by Bobby Anderson
Food drives, donations and bake sales run rampant in hospitals when it comes to raising money for community service projects.
But a group of nurses at Integris Canadian Valley Hospital took something near and dear to their hearts and their community to make a difference recently.
“The Council of Nurse Excellence is a committee made up of all of the nurse of the year winners each year and during National Nurse’s Week we always do a community project that week,” said Kaci Brosh, RN and one of the organizers. “We are all animal lovers and this was something we thought would be fun and a little different.”
So the group decided to raise awareness and supplies to help combat the growing population of dogs and cats in the community.
Christine McMurray, RN, explained the mission of the Council of Nurse Excellence is to improve the health of the people and the community the hospital serves.
During Nurse’s Week, a pet donation drive collecting puppy pads, food, toys, bowls, collars and other items was also held at ICVH with staff bringing items each day.
At the end of the drive, local rescue agencies were invited to come and select items that they needed.
“They were so appreciative,” said McMurray, who has a rescue puppy of her own at home courtesy of fellow coordinator Megan Gorham, RN.
The event also culminated with an adoption event on a Saturday where people could come and add a member to their family.
Megan walked away from the event with a little something special.
“I’m a crazy animal person,” said Gorham, who adopted a Chiweenie mix named she named Koda.
Gorham swore she had no idea she would be coming home with a new baby.
“Oh, we did,” McMurray laughed. “I think she had to pretend she was in denial because of her husband.”
Gorham and her husband already have two large dogs and Koda, which means little bear, spoke to both their hearts.
The week went so well the group has plans for the future.
“We’re hoping to make this an annual event and get bigger. We learned about more agencies for the future to make it better,” McMurray said.
The group found out that national pet adoption week immediately precedes National Nurses Week.
A new cat rescue called Nine Lives was able to accept donations of cat supplies.
“We’re a pathway to excellence hospital so part of our designation is really focused on what the nurses do and their input,” McMurray said. “We don’t just do things here. We like to get out and volunteer and help the community.”
The nurses agreed that the fundraiser spoke both to their hearts and to the community they serve.
“I heard someone say nursing is the most trustworthy profession,” McMurray said. “When you’re sick, depressed or whatever you turn to your nurse and you turn to your pets.”
Bosh said people just showed up to help or donate during the process including Big D’s Barbeque in El Reno and Kona Ice.
Volunteers showed up from the hospital along with their family members.
“It was very laid back,” Bosh said. “It was a fun day. The weather was beautiful. It was just perfect.”
“I think the great part about our hospital is it felt just like you were at a picnic with your family,” Gorham said.
When she’s not adopting animals Gorham is a house supervisor at ICVH. Bosh is a lead nurse in the Women’s Center in labor and delivery.
Formerly a house supervisor, McMurray is transitioning to ICU and Telemetry clinical nurse manager.
Brosh, who has a 10-year-old Chihuahua at home, said it’s not a rare sight to see service dogs brought to the hospital for therapeutic support on a regular basis.
Gorham said the council promotes continuous improvement throughout the hospital.
“It’s to let nurses have a voice in the way things happen and the things that are changing based on what we hear from our patients and co-workers,” Gorham said. “It’s to allow nurses be heard.”
And it’s a great way to bring home new family members.