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Suanne Livingston, RN, enjoys her role as RN nurse manager at J.D. McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities.

by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer

Choose a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.
Suanne Livington, RN, isn’t sure who said those words but they couldn’t be more true for J.D. McCarty’s RN day nurse manager.
“It’s the kids. I love the kids,” Livingston said. “I love this job. It’s fun and it doesn’t feel like work. I enjoy going to work. I don’t dread coming to work and a lot of jobs people say they don’t want to go. I can honestly say I’ve never felt that way here. I love it here.”
Livingston has been a nurse for 25 years now with stops along the way at Children’s Hospital ER and St. Francis ER.
She graduated in 1993 but took turns with each of her three children being a stay-at-home mom.
This is her fifth year at J.D. McCarty Center for Children with Developmental Disabilities. Livingston and her husband worked the facility’s Camp Claphans for five years.
Claphans is a residential summer camp for kids with special needs ages 8 to 18. The camp is located on the south end of the McCarty Center’s 80-acre campus in Norman. It features two cabins, a multi-purpose building and is built next to an 11-acre lake.
The camp features summer camp activities like archery, canoeing, fishing, horseback riding, camp fires, swimming, indoor and outdoor games, arts and crafts and much more a nurse onsite 24 hours a day.
J.D. McCarty is unparalleled in the services it provides to Oklahoma families.
Children referred to the hospital are evaluated and treated by a team of pediatricians, pediatric specialists, registered nurses and LPNs, direct care specialists, physical, occupational, speech and language therapists, a dietitian, a clinical psychologist and psychology clinicians and social workers who focus on getting a child to their highest level of functionality and independence.
“This is a great place and I don’t think anyone in the state provides what we do,” Livingston said.
The facility has two different types of admissions. The first is a one-week respite stay that allows families time to revitalize.
The second is a 30-day evaluation filled with therapies.
Livingston was humbled from the moment she began at the Norman facility. She admitted to being naive about the level of constant care some patients required and how that care was delivered by parents and families without interruption.
“It is 24-hours a day, seven days a week. I respect not only the staff I work with but the children and their families,” Livingston said. “We provide a lot to them and it’s great to watch them grow from where they start … and what they accomplish.”
Unlike every other nursing role, this is Livingston’s first where she can actually stay with her patients and be there for both successes and setbacks.
“It’s great to see how much they’ve grown and how much they’ve accomplished over these five years,” she said. “We’ll have repeat patients come back once a month and quite a few patients in state custody. It’s been really cool seeing them grow from eight to 13 or whatever.”
Working with children – and those with developmental disabilities – is often a role many nurses will shy away from. There’s an inherent fear that some attach to the idea itself.
“I just think the kids teach me more than I could ever teach them. It takes compassion to go into any type of nursing, to understand everyone has a purpose in life,” she said. “That was difficult, at first, to see how I could help a patient who couldn’t verbalize or whatever … but they have a purpose in life.
“Certain nurses are drawn to this field, and I don’t think it’s for everyone but it is for me.”
Night RN Manager Mike Isaac has worked closely with Livingston for five years. He knows the heart and soul required for the job.
“If you have good basic skills like assessment and if you have a good heart you come here and become engrossed in a mesh of all these different therapies that are available,” Isaac said. “I don’t think I could do it if we didn’t have these therapies – it’s like an army of people taking care of these kids from the time they get up to the time they go to sleep. They get intense care and therapy.
“We’ve got people looking out for each other.”
The J.D. McCarty Center was founded in 1946, by a veterans group called the 40 et 8 of Oklahoma. The 40 et 8 was an honor society within the American Legion.When the McCarty Center first opened its doors to patients it only treated one diagnosis – cerebral palsy. Today, there are more than 100 different diagnoses in the developmental disability category.

INTEGRIS Community Hospitals
Now Hiring at ALL Locations
Council Crossing Moore OKC West Del City
ER Registered Nurse
Inpatient Registered Nurse
ER Technicians
CT/Radiology Technologists
Patient Access Specialists
Full-Time and PRN positions available
Competitive Salaries
INTEGRIS and Emerus are joint venture partners in INTEGRIS Community Hospitals. Emerus is the operating partner and hospital team members at the community hospital locations will be employees of Emerus Holdings, Inc., a national network of hospital partners and largest operator of micro-hospitals.

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Jill Hughes, MS, RNC-OB, Chief Nursing Officer at INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital in Yukon.

Jill Hughes, MS, RNC-OB is promoted to Chief Nursing Officer at INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital in Yukon, where she has served as administrative director of the hospital’s Women’s Center and the INTEGRIS Bennett Fertility Institute since 2007.
With experience both at the bedside and in various leadership positions, Hughes has enjoyed a distinguished professional career and is highly respected by her peers.
Some of her commitments include partnering as a member of the Central Oklahoma AWHONN Chapter, serving as Membership Chair for the Oklahoma AWHONN Chapter, also as a member of the Oklahoma Perinatal Forum, and the Oklahoma Organization of Nurse Executives.
Hughes has also received numerous recognitions, such as the 2014 Oklahoma March of Dimes Nurse of the Year award for Women’s Health; the 2014 Manager of the Year award; and was the Great 100 Nurses recipient for INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital this year.

A Great Place to Work ~
Join Our TEAM Today
We are hiring RNs for
Medical-Surgical – RNs
Emergency – RNs
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Carl Davis, LPN enjoys working at Northwest Nursing Center. “I’ve always had a desire to help others.”


by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer

Northwest Nursing Center is where you will find Carl Davis, LPN, doing what he does best, taking care of the residents. Carl has been a nurse for 24 years, spending the last three years here.
Growing up in Oklahoma, Carl has lived here most of his life. Carl has a lot of memories from his childhood. He was one of 7 children. When Carl was 14 years old, his mother had lung cancer and the siblings helped take care of her. Ever since Carl can remember, he had an interest in helping others. “It was as though I was drawn to people, wanting to help them in any way I could,” he commented.
Carl was a CNA for 9 years and continued his education going on to nursing school. Over the years, he worked at Deaconess Hospital and several long term care facilities. “When I was a nurse at that time, the medical field was different than it is now. It was really out of the ordinary for a man to be a nurse. It was definitely a female dominated position in the medical field. The nurses that I worked with thought it was unusual that I wanted to be a nurse because men weren’t nurses. Even though the working situation was a little awkward, I knew this was the job that I wanted and no one was going to tell me different. I’m glad I stuck with it. I love to serve others and take care of the senior residents. I like working at long term care facilities, like here at Northwest Nursing Center more than working at a hospital. In a hospital, everyone is always a little grumpy. Here, you can always make the resident feel better and it is much more personal. Plus, there is a lot of satisfaction when you make the resident feel better. No matter how grumpy the resident is, there is always something that can be said or done to make them smile, putting them in a good mood. There is such a great feeling of accomplishment in knowing that I have been a part of all of it,” he stated.
Asking Carl what qualities make a good nurse, he replied, “A nurse needs to have a lot of compassion. One of the most important qualities for a nurse is when they are a good listener. There is nothing worse than seeing someone sitting alone without someone to talk to,” he said.
“My favorite part of my job is getting to spend time with the residents. There is a bond between the nurse and the patient. On the other hand, one of the biggest challenges is when there is separation. Sometimes, the residents can get too close to you, almost like an old friend. You have to stay professional. Walking the line is a hard decision sometimes,” Carl replied.
Did anyone influence you to become a nurse? “When I cared for my mother, I knew that caring for others was something that I wanted to do. I knew I would find my path and find a job serving other. Through the years, I feel like this job is a good fit for me. When I was growing up and spending time with my mother, I feel like I was getting some great experience. My mother was a good teacher,” Carl replied.
What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field? I would tell them to be compassionate and caring and don’t be afraid to have a caring attitude.”
Carl’s hobbies include gardening and remodeling his house. “My house is one hundred years old and I am always working on something,” he laughed. “It has a lot of character inside and out. I also like to spend time with Buster, my 5 year old rescue Pit Bull that I’ve had since he was a puppy.”
When I asked Carl to describe himself, he said, “Well, a lot of people think I am a little harsh but I think it is just the way I grew up. I don’t mean to be. I am an advocate for the little guy and will fight for a cause if I strongly believe it. I am definitely a people person and like to be around others. I like to make others happy. After all, isn’t that’s what it’s all about? I like to think so.”


Oklahoma Healthcare Authority
Have a Career that Changes Lives
Nurse Care Manager
Searching for a career where you can make a difference?
The Oklahoma Healthcare Authority is hiring for a Registered Nurse who wants to positively impact patient lives through managed care and advocacy.
The ideal candidate will be a clinical specialist, planning and coordinating Care Management for our members, ensuring necessary access to providers and medical services.
This position allows you to work with SoonerCare members, providers, advocacy groups, legislative representatives, other state agencies, and staff to facilitate Care Management for our members and document their care management needs. Qualifications include: • Current/valid license as a Registered Nurse in Oklahoma AND
• Minimum of Two Years Full-Time Professional Clinical Experience
• One Year in an Acute Care Setting

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If you were going to teach someone something, what would you teach? Legend Assisted Living

Compassion and dedication

William Nichols, Executive Chef

I would teach others to treat others like they were a beloved family member with love and compassion.

Denise Ayolte, LED

I would teach fundamentals of nursing.

Rosalind King, LPN, AHCC

I would teach math.

Carla Lewis, ACMA

Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee
$20,000 sign-on bonus for experienced RNs.*
As a Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee nurse, you can enjoy the best of both worlds: a friendly, small community and the resources of Oklahoma’s largest healthcare provider. And, now through January 31, enjoy a $20,000 sign-on bonus.*
Less than an hour from Tulsa, Muskogee features outstanding cultural and natural attractions, including numerous lakes and state parks that offer boating, skiing, golfing, fishing and every other type of outdoor family recreational activity.
Why now is a great time to join our team:
• $20,000 sign-on bonus and relocation assistance for experienced RNs*
• Great benefits, including paid time off, tuition assistance, medical and dental insurance, retirement plans, onsite childcare, adoption benefits and more
• We are a qualified not-for-profit organization, so you may be eligible for federal student loan forgiveness**Saint Francis Health System includes:
• Saint Francis Hospital
• The Children’s Hospital at Saint Francis
• Warren Clinic
• Heart Hospital at Saint Francis
• Saint Francis Hospital South
• Laureate Psychiatric Clinic and Hospital
• Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee
• Saint Francis Hospital Vinita
• Saint Francis Cancer Center
• Saint Francis Home Care Companies
• Saint Francis Glenpool
To learn more about nursing opportunities at Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee, please call Melissa at 918-558-8028.
Learn More
Saint Francis Hospital Muskogee
*Applies to registered nurses in select patient units with at least two years of nursing experience. Four-year work commitment required. Limited time only—program ends January 31, 2019.
**View program details at
EOE Protected Veterans/Disability

I have written several columns about work related stress. I am addressing it again because it is not declining. It seems like a hamster in the wheel dynamic, but this dynamic is literally killing people. So lets talk about it again.

Nicole writes: “Someone was always on top of me, “ says the 42 year old. “I had regular panic attacks, felt like I would faint at any moment and was always on the verge of tears. The job literally made me sick – my health had gotten to a point that was unlivable, unworkable and a mess.”
So she quit her job to save her life.
It may sound a bit dramatic, but Jeffery Pfeffer, a Stanford professor and author of “Dying for a Paycheck” says that toxic workplace practices – micromanagement, fear of layoffs, pressure to work more hours, and making people feel they are not good enough — is the fifth leading cause of death, in front of Alzheimer’s and kidney disease.
“People stay in jobs that are unhealthy for them, which cause stress,” he says. “That often leads to smoking, drinking, overeating, not sleeping AND dying.” Pfeffer’s book is a call to action that companies need to change and the individuals, when they are in workplaces that are overridden with stress, need to quit.
What is unfortunate is that companies will probably NOT read his book. The hamster in the wheel dynamic looks like the following: 1. The employee goes to work for a company/business. 2. No big issues at first. 3. As time goes on, the micromanagement becomes more annoying. 4. The workload increases (you notice you are doing the job of 2, not what your job description defines). 5. You notice you have more headaches than usual, you sleep less due to dread of another day at the job, that second glass of wine helped to unwind. 6. Management seems more punitive and totally lacking in appreciation, job pressures increase. 7. You need the benefits and paycheck…..what do you do?
The work place movie, “The Death of the Employee” plays on. Here are some things we can do:
1. Take action before your cardiologist tells you your heart cannot continue with intense stress.
2. Take care of yourself — Don’t work an unsustainable schedule, skip vacation or miss spending time with family and friends. These things buffer the effects of stress.
3. Its not just about you — job-related stress kills families, marriages and friendships.
4. Work for an employer who values health and well-being – work is more than money, and money cannot completely undo damage to relationships or physical or mental health.

Salvation Army Red Kettle bell ringers are helping fund vital programs for seniors this holiday season.

by Bobby Anderson, RNby Bobby Anderson, RN Staff Writer

For Lois DeBerry, the sound of bells ringing next to the Salvation Army Red Kettle during the holidays always meant a time of joy.
It was only when she got older did she learn those bells also symbolized mercy, generosity and the goodness of mankind.
Now the Canadian County Service Director for the Salvation Army, DeBerry counts on those bells to ring throughout the season so seniors won’t be forgotten.
DeBerry’s job description is whatever hat she needs to wear she puts on.
“It depends on what role needs to be played whether it’s a janitor or taking clients to appointments,” DeBerry said. “My goal here is to serve the needs as it comes available and it’s not just the low-income family.”
“Seniors became my heart out there. We have so many programs that focus on family and children. Nothing pulls at the heart strings like a child being hungry. A senior being hungry or not having a coat pulls on my heart strings.”
And while so many focus this season on families and children, DeBerry makes sure seniors aren’t forgotten.
“Seniors are not taken care of as well as a family is (this time of year),” she said. “As we get older we need more attention. The seniors are more proud and do not always ask for help.”
That’s why most of DeBerry’s clients come from referrals. Maybe a neighbor or friend has noticed something and passed the need along.
Under DeBerry’s watch, the Salvation Army will provide a gift to the 600 seniors living in assisted living, nursing homes or low-income housing in Canadian County.
“Just a way to say ‘you’re being thought of,’” DeBerry says.
There’s also a senior Silver Bell Tree. This invitation-only program focuses on those with the greatest need.
“We don’t have a vast place we can go and put up an angel tree or silver bell tree and get people adopted like they do in OKC in the mall,” DeBerry said. “We provide them with a clothing outfit through that program as well as a household need and a want.”
Sometimes its as simple as a new quilt for their bed or a can opener or a coffee pot.
“It’s always basic necessities they request,” DeBerry said, noting 21 seniors will be among the recipients this year.
DeBerry is on her 35th year with the Salvation Army. She’s worked in all different avenues in five different states.
Wherever she goes, the need never ends.
“Those that come in that want to change,” DeBerry said of her favorites. “By that I mean they come in and request assistance but they’re not here for a handout, they’re here for a hand up and wanting to know what they can do to change.”
Some clients come in for the first time after an emergency – a death out of state that required funds to travel, a big electric bill or unexpected medical bill.
“When something like that happens you don’t want them to do without or lose their lights because they choose to go respect a loved one,” DeBerry said.
“It’s such a wonderful feeling to be a part of the relief process and helping them.”
For Canadian County, the main need right now is people. Every penny raised in the Red Kettle program goes back into the community.
Bell ringers are not paid and if bells aren’t ringing money isn’t coming in.
DeBerry said there is a severe shortage of bell ringers in both Yukon and El Reno during weekday evenings as well as Saturdays.
To help out or find out more about ringing the bell you can go online to register at You can also call DeBerry at 405-323-8846 or 405-295-2343. Her email is
Those bells will always be near and dear to her.
“The bells ringing – I started that when I was a little girl and didn’t really understand. I’ve worked for the Salvation Army for 35 years but I started as a character building program and rang bells,” DeBerry said. “As a girl I didn’t understand, I just knew it was a time to go out sing and dance and have fun at the kettle. Now it’s about the Lord instilling in you. Sometimes ringing the bell is all I can do.”
“Ringing the bells goes back to the grace of God and the mercy He provides us. It reminds us of his coming and that was all about being there to impact peoples’ lives.”

Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation Vice President of Development Penny Voss with memorabilia from 'Oklahoma!'. Through a generous gift, OMRF has received more than ,000 for medical research through ticket sales for the musical.

The Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation has received its share of interesting donations over the years. Along with the typical gifts made by check and credit card, there have also been cars, houses, jars of change collected at a lemonade stand, and even a toy soldier collection.
But none quite rival the estate gift that Claremore’s William Edgar Riggs left to the Oklahoma City nonprofit.

Riggs’ brother Lynn penned “Green Grow the Lilacs,” the 1931 play that Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II used as the basis for the musical “Oklahoma!” When Lynn died, he willed equal shares of his 1-percent royalty on the musical to William Edgar and his three other siblings.
William Edgar lost his wife to heart disease and his daughter to cancer. So, when he passed away in 1977, he left his royalty share to OMRF to benefit research for those two diseases.
“It was a really generous and foresighted thing to do,” said OMRF President Stephen Prescott, M.D.
With the gift, OMRF receives one-quarter of 1 percent of the musical’s box office share each year.
The show enjoyed a series of revivals from 1979 through 2002, including two on Broadway and one in London’s West End starring Hugh Jackman, and is still performed approximately 700 times a year. As a result, William Riggs’ gift has now provided OMRF researchers with more than $700,000.
“I’ve worked in the nonprofit sector my whole life, but I’d never heard of a donation like this until I joined OMRF,” said Penny Voss, OMRF’s vice president of development. “It truly is a gift that keeps on giving.”
Indeed, the donations will continue as long as “Green Grow the Lilacs” remains under copyright. In 2017, OMRF received just over $10,000 in “Oklahoma!” royalties.
With “Oklahoma!” celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2018, the musical saw a surge in the number of productions. That should mean a corresponding boost in revenues for OMRF.
Even though OMRF didn’t yet exist when Lynn Riggs wrote his play, I hope he’d find it fitting that his work benefits Oklahoma’s homegrown research institute,” said Voss.
Grassroots support from Oklahomans in all 77 counties helped make OMRF a reality in 1950. “Those are the same kind of people portrayed in the musical—strong, caring, forward-looking,” she said. “We still see that spirit in our donors today.”

RN Brandon Steffens is truly a jack of all trades with his home repair business.

by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer

Growing up on the family farm, Brandon Steffens, RN, never saw a contractor’s truck pull up in the driveway.
No plumber, no electrician, no drywall guy and no painter ever set foot inside the house.
“I just grew up always working on the house with my dad. We never hired anything out,” Steffens said. “We did all the electrical, all the plumbing – whatever it was we did it ourselves.”
That work ethic carried the eventual float pool nurse through a seven-year stint with Home Depot and now to his current side business, Brandon’s Home Improvement.
Before he was working in the ICU and the ER, Steffens was plying the knowledge bestowed on him by his dad.
Elbow grease and a passion to make things better would make his dad proud.
Then nursing school and working with his hands took on a new meaning.
“People come to you in nursing in their worst states and it’s an emergency,” Steffens said, taking a break from an apartment remodel in Midwest City. “They’re dilapidated, sick or injured and we get the opportunity to put our hands on them and fix them and make things new again.”
Working nights four to five days a week for the past five years brought Steffens to a crossroads.
“Everyone told me to watch out, you’ll get burned out,” Steffens recalled. “I said ‘No, I wouldn’t’ but you get burned out.”
So Steffens decided to pour more of his time and talents into something else.
Being a contractor was a vocation he held before nursing. That took him into Home Depot, where he oversaw the entire local install business for the big box company.
Whether it be a sink or a door, a microwave or a dishwasher, Steffens was in charge of the contractors who carried out the work under Home Depot’s name.
It taught him even more about the business.
“I realized there is a huge need out there for people who just don’t know how to do home improvements or they didn’t have the time,” he said.
Or too often, they didn’t have a ton of money.
Home improvements are expensive. Steffens knows all too well the retail costs associated with a remodel.
And he knows the sizeable markup that goes with it.
Figuring things out and finding ways to save people a dollar are a challenge for him. Sometimes he challenges himself right out of a bigger check.
He showed up for a recent garage door opener install job one night. The customer had the new opener waiting for him in the box.
Steffens went up to unplug the old wire and noticed an electrical short.
“I saved him $400,” Steffens said. “I like that sense of accomplishment.”
For some reason Steffens’ specialty has always been tile. Projects that most contractors avoid like the plague, Steffens has a certain affinity.
“Most contractors shy away from it because it’s hard, lot of up and down and on your knees. That never bothered me,” he said. “I like the perfection of it, just to lay each piece of tile in a certain way. It’s kind of like art because you can do different things with tile that really finishes a house off.”
For Steffens, the business venture has been a source of freedom. It’s not a straight 12-hour gig, meeting sometimes unreasonable expectations with limited resources.
“I like the sense of accomplishment,” Steffens said. “In nursing, I talk to people all day long and doing home improvement I get a lot of alone time. I get to just lose myself in work for some time and get to be creative.”
“You go in and see something nasty and absolutely turn it around and make it new,” says Steffens, who has remodeled two of his own homes. “I like to touch every surface. I like when people come in to a house I’ve remodeled and every surface in that house has been touched by me.”
He admits he really hasn’t advertised since taking on more work.
He hasn’t had time.
“You do a good job and people tell people,” explained Steffens, who can be found on Facebook under Brandon’s Home Improvement. “People are always asking if you know anybody. It just snowballs from there.”
With four kids, age five, 10, 15 and 22 – Steffens has a full plate at home. But he’s already taken a couple of his kids along to start learning the trade.
“My 10-year-old has shown interest,” Steffens beamed. “He helped with carpentry on a door frame. He had all these wonderful better ideas how to fix it. There’s no science behind it.”
But there’s definitely an art.
And for now, the combination of science and art suits this nurse just fine.

INTEGRIS Community Hospitals
Now Hiring at ALL Locations
Council Crossing • Moore • OKC West • Del City
• ER Registered Nurse
• Inpatient Registered Nurse
• ER Technicians
• CT/Radiology Technologists
• Patient Access Specialists
Full-Time and PRN positions available
Competitive Salaries
INTEGRIS and Emerus are joint venture partners in INTEGRIS Community Hospitals. Emerus is the operating partner and hospital team members at the community hospital locations will be employees of Emerus Holdings, Inc., a national network of hospital partners and largest operator of micro-hospitals.

Kathleen Dwyer, PhD, RN was recently named one of the 2018 Angel Award recipients.

Kathleen Dwyer, PhD, RN, was one of the 2018 Angel Award recipients at the annual Dr. Ruth Joyce Colbert Barnes Foundation, Inc. and the Oklahoma Sovereign Arts Foundation reception on November 3, 2018. The Angel Award acknowledges individuals who are unsung heroes and have given of themselves to affect positive changes in the lives of others. Dwyer was nominated and honored for her work to improve health outcomes in communities facing disparities.
“I’m pleased that Dr. Dwyer has received this well-deserved recognition. She’s widely recognized as an expert in community-based participatory research designed to improve the health of communities,” said Gary L. Loving, interim dean for the OU College of Nursing. Dr. Dwyer’s recent research work included an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) funded study to improve health and eliminate urban health disparities in the state. The project partnered with multiple churches and a small urban school district to implement an individualized telephone-based health coaching program. Additionally, Dr. Dwyer has received a research grant as a part of the 2018 Stephenson Cancer Center pilot grants program for Care Coordination for Cherokee Nation Cancer Patients.

A Great Place to Work ~
Join Our TEAM Today
We are hiring RNs for
Medical-Surgical – RNs
Emergency – RNs
Applicants should apply at