12/18/17

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Theresa Ramsey has spent her entire nursing career at Yukon’s Spanish Cove, where residents inspire her daily, she says. Son Daniel is pictured with Theresa.

by Traci Chapman, Staff Writer

Counting the months to graduation and in the wake of an opportunity that opened her eyes to a whole new world of nursing, Theresa Ramsey is looking forward to her next steps – whatever they might be.
“My dad got me interested in nursing in high school – I was interested in anatomy and then thinking about what to do for a career,” Ramsey said. “I definitely knew I wanted to do something rewarding and to help other people – and every step has shown me something new and different.”
A Yukon High School graduate, Ramsey earned her LPN at Canadian Valley Technology Center. It was an experience she said she would never forget.
“I think a lot of people don’t think of Canadian Valley as a place to get an LPN, but it was a great school, and it was good preparation for what I wanted to do,” Ramsey said. “Now, I just want to keep going.”
To do that, she enrolled in University of Central Oklahoma’s nursing school, working toward her bachelor’s of science in nursing. She plans to graduate next May.
“I’m really excited about it – it’s a lot of work, of course, when you’re trying to work a little and have a baby at home, but it’s just what I love, so it’s exciting,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey’s entire work has been in geriatric care – and at one facility, Yukon’s Spanish Cove. Now 26, she started at Spanish Cove as a CNA and continued there after receiving her LPN; she said although she works part-time, she loves working as a charge nurse at the facility, particularly because of the residents she treats.
“I love the residents the most – there are good days and bad days just as with any job,” Ramsey said. “Nursing is stressful, but the residents I work with can always make me laugh, they can be the sweetest and funniest people.”
“They also are vulnerable people who need caring people to look after them and help them, which is very important to me,” she said. “My residents have the best stories and backgrounds to share.”
Those residents – and their stories – are more special in her position because she gets the chance to get to know them, Ramsey said. As the only nurse in her section of Spanish Cove’s long-term care unit, many residents spend a significant time under Ramsey’s care, as well as the CNA and CMA who work alongside her.
“Working in long-term care, I get to know the people I care for and their family and you get attached and become a big family,” she said.
Spanish Cove is a huge, multi-dimensional facility in Yukon, which features not only long-term care, but also assisted and independent living areas. Two long-term care units accommodate 20 to 25 residents, Ramsey said. But, that is all about to change.
In October, Spanish Cove celebrated its 43rd birthday with a groundbreaking for a two-phase expansion. The first is slated to begin construction in November and will include nine assisted living and 14 assisted living memory care apartments and 20 skilled nursing care units, encompassed in two-story additions that will feature basement shelters. The roughly $20 million first phase should be finished sometime in 2019, administrators said; phase two should add 50 new independent living residences to the Yukon facility.
“Everyone is really excited about the expansion and what it means for the residents and how many people we will be able to care for,” Ramsey said.
While Ramsey said she always knew she wanted to be a nurse and her time in the profession has always been served in geriatric care – and at the same facility – she said she wasn’t sure where her next professional road would lead her.
Ramsey said she thought that road, initially when she began her studies at UCO, would be as a labor and delivery RN – but, some experiences since then pointed her in other possible directions, she said. One of those was a recent internship with the Oklahoma Medical Reserve Corps.
“It was an amazing experience, a chance to see so many different things than what I’ve experienced in my career – or even what I thought I wanted to do,” Ramsey said. “I really just loved being a part of it.”
OKMRC is a volunteer unit made up of nurses, doctors and other health professionals, as well as other, ancillary personnel, that provide assistance during emergencies and other times help might be needed. That assistance might range from providing medical assistance during an Oklahoma City marathon to being on scene after a tornado or other disaster.
About 1,200 – one quarter – of all OKMRC volunteers are nurses, administrators said. Those numbers represent not only those who have learned about the program on their own, but also inductees who became involved as the result of a partnership OKMRC and Oklahoma Nurses Association that coordinates a registry of nurse volunteers available at a time of disaster.
That collaboration made the OKMRC externship – which Ramsey took advantage of – possible. First launched in 2015 at University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, the program now includes students like Ramsey attending not only University of Central Oklahoma, but also Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
In 2017, Ramsey was one of a record 23 students who took part in the program, administrators said.
“It really gave me a whole new outlook into what I could do once I graduate,” she said. “I feel like there are so many changes going on in my life – I married my high school sweetheart two years ago, and we had our baby boy Daniel in March this year.”
“School is hard and being a nurse is hard, but it is great to come home to him every day – and looking forward to a future with even more opportunities is a great thing,” Ramsey said. “I love learning, but I am ready to not be in school – and I’m excited about what happens next.”
Note from the Owner/Editor (Steve Eldridge): Theresa Ramsey is my daughter and that’s my little buddy Daniel. Love them both – Tyler too!

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The Children’s Center’s nursing educator Callie Rinehart was one of a select few across the country chosen to help develop questions for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s National Licensure Examination.

by Traci Chapman, Staff Writer

Callie Rinehart always knew she would go in one of two directions – nursing or teaching. With her career at The Children’s Center in Bethany, she has combined both.
With her next step, she takes her career, and her skills, to a new level, as one of a select few chosen to develop questions for the National Council of State Boards of Nursing’s National Council Licensure Examination.
Rinehart in early December did just that, as one of seven people originally named to the NCLEX knowledge, skills and ability panel. Meeting in Chicago for a three-day session, the panel was charged with developing questions to be included in the latest exam session. Rinehart was selected as an expert in pediatric nursing, officials said.
As a youth, Rinehart said she was intrigued both by education and medicine – she knew she wanted to help people, but how that path would unfold was unclear. Then, two things helped more clearly define her journey, one of the most personal nature, as her father suffered from a serious illness.
“I helped with my dad’s home health care, and I learned a lot,” Rinehart said. “In my senior year of high school, I got the opportunity to go to local hospitals, tour professions – and it was all I needed to know.”
That program was Yukon High School’s Medical Professions Academy, a series of courses that allow students to develop skills like first aid and sports medicine, injury prevention, medical terminology, research, problem solving and findings – all while earning college credit. Rinehart’s participation in the program was pivotal, she said; after her 2007 graduation from YHS, she went on to Redlands Community College’s nursing school, where she earned an associate’s degree.
Rinehart next earned her BSN at Southwest Oklahoma State University; she is currently working on her master’s degree at University of Missouri, she said.
As her path itself seemed to fall in place, so too did the answer to where she would begin her nursing career. Nine years later, Rinehart said she can’t imagine a better place, not only because of the people the facility treats and their families, but also those dedicated to their care.
“I started at The Children’s Center as a nursing assistant, as an LPN, and I just never wanted to go anywhere else – this is where my heart is,” Rinehart said. “It was everything I could have asked for.”
The Children’s Center is a private rehabilitation hospital, offering respiratory care, special education, rehabilitative therapies and much more. While some children come to the center for short-term rehabilitation after a spinal cord or brain injury and many more take advantage of the facility’s outpatient center, several are complex care patients who can remain at the Bethany center for months or even years.
In operation since 1898, the facility has a $40 million annual operating budget and employees 650 total staff.
While the Bethany facility offered Rinehart the nursing home she was looking for, it also represented an opportunity for her to work in the field she once thought might be her destiny – teaching.
Rinehart serves as The Children’s Center nurse educator, charged with training both newly hired staff, as well as continuing education for the facility’s close to 300 nurses.
“I have about 20 students five days a week, and I make sure nurses complete the necessary certifications and the required programs,” she said. “It’s really gratifying because I can oversee and make sure the nurses get what they need and have the chance to see how nurses’ careers advance.”
Her education efforts and advocacy move beyond The Children’s Center, however. She sits on several nursing advisory committees, meeting annually to discuss what’s happening in area nursing programs, industry trends and the like.
“I think the reason I was selected was because I also sit on Oklahoma City advisory committees,” she said.
As Rinehart’s experience expands, so too does the facility she loves. Just recently, The Children’s Center completed a massive project, adding 40 beds and made possible, in part, by an employee capital campaign committee-driven effort that raised $2 million to make the expansion a reality. Rinehart was an integral part of that committee and its efforts, officials said.
It was a something not truly work for a nurse and educator who called The Children’s Center her “forever home,” someone dedicated to changing not only patients lives, but also those who share her commitment to those patients.
“It’s so gratifying to know what we do to help our kids, to know we make a difference in their lives every day – and they make a difference in my life too every day,” Rinehart said. “I do love The Children’s Center and everything to do with it.”

FIVE STAR RATED CMS
Great opportunity to work with a growing healthcare company with excellent benefits, including great employer matching 401K, Christmas bonus and the opportunity for quarterly bonuses!
COMMUNITY HOSPITAL
South Campus Positions:
· RN Med Surg, 7pm-7am, PRN
· RN Prime Weekend Position,Med Surg, 7pm-7am, Full Time
· RN, Med Surg, 7am-7pm, Full Time/PRN
· Patient Care Tech, Med Surg, 7pm-7am, PRN
· Radiographer II/Imaging, 3-11 pm, Full Time
· Purchasing Assistant, Materials Management, M-F Days, Full Time
· RN Outpatient Surgery Manager – Outpatient South – M-F, Full Time
· RN, PACU – M-F 4/10 hour shifts (rotating days off), Call required
· RN Manager, Case Management – Quality – M-F, Full Time s, FT
· RN, Med Surg, 7pm-7am, Full Time and PRN $5000 Sign on Bonus for Full Time
· RN, Med Surg, 7am-7pm, Full Time and PRN
· RN OR Circulator, Surgery, Full Time, M-F Days, Call Required
· RN, Pre-op/Phase II Recovery, M-F Days, FT
· RN, Pre-Admission Testing, M-F Days, Full Time
· LPN, Pre-Admission Testing, M-F Days, Full Time
· Patient Care Tech, Med Surg, 7am-7pm and 7pm-7am, Full Time and PRN
· Paramedic, Med Surg/ER, PRN, Weekend Days, 7am-7pm
· MRI Tech, M-F, Full Time
· Ultrasound Tech, Variable, PRN
· Surgical Tech, M-F Days, Full Time, Call Required, $2000 Sign on Bonus
· Sterile Processing Tech, M-F Days, Full Time, Call Required, $1000 Sign on Bonus
· Pharmacy Tech, M-F Days, Full Time
North Campus Positions:
· APRN, Pre-Admission Testing, M-F Days, FT
· RN, Med Surg, 7pm-7am, Full Time and PRN $5000 Sign on Bonus for Full Time
· RN, Med Surg, 7am-7pm, Full Time and PRN
· RN OR Circulator, Surgery, Full Time, M-F Days, Call Required
· RN, Pre-Admission Testing, M-F Days, Full Time
· LPN, Pre-Admission Testing, M-F Days, Full Time
· Patient Care Tech, Med Surg, 7am-7pm and 7pm-7am, Full Time and PRN
· Paramedic, Med Surg/ER, PRN, Weekend Days, 7am-7pm
· Sterile Processing Tech, M-F Days, Full Time, Call Required, $1000 Sign on Bonus
· Pharmacy Tech, M-F Days, Full Time
NORTHWEST SURGICAL HOSPITAL
· Materials Management Coordinator/ Surgical Scrub Tech, Full Time
· RN, Med Surg, M-F Days, Full Time
· RN, PACU, M-F Days, Full Time
Apply online www.communityhospitalokc.com or www.nwsurgicalokc.com for NORTHWEST SURGICAL HOSPITAL positions.

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Oklahoma City Zoo veterinary tech/nurse Julia Jones examines Gigi, who has been dealing with respiratory issues. The snow goose is one of about 1,800 patients treated by Jones and the rest of the zoo’s medical staff.

by Traci Chapman – staff writer/photographer

Last week, Julia Jones’ day comprised of taking care of patients – there was Gigi, who was suffering a respiratory issue and Arizona, who needed x-rays. Just like many other nurses, Jones was busy treating her patients, working on preventative health options and working in the lab.
But, Gigi and Arizona are not average patients and Jones is definitely a different kind of nurse, as she treats the swan goose and Texas tortious at the Oklahoma City Zoo.
“This is an amazing place to work, it’s so different every day, and I tell my other nursing friends how special it is,” Jones said. “But, in many ways it’s not all that different from them treating human patients because our animals have many of the same kind of health issues and conditions.”
Jones always knew she wanted to work with animals, she said. Living in Michigan, she first believed she wanted to be a veterinarian – but, after shadowing a vet for a time, she realized that wasn’t what she wanted to do and that she wanted to provide more in-depth care to her patients. That’s when she learned about vet technology/nursing.
The future OKC Zoo nurse would begin with a bachelor’s of science degree in zoology from Michigan State University, followed by an associate’s degree in veterinary technology from Purdue University.
Moving from Michigan to Virginia, Jones worked for about a year in a Waynesboro wildlife center, learning the ropes of veterinary nursing. But, she wanted something different – or, perhaps, more – and she found it in of all places, Oklahoma City.
“I was looking on the website of the Association of Zoo Veterinary Technicians website and saw a position at the Oklahoma City zoo and it just clicked – I knew this was where I wanted to be,” Jones said. “There was just something about it that intrigued me, even before I knew all there was to it.”
That was five years ago, and she has never looked back, said Jones. She landed the vet tech position, becoming one of then two nurses treating OKC Zoo’s about 1,800 residents. At the time Jones and fellow longtime veterinarian nurse Liz McRae more than had their hands full. While their jobs are still varied, busy and even crazy at times, something recently brought their work days – and the level of care they could give – to a whole new level, Jones said.
It was about the time Jones joined OKC Zoo the Kirkpatrick Foundation announced it wanted to bestow a gift on the facility – a $1 million donation to help kick-start an effort to build a new veterinary hospital onsite. That gift was combined with $4.5 million in Oklahoma City tax revenue and another $4.5 million in membership and fundraising fees, making the Joan Kilpatrick Animal Hospital a reality when it opened in 2015.
The new hospital features surgery, radiology and treatment rooms, as well as a laboratory and pharmacy, a commissary that helps staff manage animal dietary needs, quarantine area and an observation deck that allows zoo visitors the chance to see how Jones and her fellow nurses and other medical staff treat their patients and why.
The expanded facility also meant a boost in the zoo’s nursing staff, from two to three as Stephanie Smith joined the team, as well as the addition of veterinary assistant Michael First – a welcome addition to a team that treats everything from aardvarks to zebras.
While many nurses are very specialized – whether it’s labor and delivery, emergency room or even working for a general practitioner, where at least some positions might mean a fairly routine set of responsibilities, Jones and her fellow veterinary nurses are anything but.
“It’s very all encompassing,” she said. “In any one day, we might work in radiology, assist in surgery, work in ICU and ER, we’re working in the lab, completing and updating medical records, working the pharmacy – it’s just a little of everything.” Jones and her fellow nurses also work in more than the new state-of-the-art Kilpatrick facility, she said. Many times, it’s easier to go to the animals than bring them in. That means several “house calls” a week, in addition to the average five patients in the hospital at any given time.
“It’s great the variety of things we do – not just ‘routine’ medical tests and procedures, but also things like watching hormone levels for breeding cycles and viral testing, things like that,” Jones said. “Like my friends who are ‘human’ nurses, we treat everything from turtles with pneumonia, we administer radiographs, just whatever a nurse would do for a human patient, much of that we do for ours.”
Jones said her love for the zoo, her job and patients and her co-workers led her to look at her skills and do even more – prompting Jones to get a part-time position at an emergency room clinic, where she could hone her skills one day a week.
“I knew the ER clinic would give me an opportunity to get my skills to a higher level, to sharpen them, and I want to have the absolute most knowledge and best skills for our patients,” she said.
So, why would a “traditional” nurse consider veterinary nursing?
“It is such an exciting, interesting, challenging job – and, if you love animals, it’s just that much better,” Jones said. “I would encourage anyone even a little bit interested to take the time to explore the field because they won’t ever regret it.”

FRONTIER HOSPICE
· HHA – FT
· LPN – FT
· RN – FT
Apply in Person at 7705 S. Walker Ave, OKC, OK 73139 or call (405) 789-2913

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Honestly, OBI chose me – I found an ad requesting a PRN nurse, and I wondered what an RN did at OBI. Tykeesha McCarty, RN

I was working as an ER nurse and one night while working, my friend/co-worker told me that he had just been interviewed at OBI – by the end of the night, I was convinced to apply. Melissa Stubblefield, RN

I was recruited by an acquaintance who was an RN at OBI. Eddie Ramos, RN

I wanted to come to work for OBI when the nurses I interviewed with spoke about the vision of OBI and the vital role we, as nurses, contribute to the organization. Cheryl Pike, RN

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Stacie Daniel received a double lung transplant at the Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center.

The Stacie Daniel Success Story

Hunting is Stacie Daniel’s passion. She loves being outdoors surrounded by nature, the thrill of the hunt and truly living off the land. But Stacie was born with cystic fibrosis, a disease that not only threatened to end to her hunting days – but also her life.
“I remember my mom being in tears when I was diagnosed at six years old,” says Daniel. “They told her to love me while she could and pretty much wrap me in a bubble because the life expectancy at that time for someone with CF was 10 to 12 years.”
As a child, Stacie’s issues were mainly digestive. She didn’t start experiencing lung problems until she was a teenager. That’s when her disease started to progress. By the time she was 25, her lungs were only functioning at 30 percent capacity.
“I would get up every morning and start coughing,” remembers Daniel. “I’d have coughing fits that would last 45 minutes to an hour. If I got excited or laughed, or anything really, I would start coughing. It was miserable.”
Despite her deteriorating condition, Stacie did her best to live life to the fullest. She would try to go hunting as often as she could. “I wanted to enjoy life. I wanted to go out and have fun. I wanted to hunt and fish and be active and travel and see things. So I did.”
“Today, people with my disease are living well into their 30s,” adds Daniel. “Growing up with cystic fibrosis you know it’s coming – eventually. You just hope it’s later than sooner.”
At 29, Daniel was listed on the transplant list. She would wait nine months before getting ‘the call.’ “When you get the call, its earth shattering. It’s an answered prayer, it really is. But at the same time you know another family is now grieving. That part is hard to take.”
In August 2017, Daniel received a double lung transplant at the Nazih Zuhdi Transplant Institute at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. Doctors say her new set of lungs is as close to a perfect match as possible. “Stacie is an ideal patient. Complaint and full of drive and dreams,” says Mark Rolfe, M.D. “She is the kind of patient that every transplant pulmonologist loves because she is so easy to take care of and takes advantage of the transplant to live life to its fullest.”
“I’m able to walk as long as my little legs will carry me, I don’t cough anymore and I can actually breathe. My energy is back and I feel great,” she declares. “But the best part is, I can hunt as much as I want to. In fact, I was out there opening morning of hunting season this year, which is amazing to me considering that it was only five weeks after my surgery.” Daniel shot a 9-point deer on the three month anniversary of her transplant.
In November, Stacie celebrated her 31st birthday … and thanks to the miracle of transplantation she no longer fears the inevitable. “I am not cured, I will always have CF and the sinus and digestive issues that go along with it. But the disease cannot get into my new lungs and it’s the respiratory issues that are the most fatal. So my prognosis is great and because of my donor and the generosity of his or her family, I truly have been given a second chance at life.”
Daniel hasn’t been in contact with them yet, but would like to someday. In the meantime, she will continue to share her story in hopes of saving even more lives. “In the last moments of your life, the best thing you can give is life. Check the little green box on your driver’s license and become an organ donor.”

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Q. I wish dating was not so stressful!!. I wonder if what I am seeing and hearing is really who that person is or who they want me to think they are. What is appropriate to ask and what should wait for a few dates? Do you have any suggestions for how to make dating less stressful?
— Dana

Dating can be stressful and cause anxiety. But it can also be fun, depending on how you approach it.
Before you go on the very first date know what you are looking for. Have your deal breaker list at least started so if you absolutely know you could not tolerate something, don’t have a second date. If you want someone who is a good communicator but he talks about himself non-stop, no second date. If he drinks more than you are comfortable with, no second date.
Asking questions is always recommended. Try to get enough information on the first date to help you decide if you want a second. If you do get a good connection and want more dates, as dating progresses, deepen your questions.
Try and find out how that person was raised, a lot of people were not raised on love, they were raised on survival. That’s why you see so many men/women not being able to love a person properly. You will find a lot of good looking, damaged people on the inside because of their past.
I don’t believe that a lot of damaged people really understand that they cannot love properly.. I don’t think they have made the connection. The numbers of people who have been married more than once, maybe two or three times, are very high. No doubt this issue plays a part in those numbers. If you don’t dissect your issues after a first failed marriage or relationship, how is the next really going to be better.
You can certainly ask your date if he has been involved in the counseling process. It is probably fair to say that many people have had survival childhoods. They are very different from the loving childhood. That’s not to say that adults from the later group don’t have issues but survival and love are very different.
Think of dating like this: if it feels good on the first date (that means the communication, the chemistry, no bad gut reactions) then have a second date. Don’t let loneliness or desperation cause you to miss something. Try to really get to know the person through communication, not sex!
Dana, get to know yourself, do your homework, then hit the dating field, not before!!!

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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Bryan J. Ray, Ph.D.

Bryan J. Ray, Ph.D., a child psychologist, has established his practice with OU Children’s Physicians. He has also been named a clinical assistant professor with the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine.
Ray sees patients in the OU Children’s Physicians Child Study Center. He is a board-certified behavior analyst and has specific experience working with patients with intellectual disabilities and autism. Ray completed a pediatric psychology fellowship at the OU College of Medicine. He earned his doctorate in counseling psychology at OU in Norman, where he also completed an internship with the Oklahoma Health Consortium. He earned a master’s degree in counseling with honors from the Denver Seminary, Denver, Colorado. He earned his undergraduate degree from OU in Norman. OU Children’s Physicians practice as part of OU Physicians, Oklahoma’s largest physician group. The group encompasses nearly every child and adult medical specialty.

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Balancing Mind, Body & Spirit: Complete Health for Self & Community will be the title of an early spring conference for nurses, health professionals, health ministers, clergy and anyone interested in gaining skills in a caring ministry in their faith community. The 11th annual Faith Community Nurses Association 2018 Conference is scheduled for Friday, March 2, 2018 at Crossings Community Center, 10255 North Pennsylvania Ave, Oklahoma City OK.
The message of 1st Corinthians, So there should be no division in the body, but its parts should have equal concern for each other, helps people see that we are whole beings and must learn to balance our lives and care for all parts of our being. The Model for Healthy Living is a tool for individuals to use to take charge of their own health, and it reflects that true wellness is not just about our bodies but about the interconnectedness of body and spirit in the ways that we live. There are seven key dimensions of the Model for Healthy Living are Faith Life, Medical Care, Movement, Work, Emotional Life, Nutrition, Friends and Family. The Model for Healthy Living is a communication method, a planning tool, a health care strategy in which both providers and patients can actively participate. Local and national experts will lead participants in each of the dimensions of the Model. This conference will also provide the opportunity for participants to network and to build relationships with nurses and health ministers interested in Faith Community Nursing.
Registration for the one-day conference prior to February 17 is $60 for FCNA OK members. Non-member fees are $90. Nursing students fees are $60 and clergy fees are $65. Between February 17 and 27, add $25. After February 27, add $45. Refunds before 2/17 less $20 deposit. No refunds after February 17. FCNA OK is approved as a provider of continuing nursing education by the Kansas State Board of Nursing. This course is approved for 7.25 contact hours applicable for APRN, RN, LPN, or LMHT relicensure. Kansas State Board of Nursing provider number LT0298-0316, KAR 60-7-107 (b)(3)(C).
For registration and brochure, see the FCNA website, downloads page: www.fcnaok.org. or contact Glenda Bronson at 405-936-5226, glenda.bronson@mercy.net.

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Paced by the lowest smoking rate ever recorded, Oklahoma moved up three spots to 43rd in America’s Health Rankings, issued by the United Health Foundation. The improvement was the second highest among all states, trailing only Florida and Utah, which improved their ranking by four spots. America’s Health Rankings are based on four components or aspects of health – behaviors, community & environment, policy and clinical care. Health outcomes are also used to rank states.
“Despite the many challenges facing us, I am encouraged that our employees and our partners across the state continue to work toward improving the health of all Oklahomans and that their efforts are producing results,” said Interim OSDH Commissioner Preston Doerflinger. “We know where our focus must be in providing the core services that will make a difference in the lives of all our citizens going forward.”
In smoking rates, Oklahoma improved to 36th nationally – an improvement of nine spots. Oklahoma’s smoking rate has declined 25 percent in the past five years. That is the largest improvement for any state since 2012 but is still 2.5 percent higher than the national average of 17.1 percent.
An area in which Oklahoma is better than the national average, low birthweight, saw the state improve to 7.9 percent. Oklahoma has improved 11 spots to 22nd in the past five years, one of the best advances in the nation.
The best ratings for the state were in the low occurrence of excessive drinking (2nd), pertussis rates (2nd) and the number of mental health providers (5th). Oklahoma also had improvements in obesity rates, the number of people who are physically active, and drug deaths, but still ranks well below the national average.
Areas of concern include lack of health insurance, diabetes rates, and children’s immunization rates.
While Oklahoma’s uninsured rate has decreased the past three years to 13.9 percent, the national ranking dropped another two spots to 48th and the rate lags far behind the national rate of nine percent.
Following a national trend that saw an all-time high in diabetes rates of 10.5 percent nationally, Oklahoma is ranked 41st with a rate of 12 percent. The rate of immunization among children 19 to 35 months dropped significantly (75.4 percent to 67 percent) moving the state ranking to 42nd while overall adolescent immunization rates improved by six places (40th to 34th).
The complete rankings and summaries for Oklahoma and all states can be seen at https://www.americashealthrankings.org

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Mind Body Essentials is a series of educational sessions offered through the INTEGRIS James L. Hall Jr. Center for Mind, Body and Spirit by local professionals with experience in providing services in mind, body therapies and/or integrative medicine practices. The sessions are designed to educate our community on how to INTEGRATE these practices into daily life.
These sessions are offered on the fourth Tuesday of the month from 6 to 7 p.m. in the Raymond A. Young Conference Center at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center. There is no charge for our Mind Body Essentials classes; however, reservations are required. Call the INTEGRIS HealthLine at 405-951-2277 or 888-951-2277 to reserve your spot today. Topics to be covered through our Mind Body Essentials for January and February include the following.
* Jan. 23, 2018 – Charging Your Inner Battery: The Value of Living a Resilient Life
In this session, Diane Rudebock, Ed.D., RN, will help us explore our inner landscape, looking at where we focus our time and energy and the importance of resilience as we navigate the ages and stages of life. This session will also introduce participants to a six-week series we will offer beginning in February called The Science of Self Care: Moving Toward a Healthy Resilient You!
* Feb. 27, 2018 – Mindfulness: Resilience in the Face of Life’s Challenges
Resilience is the ability to adapt well to change and bounce back from adversity. We know all too well “life can be like a box of chocolates. We never know what we are going to get.” The practice of mindfulness cultivates our potential to be present each moment with kind, open and non-judgmental awareness, and effectively manage stress and change. We discover we can stay steady and at ease in the face of life’s challenges and still enjoy life’s sweetness. Marnie Kennedy, a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction instructor, will share what mindfulness means for resilient living.

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