Timber by EMSIEN-3 LTD

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Tammy Williams, LPN and director of nursing at Ash Street Assisted Living Center and owner Joe Chappell provide services for the elderly with their independence in mind.

by James Coburn
Staff Writer

It’s easy for Joe Chappell to say what he admires about his nursing staff.
“I just admire how compassionate they are,” he said. “You’re only as good as your staff.”
The Chappell family also owns the Golden Age Nursing Center across the street from Ash Creek Place, Willow Creek Care Center in Guthrie and the Golden Oaks Village assisted care living center in Stillwater.
Ash Street Place Assisted Living Center in Guthrie strives to keep its residents at a high quality of life, said Tammy Williams, LPN and director of nursing.
“She doesn’t leave this building at 4 p.m.,” Chappell said. “This building goes home with her on nights, on weekends. She gets phone calls if someone falls. She doesn’t live close. She lives in southern Logan County and I get phone calls from her on a Saturday night at 10 p.m. and she’s here because someone has fallen.”
If someone falls, Williams come up with a plan of correction. She constantly is thinking of ways if something happens to a resident to keep it from happening again, Chappell said.
She knows about challenges people face after an injury.
“Years ago I had been in a car wreck and had my leg broke,” she said. “I was 9 years old. I got out the day after my birthday. And the way the nurses treated me and took care of me made me tell my parents, ‘I’m going to be a nurse.’”
Williams’ talents go beyond nursing, Chappell said. She is also a counselor. Quality nurses are scares and can work anywhere they chose, he said.
“It takes a special nurse to care for the elderly I think,” Chappell said. “You have to have a heart for it because if you didn’t you’d be working somewhere else.”
Williams could work in a doctor’s office and leave at 4 p.m., but she’s attached to her residents at Ash Creek Place.
She can often be seen working crossword puzzles with residents, who tell her stories about how Guthrie used to be.
“I think it needs to be a home environment. You need to love the residents and be able to talk to them,” said Williams who likes to spend her leisure time caring for people.
“I go home and take care of my grandkids,” she said.
At Ash Creek she knows her goal is to keep residents as independent as possible, Williams said. Many times Ash Street Place accepts residents who have been in a nursing home but have become dependent on the assistance they received at a nursing home.
“We have to transition them, kindly, to independence again, because they are expecting more help than we want to provide for them, because our goal is to keep them independent,” Chappell said.
Chappell explains to every resident who moves to Ash Street Place that assisted living means they must be able to self-transfer and get to the dining room. They can do that with an electric cart or a wheel chair, but they need to be able to get out of bed and into the wheel chair to get there, he said.
“We certainly will provide skilled care for someone who gets sick. We may have someone who temporarily can’t get out of a chair for a couple of days, or we don’t think they’re safe walking to the dining room.”
Williams’ expertise is seeing they can provide the appropriate level of care for each resident by doing assessments to ensure the facility can meet their needs. She is on the phone with a doctor when she notices subtle changes in a resident’s health.
“She’s dedicated to it. I never have to worry when an inspection comes in,” Chappell said.
Williams has worked for the Chappell family for 12 years since earning her nursing degree at Francis Tuttle Technology Center. For the last six years she has assisted the residents at Ash Street Place.
Chappell’s grandfather, Leo Chappell, bought the Golden Age Nursing Center when Joe was 5 years old in 1961. Joe’s father had talked him into purchasing the nursing home.
“My granddad bought the building. My dad rented the building from him and owned the business,” Chappell said. He has always said you can walk through Golden Age and see the evolution of the nursing home by going from wing to wing.
Construction is adding 12 rooms to Golden Age today to add to the privacy of its residents, he said. They will be licensed for the same amount of residents, he explained.
“We already have a state-of-the-art gym designed for senior citizens with 16 different machines that are air-pressure powered,” Chappell said of providing a complete workout. “We’re also open to anyone over 50 to work out there free.”
The new wing will also provide a pool in the basement for water therapy and recreation. A pre-k class will also open four 4-year-olds to attend school in the same manner as what already occurs at Willow Creek and at Golden Oaks.
This intergenerational type of program is growing across the U.S. Children learn tolerance and connectivity to other generations in a time when extended families no longer live together for the most part.
“Not only do the kids entertain the residents, but the residents entertain the kids,” Chappell said. “It puts a spark in the eye of the people that live in the nursing home.”

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Cayla Ballard, RN works at the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital. Working in rehab, Cayla knows the importance of touch. Physical touch enables healing in a way nothing else can.

story and photo by Vickie Jenkins

Cayla Ballard works at the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Bethany, OK. Working in Rehab, she enjoys spending time with all of the children, helping each child in their own way. Ballard went to school at OCCC and has been a nurse for almost 2 years. Going through school, Ballard had two mentors in college. One was her English teacher. “She took me under her wing and I still thrive in her presence today,” she says. “The other one was my Nursing I teacher. Her name is Cindy Milam and I still seek her advice.”
“Why did you become a nurse?” I ask. “My grandmother was a nurse and I wanted to carry on her legacy. I always admired her for that,” she replied. Working at the Children’s Center is Ballard’s first job as a nurse. When she had clinicals here, she thought it was a sad place and she didn’t think she could work around the children. That night, she went home and couldn’t stop thinking about them. Then, she had a change of heart; she knew that the Children’s Center was the place for her to be. Ballard says the most rewarding part of her job is knowing it’s all about the children, caring for the children and loving the children.”
“How would you describe yourself in 3 words?” “I would say that I am compassionate, empathetic and funny. Some people say I’m funny. Oh, that sounds so cheesy,” she said with a giggle. “Are you a leader or a follower?” “Oh, I am definitely a leader.”
“What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field?” “Always touch your patients. Physical touch enables healing in a way nothing else can. As humans, we feel love when we touch or are being touched. The act of touching is so important.”
Asking Ballard if there is anything about herself that would surprise others, she answered, “Most people don’t know that I am shy. I am very shy and I don’t think a lot of people recognize that. Also, it would probably surprise people to know that I was in ballet for 12 years. Yes, I was a ballerina. I enjoyed it very much.”
“Did anyone influence you to become a nurse?” “My grandmother had a big influence on my life. She was a nurse for 60 years. She told me the story of when she became a nurse. Since there was a shortage of nurses back then, they had the girls that were taking care of the patients go to a class. If they passed, they were LPN’s. When I was little, I wanted to be a nurse and a teacher when I grew up. Now, I still want to be a nurse and a teacher,” she said with a laugh. The life lesson that Ballard has learned since being a nurse is that life is precious and no one should take anything for granted. Be thankful for everything. “I mean that in the most admirable way,” she adds. ”What is the favorite thing about your job?” “I love the staff here and I love the patients. I love them both equally and there is no way I could choose one over the other.”
Asking Ballard what qualities make for a good nurse, she replied, “I think that a nurse should be willing to put her own needs second, or third or fourth. A willingness to put yourself out on a limb regardless of the repercussions. A willingness to advocate for the children. Stay strong in your actions and always do what is right.” A typical day for Ballard consists of lots of hands on. “Working the night shift, there aren’t a lot of extra hands to help, so we are the bones and we do all the work. If we are fortunate enough, we get time to do some snuggling and rocking with the little babies. I love my job.”
Ballard’s hobbies include camping, hiking and back-packing. “My family and I go camping quite a bit and we love it,” she comments. “I also like to do canning; all kinds of jellies and jams. I think it’s really fun.” “What is your favorite TV show?” I ask. “Well, this may seem strange but I love watching Frontline. “What is your favorite music?” “I like mellow music. My best friend calls it coffee shop music. I don’t know why I like that kind of music, but I do.”

What would you do with $1 million? Integris Southwest Medical Center – 9th floor


Probably give to charity, donate and then take care of my kids and then go to Greece. Terri Quinetero, RN

I’d give most of it to charity. I go to Africa each year as part of a mobile surgical unit. Maggie Jensen, RN

I would have to sit on it for a day or two then give a lot of family, kids, sister and the Nathan Shinn Foundation. Holly Hazelwood, RN

I’d pay off my house, my son’s house, give to charity and then go from there. Jane Brawner, RN

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Jonette Dunlap wants more retired school teachers to consider the personal enrichment of improving a child’s life by becoming a CASA.

by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer

Jonette Dunlap continues to feel an altruistic calling as a retired school teacher.
Her life had been dedicated to children and she wanted to see more of them prosper and experience the beauty of life. Six years ago, she discovered being an advocate for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), would provide a stepping stone for many more children that she has mentored and acted in their best interests.
The goal of a CASA is to advocate for children and teenagers during a child custody court proceeding due to their legal guardians’ alleged abuse and neglect. Dunlap hopes that more retired school teachers will consider volunteering as a CASA.
“I have a passion for this,” Dunlap said. “It’s being able to take what I did as a teacher involved in the child’s life, but only so far, and go with them further, and be able to be an active advocate for their situations.”
A judge is looking for a neutral third-party opinion to cover bureaucratic concerns. They want someone to give an objective point of view to what would best serve the children, said Alex Corbett, CASA volunteer recruiter and training facilitator.
DHS is mandated by statute to attempt the reunification of the child and legal guardian if there is a glimmer of hope. CASA is not bound by that law when advocating.
There are currently 174 active CASA volunteers in Oklahoma County, he said. During the course of a year, there are typically 240-250 active volunteers on one or more cases, he added.
Corbett refers to Dunlap being a rare breed — a super CASA. Dunlap accepts the maximum work-load of five cases.
“By putting a cap on the number of cases a CASA volunteer can serve on — the wisdom being that the CASA volunteer comes to know the children, families and the core situation much better than the DHS worker has the time to do,” Corbett said. “The DHS workers want to, but they don’t have the time to dig as deeply in the case as what a CASA volunteer can do.”
Dunlap cautioned that there are not enough CASA volunteers to serve the growing needs of children in Oklahoma County. The ideal situation would be to have a CASA on every case, for every child that enters the custody of the Oklahoma County DHS system.
“That way we could make sure that all areas are being covered,” Dunlap continued. “And as Alex was mentioning, the DHS workers are very good, but they only have a certain amount of time. So we step in and fill some of those gaps. We can make more visits. We do have more time to go to the schools.”
As a teacher, she would make home visits and see families living the way most people would not consider as normal. She could not do anything about it, Dunlap said. But as a CASA, she is empowered to advocate for at-risk and deprived children in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Human Services.
“We follow them along through that time in custody,” Dunlap said. “With my particular background, I always look at that education.”
Many children are far behind literacy standards when entering the DHS system. These children become even further behind in their education when being placed in different areas of custody or for therapies in different patient facilities, she said.
Providing opportunities to change a child’s life is also uplifting for Dunlap.
“Being there to see their eyes light up. That’s the main thing,” Dunlap said. “Seeing them have hope and being able to make a difference in their case; my reward is when I’m able to change something that was not getting taken care of in the way it should have been.”
She recalls a case when a boy was supposedly home-schooled. But it was found that at the age of 8, when he entered DHS custody, he had been without any schooling. The boy knew nothing about math or spelling.
“As an 8-year-old he had to start in the first grade,” Dunlap said. “He started behind. He is still behind but making some strides to catch-up,” Dunlap said. “That is a success story because I’ve spent time with him, taking him to the library and tutoring him in reading.”
Education is sparking the boy’s curiosity to learn and engage in life, when before, he was very quiet because he could not read at all.
“He now is very proud to be able to read some little beginning books,” Dunlap said.
Reading is so important to one’s life because illiteracy impacts a growing prison population in Oklahoma.
“If you are interested in children, and you like making a difference, CASA is a great place to do it,” Dunlap said. “You pretty much have control of your time and the only things that are fixed in stone are the court dates. So you’re expected to be there with your child and have a report written for the court.”
The volunteer is supported by an advocate supervisor who accompanies the CASA in all court proceedings, Corbett said.

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St. Anthony Hospital, including Bone and Joint Hospital at St. Anthony, has been recognized for its dedication to patient safety by being awarded an A grade in the Spring 2015 Hospital Safety Score, which rates how well hospitals protect patients from preventable medical errors, injuries and infections within the hospital.
This A grade is one of the most meaningful honors a hospital can achieve, and one of the most valuable indicators for patients looking for a safe place to receive care. The Hospital Safety Score is the gold standard rating for patient safety, compiled under the guidance of the nation’s leading patient safety experts and administered by The Leapfrog Group, a national, nonprofit hospital safety watchdog. The first and only hospital safety rating to be peer-reviewed in the Journal of Patient Safety, the Score is free to the public and designed to give consumers information they can use to protect themselves and their families when facing a hospital stay.
“This recognition is a testament to our commitment of exceptional patient care. Patient safety is our number one priority, and by using best practices we ensure our patients receive the best care possible,” said Tammy Powell, president of St. Anthony Hospital.
St. Anthony’s A grade validates its achievement in preventing harm within the hospital, and we are proud to recognize the efforts of the care providers and staff,” said Leah Binder, president and CEO of The Leapfrog Group, which administers the Hospital Safety Score. “Patient safety requires constant vigilance, and we encourage St. Anthony and all other A hospitals to continue demonstrating unrelenting commitment to patients by consistently providing a safe environment for care.”
Developed under the guidance of Leapfrog’s Blue Ribbon Expert Panel, the Hospital Safety Score uses 28 measures of publicly available hospital safety data to produce a single A, B, C, D, or F score, representing a hospital’s overall capacity to keep patients safe from preventable harm. More than 2,500 U.S. general hospitals were assigned scores in April 2015, with about 31-percent receiving an A grade. The Hospital Safety Score is fully transparent, offering a full analysis of the data and methodology used in determining grades on the website. Now, for the first time, patients can also review their hospital’s past safety performance alongside its current grade on the Hospital Safety Score site, allowing them to determine which local hospitals have the best track record in patient safety and which have demonstrated consistent improvement.
To see St. Anthony’s full score, and to access consumer-friendly tips for patients and loved ones visiting the hospital, visit www.hospitalsafetyscore.org or follow The Hospital Safety Score on Twitter or Facebook. Consumers can also download the free Hospital Safety Score mobile app for Apple and Android devices.

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May is National Skin Cancer Awareness Month. It’s the perfect time to learn ways to keep your skin healthy and cancer free.
Join us for a free lunch & learn, Tuesday, May 12, at noon, at St. Anthony Hospital. The lunch & learn will feature board certified dermatologist, Renee Grau, M.D., as she highlights prevention, risks and treatment of skin cancer.
The program will be held in the Rapp Foundation Conference Center at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City, 535 N.W. 9th St., on the 4th floor. The program is FREE, but seating is limited. Please call (405) 272-7383 to register.

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INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital is pleased to announce it has achieved Pathway to Excellence® designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. The Pathway to Excellence designation identifies the elements of work environments where nurses can flourish. The designation substantiates the professional satisfaction of nurses at INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital and identifies it as one of the best places to work.
“I am extremely proud that our hospital has received the Pathway to Excellence designation for meeting high standards related to the commitment our nurses have towards their profession and their pursuit towards safe, quality patient care,” says Rex Van Meter, president of INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital. “This designation also validates that our culture and work environment create a collaborative atmosphere where our nurses feel valued for their contributions. I thank our nursing leadership and team members that pursued this vision to become a nationally designated facility.” The Pathway to Excellence designation is granted based on the confirmed presence of characteristics known as “The Pathway to Excellence Criteria.” For an organization to earn the Pathway to Excellence distinction, it must successfully undergo a thorough review process that documents foundational quality initiatives in creating a positive work environment — as defined by nurses and supported by research. These initiatives must be present in the facility’s practices, policies, and culture. Nurses in the organization verify the presence of the criteria in the organization through participation in a completely confidential online survey.
As a Pathway to Excellence® designated organization, INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital is committed to nurses, to what nurses identify as important to their practice, and to valuing nurses’ contributions in the workplace. This designation confirms to the public that nurses working at INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital know their efforts are supported.

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The WOCN Society® disheartened by negative connotation given to ostomy patients in current anti-smoking ad.


The leaders and membership of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society® are requesting that the Center for Disease Control (CDC) remove the recently released advertisement that brings awareness to Tobacco and Colon Cancer. The video, designed to promote smoking cessation, unnecessarily and irresponsibly portrays ostomates in a negative light, suggesting that all those living with an ostomy are homebound and embarrassed by their ostomy.
As the video began to draw the ire of ostomates across the country, the United Ostomy Associations of America petitioned the CDC to remove the video. The CDC responded by altering the web version of the video; however, the television version of the video continues to air in its original form.
“On behalf of the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society, we respectfully request that the CDC discontinue use of this video,” said WOCN President Phyllis T. Kupsick, MSN, RN, FNP-BC, CWOCN. “This misguided approach is not only offensive to patients and families, but provides misleading information about ostomates.”
Advances in ostomy devices have significantly improved the potential quality of life for patients. Portraying ostomates in a negative light relative to smoking adversely impacts many who have made strides in achieving emotional health and well-being.
An individual with an ostomy is dealing with a significant alteration in body function requiring both physical and psychosocial adaptation. Wound, ostomy and continence (WOC) specialty nurses provide a substantial portion of the continuum of care for individuals with ostomies. As clinicians, educators, researchers, consultants and administrators, WOC nurses play an essentially unique role in treating patients with ostomies and thus, are astutely aware of the hardships that are imposed on these individuals.
The Society argues that the current ad marginalizes and shames patients who already face significant challenges from misguided public perceptions about ostomies. Representatives of the Society delivered a formal letter of complaint to the CDC last week.
Founded in 1968, the Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™ is a professional, international nursing society of nearly 5,000 health care professionals who are experts in the care of patients with wounds, ostomies and incontinence. The Society supports its members by promoting educational, clinical and research opportunities to advance the practice, and guide the delivery of health care to individuals with wounds, ostomies and incontinence. Learn more by visiting www.wocn.org. Connect with WOCN® on Facebook at Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society (WOCN®), on Twitter at @WOCNSociety and on LinkedIn at Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nurses Society™.