Tamera Meadows, RN, DON
RN and DON of Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center – in Oklahoma City
story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer
One of Tamera Meadows biggest thrills as a nurse leader has been to mentor other nurses. She has inspired, trained, and educated hundreds of nurses across Oklahoma during her career. She has seen them accomplish amazing goals including one rising to CEO in the healthcare industry.
“To grow and mentor them to become leaders in their own right within our system is a real thrill for me,” said Tamara Meadows, RN, and director of nursing at Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center, located in Oklahoma City.
One thing that has kept Meadows in long-term care and skilled nursing is there has never been a dull moment. (story continues below)
“You get the chance to see people make amazing improvements and do great things in our skilled units and rehab units,” she said. “I think the other thing is you get to see people through to the end of their life. That is to me a momentous occasion to help people through that part of life, and to help their families through that because it’s such a devastating moment. It’s an honor to be able to see them through that.”
Not every family has the resources to care for loved ones at home. So, they need a comforting place like Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center. Meadows admires the nursing staff for its dedicated team spirit.
Meadows said the nurses persevere no matter the challenge, whether it’s COVID or an upset resident. They return to work the next day willing to do what it takes, she continued.
“Ninety-nine percent of the time, they do it with a smile on their face,” Meadows explained. “They’re not always thinking about themselves. They’re thinking of that patient. And whether families think they’re perfect or not, or maybe they didn’t answer the call light on time — nurses are out there trying to reach somebody’s potential, to meet their needs.”
Meadows shines as a testament of faith at Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center. Her mother-in-law has been admitted twice to the skilled unit. The care and devotion of the staff, blended with the flexibility Meadows has needed for her family, has been a Godsend, she said.
One of the administrators has her phone on night and day, making a huge difference for nurses to attend to patients’ needs. Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center is a 150-bed facility that is often at capacity. Seven charge nurses work on day shift, evening shift, and night shift. That doesn’t include the supporting staff. With emphasis on respect and appreciation, Meadows and Human Resources have enhanced the tone for patient care since she arrived at Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center two years ago. The company has a history of longevity and Meadows knows why. Instead of simply fixing things, she and the staff innovate and build on ideas.
“We try to be systematic in our approach, but also understanding of people’s needs,” she said of the application process. “We know people are struggling. So, if paying a bill occasionally or helping a family out who’s struggling — whatever it might be, we’re trying to look at the whole person and not just them as an aide.”
Everyone has a story. Meadows’ late father was a disabled veteran from the Korean War. He had a traumatic brain injury resulting from a fall.
He had 20 seizures a day. So, Meadows’ family was often at Veterans Hospital in Oklahoma City. As a 12-year-old, she volunteered as a candystriper.
“So, I spent my life around sick people. I’m sure that’s what gave me the thought of becoming a nurse,” she said.
She learned it only took 12 months to become an LPN. In 1975 she graduated from the Oklahoma City School of Practical Nursing. She was newly married when hired to work in the ICU of a large Oklahoma City hospital when she found a long-term, skilled nursing center was advertising for day shift nurses. Meadows was pleased with the facility and management and stayed there for 10 years. During this time, she earned her RN credential in 1985 from OSU/OKC.
Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center has been supportive of continuing education for the many staff members advancing in their careers.
Today, her own daughter is a nurse practitioner in Washington, D.C. specializing in oncology.
Meadows makes a point to relax at home in Yukon by feeding the fish in her koi pond and tending to the life of her garden. The fish hibernate during winter. She can view them from many vantage points in her house. She also collects old nursing memorabilia kept in her office for talking points.
For more information or to join Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center CLICK HERE.