRIS Children’s and the Oklahoma Sheriff’s Office are proud to take part in this annual celebration.

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What do you love about working at Bradford Village? Bradford Village, Edmond

“I love the residents and the team work.” Nidia Holguin, CNA

“We have an awesome team and I love working with the patient’s.” Tara Gaillard, CNA

That’s easy. It’s our residents. I enjoy working with our crew.” Nyoka Berry, LPN

“My residents and the team work. The staff.” Kendra Scott, CNA

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I know that good marriages are possible if two people are committed to doing the work. But one variable that I did not count on was how much work was involved with blended families. My wife and I would like to share our story.

My name is Vernon and my wife is Christy. I was divorced with a 15 year old son, Robert and Christy was divorced with a 13 year old daughter, Victoria. We met on Mar 25, 2011. Both of our kids were good at first and they wanted to be friends with the other parent at the time (while we were dating).
Later Victoria and Robert didn’t want to mind Christy and I and the rebellion soon followed. Victoria ran away and decided to stay and live with her father due to the misbehaving and rebellion. At the time, Robert was living with me in Cushing, Oklahoma. I decided to move Robert and myself to Oklahoma City in Aug. 2013 to be closer to Christy.
We got engaged and then married in Nov 2013. Christy and Robert became good friends as stepson and stepmother. His senior year brought changes to their relationship with rebellion and telling Christy she was not his mother. He became oppositional and refused to follow our rules.
Robert left to live with his mother in California and that is where he is now.
Throughout this journey Christy and I realized that we had to be strong and committed to each other so that our relationship would not deteriorate as a result of the strife with our children. We feel we are each other’s soul mate and that is very important to us. We love our children and welcome them home as long as they can be respectful and appreciate what we are trying to do for them.
One of the things that helped us was to realize we did not have all the answers and sought counseling to assist with finding solutions. We tried to maintain interactive communication and not stuff our thoughts and feelings especially it we thought it might upset the other. That’s not to say that we did not have some arguments and disagreements, because we did.
Our four year anniversary will be this Nov. We have learned a lot about the struggles of blending families. This was a time of change for our children too and we hope they will both want to be an active part of our lives.
Vernon and Christy


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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St. Anthony Hospital and Southwestern Medical Center are pleased to announce a formal affiliation agreement between the two organizations. The affiliation was finalized in a signing ceremony today in Lawton.
“SSM Health Care of Oklahoma and St. Anthony are pleased to partner with Southwestern Medical Center to develop a coordinated approach that will serve to enhance the high quality of care already provided by Southwestern, along with increasing access to specialty services,” stated Joe Hodges, President/CEO, SSM Health Care of Oklahoma.
The two organizations will work together increasing access to clinical services such as cardiology and neurosurgery, and will also focus on improving the quality and value of care provided in Lawton.
According to Southwestern Medical Center interim CEO Dan Jones, “We are very excited to launch this affiliation with St. Anthony Hospital. We believe that this affiliation will allow us to provide our patients with a continuum of care previously not available in Lawton. A strong quaternary care partner, like St. Anthony, affords our community timely access to a higher level of care when needed and provides a smooth return to care in our community when care is provided in Oklahoma City.”
SSM Health Care Oklahoma includes St. Anthony Hospital (Oklahoma City); Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony (Oklahoma City); St. Anthony South (Oklahoma City) and St. Anthony Shawnee Hospital (Shawnee, Okla.). The SSM Oklahoma network also includes two St. Anthony Healthplex campuses, 17 affiliated hospitals, and St. Anthony Physicians Group with more than 200 physicians and providers.
Southwestern Medical Center, an affiliate of RCCH HealthCare Partners, is a 199-bed, full-service acute care hospital with a medical staff of more than 150, covering a wide range of medical specialties. SWMC has a 24-hour emergency department, 59-bed medical/surgical unit, and 8-bed intensive care unit. SWMC’s free-standing Southwestern Behavioral Health Center offers inpatient and outpatient services for children, adolescents, and adults.

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The Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit organization committed to driving quality, safety, and transparency in the U.S. health care system, today released new Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grades, which assign A, B, C, D and F letter grades to hospitals nationwide. St. Anthony Hospital, including Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony, was one of 823 hospitals to receive an “A” for its commitment to reducing errors, infections, and accidents that can harm patients.
“At St. Anthony and Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony, our top priority is patient safety. We are pleased to be recognized by The Leapfrog Group, as this is a true testament to our commitment to best safety practices. By utilizing these practices, we ensure our patients receive the best care possible,” said Tammy Powell, president of St. Anthony Hospital.
“Hospitals that earn top marks nationally in the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade, ‘have achieved the highest safety standards in the country,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group. “That takes commitment from every member of the hospital staff, who all deserve thanks and congratulations when their hospitals achieve an ‘A’ Safety Grade.”
Developed under the guidance of an Expert Panel, the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade uses 30 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to assign A, B, C, D and F grades to more than 2,600 U.S. hospitals twice per year. It is calculated by top patient safety experts, peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public.
To see St. Anthony Hospital’s full grade, and to access consumer-friendly patient tips for staying safe in the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetygrade.org or follow the Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade on Twitter or Facebook. Consumers can also download the free Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

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Patients at Mercy Hospital Watonga now have easier access to specialists and more doctors thanks to upgraded technology.
Six patient rooms have been equipped with telemedicine capability. The $60,000 investment, which involves two-way audio and video technology, provides a greater number of patients in surrounding communities access to physicians like Dr. Ariel Lufkin. Although his office is at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City, Dr. Lufkin only sees patients remotely at Mercy Hospital Watonga and a few other rural Mercy facilities. He said the upgraded equipment gives telemedicine-dedicated physicians more freedom to interact with patients. “Before the new rooms, we used a cart equipped with a computer and high-definition camera to see patients,” Dr. Lufkin said. “The process relied heavily on somebody to bring the cart from room to room. There was a lot of coordination involved in making sure everybody was in the right place and on the same page.”
In addition to saving time by giving patients quicker access to physicians, Dr. Lufkin said the new equipment frees up other providers like Miranda Cash, an advanced practice registered nurse and certified nurse practitioner who joined Mercy Hospital Watonga in January.
“Our nurses are able to see and take care of patients while myself and other physicians focus on different patients,” Dr. Lufkin said. “It allows faster treatment and results.” The concept of telemedicine was introduced at Mercy Hospital Watonga in 2015. Used alongside Mercy’s comprehensive electronic health record system, physicians and specialists across Mercy’s four-state region can access vital patient information including lab work, medications and health history for diagnosis and treatment.
“Many patients do not have the time or resources to travel a long way for care,” said Bobby Stitt, administrator of Mercy Hospital Watonga. If a rural patient is admitted to a hospital in a larger city, oftentimes family members are unable to make frequent visits. “Telemedicine allows us to keep our patients and family members at home where they are most comfortable.”

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Jonas Rabel, RN, MBA

Jonas Rabel, RN, MBA is named the new president of INTEGRIS Miami Hospital. Rabel began his career with INTEGRIS in 2010 leading the Emergency Department at INTEGRIS Grove Hospital. In 2014, he became the Regional Director of Emergency Medicine for both INTEGRIS Grove and INTEGRIS Miami Hospital. He was soon promoted to his current position as Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at INTEGRIS Grove.
He is an accomplished health care professional with a proven passion for excellence. Before coming to INTEGRIS he worked in the areas of cardiovascular and coronary care and intensive care.
Jonas graduated from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M in 2004 with his RN degree. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University.
Born in Joplin, MO, Jonas was raised in Miami and graduated from Miami High School in 2000. He is excited about the opportunity to lead his “hometown” hospital.
He is married and he and his wife, Erin, have three children. The family is very active in the church that his father pastors. Jonas plays bass guitar and helps lead praise and worship at the church. He also assists in teaching children and young adult classes.
Jonas will officially move into his new role as President of INTEGRIS Miami Hospital on May 1, 2017.

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