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Caity Werner, RN, is just one of the caring and compassionate nurses at Good Shepherd Hospice.

It’s raining and Caity Werner, RN, is running late.
On this day, the drive from the Good Shepherd Hospice office in Norman was challenging – to say the least.
But she walks in with a smile.
Just a few years ago it would have been another rough start to another rough day out on her own.
But now, working for Good Shepherd the hospice nurse knows she has an entire team behind her that has her back.
“I had worked for a different hospice and I really liked hospice but that company didn’t always care for their employees,” she said. “I had heard good things about Good Shepherd and basically when I came in for my interview they reassured me they were a team and they worked together.”
Werner began her career as an LPN in 2011. She added her RN in 2014.
“I love just being able to be there for the families and my patients toward the end of their life,” she said. “You get attached and it’s sad to lose your patients but you know they are headed that way and you can be the one to make sure they are comfortable.”
Having an army of support behind her from nurses to social workers to volunteers makes life a lot easier for everyone.
“I like that they have a completely separate on-call team and that they’re not having nurses that are out all day work all night,” she said. “They have a team for admissions so you’re not having to pull too much from the field. And there’s the fact they have so many volunteers that help and can come out and sit with our patients.
“It helps.”
Good Shepherd Hospice opened its first office in Oklahoma City in 1995. The company has a regional presence serving Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Texas.
Nurses like Werner have touched the lives of more than 20,000 patients and 50,000 family members through their time of need.
And Werner is appreciated. She feels it, too.
Good Shepherd Executive Director Sharon Nash, R.N., says Werner fits the mold of a great hospice nurse.
“She’s great with the patients and the families and she’s always willing to jump in and help,” Nash said. And she provides exceptional care.
“We look for nurses who display empathy and understand that dying is part of living and they want to give dignified care that honors the patient’s and the family’s wishes.”
Good Shepherd’s service extends 50-miles from both the Norman and Oklahoma City offices.
But the reach nurses like Werner have can extend for generations.
“The biggest impact is being able to put them at ease,” she said. “We let them know exactly what’s going to happen and we let them know we’re going to be able to make them comfortable. I really try to make a good connection with the family and patient to be able to individualize their care.”
And let them know that a rough start can still have a beautiful ending.


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Kari Cook, RN BSN was recently recognized as ‘School Nurse of the Year.’ She is a school nurse at Southeast High School and Hawthorne Elementary where she enjoys working with both age groups.

In the OKCPS district, nurses play an important part in our schools. With 33 school nurses on staff, there is one nurse that stands out from all the rest and her name is Kari Cook. She was chosen as the School Nurse of the Year, 2018. Congratulations Kari!
Kari Cook, RN BSN works as a school nurse for Oklahoma City Public Schools. She is responsible for two schools; Southeast high school, 3 days a week and Hawthorne Elementary for 2 days.
Born in Tulsa, OK, Kari moved to Denver for a few years but then came back to Oklahoma City when she was 9 years old. “Oklahoma is definitely my home,” Kari said.
Kari says that she started from the bottom and worked her way up. “I became a Certified Nurse’s Assistant in 2003, received my LPN license from Francis Tuttle in 2005 and graduated from OCCC with an Associate’s Degree in Nursing in 2007. OKCPS hired me on the condition that I would obtain my Bachelor’s Degree within 10 years. It was 2009 when I became a school nurse and I immediately loved it! I really felt a need to be at the schools in the OKC district. I needed the children, and they needed me. After my first year of being a school nurse, I knew that I found my niche. I started UCO the next year and graduated with Bachelors in Nursing in 2013.”
Asking Kari how she felt about receiving the honor of School Nurse of the Year, she replied, “I was totally surprised to be chosen among a great group of nurses. Each one is loving and caring and wants to love and support our kids. I believe we work well together and we are excellent resources for each other. It was truly an honor being recognized! We have some rock star nurses that I have the privilege to work with. For me to be chosen by my peers is such a huge acknowledgment. All of my fellow school nurses are all wonderful and deserve to be recognized as well for their hard work and dedication to our students.”
What is your favorite thing about being a nurse? I ask. “My favorite thing about being a nurse would be the feeling I get when I am helping others. I knew early on that I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse. I kind of get to do both,” she said with a smile. “Loving my job is an understatement and I really don’t consider it a job anymore. I get to see these kids come from nothing and become successful members of our community. As a community health nurse, I love seeing my students thriving and improving.”
Kari, what is your biggest asset as a school nurse? “I would say that my biggest asset at the schools would be the staff. I work for a tremendous district full of people that are here for the kids. We all want them to learn so we can help each other achieve that goal. Teamwork makes the dream work!”
How would you describe yourself in 3 words? I ask Kari. “I try to keep myself balanced; seeing both sides of the situation. I am a mother to my children, giving the nurse characteristics part in me that wants to take care of people and take care of others. Life is short and I want to have fun while I’m here. I love to laugh and have a good time with friends and family. That reminds me of my favorite quote, she says. Enjoy life; this is not a dress rehearsal.”
A typical day for Kari keeps her busy. “I’m not as busy at my high school like I am at my elementary. At the high school, I do more education and counseling for my students. They are usually old enough to take care of their basic needs but need more guidance. The high school students take on the ‘adult-role.” At my elementary, it’s boo-boos and ice packs all around. I also have to make sure all my students are up to date on their immunizations. We do health screenings to check student’s vision and hearing. These are the students that need some nurturing. I love both of my schools and enjoy having two age groups; I have the best of both worlds.”


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During National Nurses Week May 6-12, the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) will recognize the approximately 250 public health nurses who work in county health departments and at the OSDH central office in Oklahoma City.
Unlike other nursing specialties, public health nursing works to improve the health outcomes of entire populations rather than just one patient at a time. In many communities, public health nurses are often the first line of defense to prevent illness and injury. Public health nurses are also leaders in improving the quality of care and access to care through health policy advocacy that supports improving the quality of life for all.
This year’s theme for National Nurses Week is “Nurses: Inspire, Innovate, Influence.”
“Nurses are ideally positioned to be the best role models,” said Ann Benson, director of the OSDH Nursing Service. “They are educators and advocates of health and wellness. We want Oklahomans to appreciate the full range of public health nurses’ contributions to their communities.”
Public health nurses lead initiatives to increase access to care and improve outcomes by focusing on primary care, prevention, wellness, chronic disease management and the coordination of care among health care providers and settings. These nurses are even more crucial in helping plan how to expand primary care at community-based clinics in the most efficient and cost-effective ways possible, while recognizing the distinct needs of diverse communities.
“From the beginning of public health’s collaboration with emergency preparedness agencies, our nurses have been critical in responding to public health crisis events that occur in Oklahoma,” Benson said.
For more information about the nursing profession, or to find nursing jobs in Oklahoma, visit the Oklahoma Nurses Association website at http://www.oklahomanurses.org/.


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National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6th and ends on May 12th, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. These permanent dates enhance planning and position National Nurses Week as an established recognition event. As of 1998, May 8 was designated as National Student Nurses Day, to be celebrated annually. And as of 2003, National School Nurse Day is celebrated on the Wednesday within National Nurses Week (May 6-12) each year.

A Brief History of National Nurses Week
1953 Dorothy Sutherland of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to proclaim a “Nurse Day” in October of the following year. The proclamation was never made.
1954 National Nurse Week was observed from October 11 – 16. The year of the observance marked the 100th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s mission to Crimea. Representative Frances P. Bolton sponsored the bill for a nurse week. Apparently, a bill for a National Nurse Week was introduced in the 1955 Congress, but no action was taken. Congress discontinued its practice of joint resolutions for national weeks of various kinds.
1972 Again a resolution was presented by the House of Representatives for the President to proclaim “National Registered Nurse Day.” It did not occur.
1974 In January of that year, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) proclaimed that May 12 would be “International Nurse Day.” (May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale.) Since 1965, the ICN has celebrated “International Nurse Day.”
1974 In February of that year, a week was designated by the White House as National Nurse Week, and President Nixon issued a proclamation.
1978 New Jersey Governor Brendon Byrne declared May 6 as “Nurses Day.” Edward Scanlan, of Red Bank, N.J., took up the cause to perpetuate the recognition of nurses in his state. Mr. Scanlan had this date listed in Chase’s Calendar of Annual Events. He promoted the celebration on his own.
1981 ANA, along with various nursing organizations, rallied to support a resolution initiated by nurses in New Mexico, through their Congressman, Manuel Lujan, to have May 6, 1982, established as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”
1982 In February, the ANA Board of Directors formally acknowledged May 6, 1982 as “National Nurses Day.” The action affirmed a joint resolution of the United States Congress designating May 6 as “National Recognition Day for Nurses.”
1982 President Ronald Reagan signed a proclamation on March 25, proclaiming “National Recognition Day for Nurses” to be May 6, 1982.
1990 The ANA Board of Directors expanded the recognition of nurses to a week-long celebration, declaring May 6 – 12, 1991, as National Nurses Week.
1993 The ANA Board of Directors designated May 6 – 12 as permanent dates to observe National Nurses Week in 1994 and in all subsequent years.
1996 The ANA initiated “National RN Recognition Day” on May 6, 1996, to honor the nation’s indispensable registered nurses for their tireless commitment 365 days a year. The ANA encourages its state and territorial nurses associations and other organizations to acknowledge May 6, 1996 as “National RN Recognition Day.”
1997 The ANA Board of Directors, at the request of the National Student Nurses Association, designated May 8 as National Student Nurses Day.


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What is your favorite restaurant in Oklahoma City, OK and why? Dr. Wade McCoy’s office

My favorite place is Charleston’s because of the baked potato soup and the fried fish.

Darlene Adams, MA

I like Olive Garden. Their chicken fettuccine and lasagna is delicious.

Brenda Green, MA

I love Outback. No one can refuse the bloomin’ onion!

Dianne Jones

I like to go to Fuzzy’s. Their shrimp tacos are the best.

Meriecha Gaines, LPN