Resources available for metro nurses
story and photos by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
At every step of his career, Luke Richardson-Walker, RN, has been evolved.
Whether it be on the floor as a dialysis charge nurse, in the surgery theater or as a house supervisor Richardson-Walker has made it a point to know everything that’s going on and why.
Now in his second year as President of Oklahoma Nurses Association’s Region I Richardson-Walker wants Oklahoma City metro nurses to know the ONA offers resources to help them grow their practice.
“I want to see nurses engaged in their profession and in helping grow their profession,” he said. “Nursing is not just a job it is part of our lives.”
ONA Region I members meet the second Thursday of every month. The group historically has met at Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing but Richardson-Walker said a greater effort will be made to meet at area hospitals this year.
“We just want to make sure we’re more accessible for our membership that works in the hospital setting,” he said. “We don’t want to be an organization just focused on nursing instructors and managers who work 9-5 jobs. We’re for all of nursing.”
Region I is for RNs that work and/or live in Oklahoma County.
“We’re trying to engage nurses with learning opportunities,” Richardson-Walker says. “We’ve had speakers for dialysis treatment options, to House Bill 1013 to people coming from the Regional Food Bank to talk about Fresh Rx.”
Richardson-Walker said the Fresh Rx program is one that nurses need to bring to their patients.
Based on its 37 years of successful program operations, the Regional Food Bank knows that only collaborative efforts can effectively reduce hunger and treat disease.
The Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s FreshRx initiative is a strategic effort to improve health outcomes for low-income, high-risk individuals.
Food insecurity is linked to higher rates of obesity, diabetes, hypertension and other chronic diseases.
More than 632,000 Oklahomans are food insecure, which means that they may not know where their next meal is coming from. Oklahoma ranks near the worst among states in terms of the most severe forms of food insecurity.
DAY AT THE CAPITOL
One of the ONA’s largest events is the upcoming Nurses Day at the Capitol.
Jane Nelson serves as the executive director of the Oklahoma Nurses Association. She says it’s vital that nurses become involved in the legislative process if they want to have a say in the way healthcare is offered in our state.
“We want to see nurses out there working on issues that relate to nurses. Whether it’s an LPN, RN or advanced practice nurse, they tell those stories the best,” Nelson said.
As a professional organization, the Oklahoma Nurses Association is a community of nurses from all specialties and practice settings that empowers nurses to improve health care.
Each year, the ONA organizes a single day to arm nurses with the necessary information and give them the opportunity to discuss those issues with policy makers.
This year the event will be held on February 27.
Nelson says nurses are always well received at the capitol and typically find the day very informative.
“Nurses are powerful political advocates because they are members of the most-trusted profession in the country,” Nelson said. “With that comes a lot of power.”
Consistently ranked as the most-trusted profession in the nation, nurses collectively carry a strong voice when it comes to health care issues, Nelson says.
“There are a couple of ways for nurses to get involved,” Nelson said. “One is to attend Nurses Day at the Capitol and the second is to stay in touch with ONA. Nurses can stay in touch by being a member.”
“As a member they will receive emails about Legislative issues and what needs to be done, they can also serve on an ONA committee in addition to serving as Nurse of the Day.”
ONA encourages all nurses and nursing students to get involved in the legislative process by attending Nurses Day at the Capitol.
The Mission of the Oklahoma Nurses Association is to empower nurses to improve health care in all specialties and practice settings by working as a community of professional nurses.
ONA encourages all Nurses and Nursing Students to get involved in the legislative process by attending Nurses Day at the Capitol. The day begins with an informational session held at the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, followed by an opportunity to go to the Capitol and talk with legislators.
“Region I is very active but it wasn’t really active for a while,” Richardson-Walker said. “We had a really busy year last year so I want people to know we’re here.”
For more information contact Richardson-Walker at –