0 4547
Teresa Gray, MBA, RN, ANCC is now the president of Integris Canadian Valley Hospital.

by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer

The bigger picture has always drawn Teresa Gray, RN.
For years she absolutely adored bedside nursing, but catching glimpses here and there, she understood she could make an impact on a much greater scale.
It was that insight and understanding matched with clinical excellence and an ability to relate to just about everyone that has earned her the title of president of Integris Canadian Valley Hospital in Yukon.
“Nursing has been my passion and what I love but I also love that bigger picture, it’s one of the reasons I’ve been in management so long,” said Gray, an LPN and then RN for the better part of 24 years. “I really like to know what else is impacted, what else happens – what’s the rest of it.”
Gray fills the role vacated by Rex Van Meter, who was named president of Integris Deaconess.
After officially acquiring Deaconess Hospital Oct. 1, the hospital is considered a campus under the Integris Baptist Medical Center umbrella.
“I hope my nursing background gives me a different perspective as a president to see things a little differently,” Gray said. “I hope to blend both worlds and see things a little differently.”
Gray takes the reigns of a facility that has become a leading provider to much of Western Oklahoma.
“The culture, the community and how everyone works together like a family unit,” Gray said of what initially drew her and has kept her at Canadian Valley. “I remember the first day I had my very first interview walking down this long hallway and everyone smiling and greeting me. That’s something you don’t feel everywhere you go. It’s a feeling.”
Church functions, ball games, local events – all bind ICVH employees to the local community they serve.
Gray has always been keenly focused on quality. Through the Oklahoma Quality Foundation, Gray has gone into facilities across Oklahoma on site surveys to see whether or not organizations are living up to quality standards.
It’s a focus she’s carried with her during her tenure, which has been one, long preparation for where she’s at now.
“Integris has a very robust succession planning program,” Gray explained. I’ve been on the succession play for about four years, being mentored by Rex Van Meter and going through the process to be ready to take such a position.
“It’s been a long time planning. When Rex had his opportunity they approached me and felt like I was ready to take over the operations of the hospital and be a leader.”
Van Meter has been a part of executive leadership at Integris since 2001. He joined as vice president of finance at Integris Blackwell Hospital and was promoted to president there four years later.
In 2012, he was named president of Integris Canadian Valley Hospital, and has led that facility to successive year-over-year record performances. Van Meter earned a bachelor of accounting from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a master of health care administration from Trinity University.
Gray came to Integris in August 2011 as the chief nursing officer and vice president.
She distinguished herself in that time as a leader of the system’s nurse consortium and member of the Integris executive leadership team. Gray earned national certification from the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a nurse executive, and helped lead efforts that culminated in Integris Canadian Valley Hospital being named an ANCC Pathway to Excellence facility.
Prior to joining Integris, Gray worked with Foundation Surgical Hospital Affiliates. She earned her bachelor of science in nursing degree from Oklahoma Wesleyan University and a master of business administration from Southern Nazarene University.
As both a registered nurse and hospital president, Gray is in elite company in the metro. Her succession track has taught her the ropes when it comes to the executive team.
She vows to always remember how that should translate at the bedside.
“I think it’s going to be a little bit of both. Some of my thought process will change but I hope to bring that aspect of nursing and that experience I have in quality and patient care to the role and kind of design it differently for me,” she said.
“I hope to take a little of both and combine them and hopefully be a strong leader for our town, our patients and our staff.”

OU Nursing Ranked #1 in the Nation for Online RN-to-B.S.N.
Are you ready to take the next step to obtain your degree?
RN-to-B.S.N Program Description
* Online curriculum with optional in class attendance for monthly Saturday classes
* One Saturday course orientation day required in fall and spring semesters
* No acute/bedside clinical
* Fall community practicum require two or three weekday availability and spring leadership practicum require five week days of availability*
* Both clinical practicums are flexible and managed according to student work schedules
* Frequent contact with nationally certified and doctorally prepared faculty for individual consultation and instruction
Visit nursing.ouhsc.edu or call toll free at 1-877-(FOR-OURN) to learn more.
Application deadline:
October 15, 2018 – spring
April 1, 2019 – fall
The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. www.ou.edu/eoo

0 484
Lori Popejoy, PhD, RN, FAAN recently spoke on the topic of care management at the Fran & Earl Ziegler College of Nursing.

by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer

Through the Donald W. Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence, University of Oklahoma faculty and students were able to learn more about the evolving role of care coordination in nursing recently.
University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing’s Lori Popejoy, PhD, RN, FAAN, addressed attendees on the importance of care management in today’s nursing environment and beyond.
Fran & Earl Ziegler College of Nursing Interim Dean Gary L. Loving, PhD, RN applauded Popejoy’s insight.
“Dr. Popejoy’s visit to OUHSC was very timely,” Loving said. “Her background and expertise in care management provided valuable insight and guidance for the care management initiatives in which the College of Nursing and OU Medicine nursing personnel are engaged. “
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. is reaching an unprecedented demographic shift, with almost 1/5th of the American population over the age of 65 by 2030. At the same time, system changes including shorter hospital stays and limited nursing homes leave a growing number of older adults at home for health care.
As Americans live longer, increased research and training is required to meet the need for geriatric care and quality aging.
Established in 2008 through a gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation, the Reynolds Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence at the Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing is dedicated to ensuring that as the American population ages, there are increased cross-discipline solutions for community-based aging in place.
This approach to supports and interventions for older adults is emerging – one that enables older adults to maintain as much independence and dignity for as long as possible in their preferred setting, typically the home environment.
“We’re trying to avoid hospitalizations that don’t need to happen and certainly avoid rehospitalizations that could be prevented had we had better collaboration between the organization and the stakeholders, care providers, patients and our community providers overall,” Popejoy said. “Care coordination is all about how do we work with each other and communication patient and family needs so that we can meet them.”
Popejoy started her career as a diploma nurse before working in critical care and then hospital leadership for 13 years.
She went back for her BSN with an eye toward’s a master’s focused on geriatric care.
Popejoy lauded OU’s current curriculum that brings home the point to new nurses that care coordination is simply an extension of the nursing role.
But in today’s healthcare environment the true purpose may be getting muddled, in part, due to the nature of billing.
“I would say the answer is maybe we’ve over-embraced it in some respects,” Popejoy said. “There’s a lot of specialties that use care coordination. You can have different clinical specialists that have care coordinators but we are actually getting to the point where there are a lot of care coordinators but who is the primary coordinator that needs to be working with the patient and communicating outward?”
“I think we’ve almost created another layer of complexity that we haven’t quite worked our way through yet.”
Care coordination is identified by the Institute of Medicine as a key strategy that has the potential to improve the effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of the American health care system. Well-designed, targeted care coordination that is delivered to the right people can improve outcomes for everyone: patients, providers, and payers.
Although the need for care coordination is clear, there are obstacles within the American health care system that must be overcome to provide this type of care.
Preventable hospitalizations and duplicative tests increase health care spending. In fact, inadequate care coordination is estimated to have caused between $25 and $45 billion in wasteful spending in 2011 alone due to avoidable complications and unnecessary hospital readmissions.
“Care coordination is part of nursing practice. I call it the big C and the little C,” Popejoy said. “Care coordination is part of nursing and no matter what can not be removed from the profession of nursing. But then there is care coordination that occurs at a bigger level, to organize the care plan overall. That umbrella term is really the role that needs to be developed more fully.”

AllianceHealth Midwest
Small but BIG.
Small enough to care about you,
big enough to care for you!
We are welcoming experienced RN’s for all areas to apply!

0 655
Tara Placker, LPN is the Staffing Director for Parcway Post Acute Recovery Center where she gives the upmost care to her patients.


by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer

Selecting the right skilled nursing facility can be critical to your speedy recovery. Parcway Post Acute Recovery Center, located in Northwest Oklahoma City, OK offers a variety of therapies and care services to help you regain your independence.
Meet Tara Placker, LPN, and Staffing Director for Parcway where she has been a nurse for almost 3 years. Proud to be an Oklahoman, Tara was raised here, attending Platt College for her nursing career. “I really enjoy living in Oklahoman and my husband and I enjoy raising our 4 children here. I really can’t imagine living anywhere else,” she commented.
In your opinion, what qualities make a good nurse? “I think a good nurse has to have a lot of compassion for the patients. A lot of the patients at Parcway are coming here from just having surgery and they are feeling down and out. It is up to us to care for them, making them feel as comfortable as possible. Nurses also need a sense of knowledge; to help the patient and to answer to the doctors when they need us. The biggest thing a nurse needs is a heart of compassion,” Tara replied.
Tara’s favorite part of her job is the interaction she has with the patients. “When I am working the floors, I assist the CNA’s with the patient’s showers and getting them dressed, etc. It seems like that is when the patient wants to talk the most and they need someone to listen. The stories are full of history and the patient is eager to tell all, and we need to be ready to be their listener. I love the interaction between the patient and myself.”
How was it that you became interested in nursing? “I had never even thought about nursing until one day, I received a flyer in the mail about CNA/CMA classes at OSU-OKC. I thought it sounded interesting and decided to check it out. I ended up going to the classes and it was at that time, I knew that I wanted to become a nurse and take care of people. I am so happy that I am able to have a job allowing me to help others,” Tara said with a smile.
The biggest challenge that Tara finds with her job is also the interaction with some of the patients. “It can be very hard dealing with some of the patients from the mental health side or the fact that the patient is a Vietnam POW. There are not many situations like that but when there are, we are ready to help in any way we can,” she said.
Tara’s advice to someone going into the medical field would be to work hard and do it for the right reasons; to care for the patients and have a real desire to help others. “Don’t become a nurse if you plan on a 9-5 job because it doesn’t happen that way. Sometimes, the hours are long. Long hours and hard work, yet it is all worth it in the end,” Tara said.
According to Tara, her personality can be described as versatile. “When I am working with the patients, I am a happy, up beat nurse. I try to always lead by example and have a good attitude. When the coin is turned, I can be serious if I need to be,” Tara commented.
Tara’s hobbies include reading all kinds of books, novels and any and everything that keeps her interested in the first ten pages. “If the first ten pages keep me interested, I am sure to read it,” she said. “I also like to work 3D puzzles or any of those brain games.”
Tara is married and has 4 children; November 9, Lydia 5, Damien 4, and LilliAnn 1. “I love to spend time with my children and we always make it a family thing,” Tara said. “My children keep me going and I work hard to be the best mom I can.”
Teamwork is very important to Tara. “I feel like teamwork plays such an important part of being a nurse,” she said. “We need strong team players and that is what we have here at Parcway. We are all team players and I feel like teamwork is the building block to form a strong foundation. Once that foundation is built, no one can tear it down.”
Tara lives by these words of wisdom: Teamwork makes the dream work. Apparently, her words of wisdom live on with her and the staff at Parcway.

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

0 606

This Is Us

Colleen Sjostrom, LPN

Fantasy Island

Carol Smith, RN

Family Feud

Adrienne Troyer, RN

Let’s Make a Deal

Bradi Schenk, RN

Seeking quality RN Charge Nurse (11pm – 7am and 7am – 3pm) for our team of caring,
dedicated professionals who desire to make a difference every day.
Work in a positive team environment with leaders who value our staff and the chance to make a difference in the lives of those we serve.
Golden Age Nursing Home is located in historic downtown Guthrie….just a short drive from Oklahoma City and Edmond.
Apply on-line at www.companionhealth.net

0 445

A. I recently saw the most inspirational story about a man, his dog and his transformation and I wanted to share it with all of you.
In 2010, 51 year old Eric O’Grey weighed 320 pounds and took over 15 different medications to manage his type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol and depression. The Silicon Valley-based sales rep did most of his job over the phone, working from home and rarely leaving the house.
He subsisted on what he calls a “window diet,” only eating what was delivered to his home or through the car door. As he gained more and more weight, his clothes no longer fit and eventually he stopped going outside altogether. He lost contact with his friends and hadn’t gone on a date in 15 years.
O’Greys breaking point was when a doctor told him to purchase a cemetery plot because he’d likely need one in the next five years. He scheduled bariatric surgery, but as a last ditch effort, made an appointment with a naturopathic doctor who gave him the following prescription: EAT A PLANT BASED DIET AND GET A RESCUE DOG.
He went to the Humane Society and adopted Peety, an obese, middle-aged dog, whom he picked out “so we would have something in common.” With a new companion to love and take care of, now O’Grey had to get out of the house. They went on half-hour walks twice a day, soon building up to 2 to 3 miles and within 4 months, O’Gray got off his meds and reversed his diabetes. In 10 months he had lost about 140 pounds, dropping from 320 to 185. Peety even lost 25.
His massive amount of daily calories was now replaced with plant based choices in moderated portions. He had to learn an entirely different way to eat. What was a healthy portion? How do I eat to live instead of eating to die?
O’Gray has documented his transformation in a memoir, “Walking With Peety; The Dog Who Saved My Life.”

October 23 8:00am – 7:00pm
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Oklahoma City, 1000 N.E. 10th St. Oklahoma, 73117
Need LPN’s with six years of experience in health care settings to work as Surveyors. Some positions require extensive 2-3 day overnight travel.
Apply online at http://jobs.ok.gov using the keyword “State Department of Health” select Clinical Health Facility Surveyor II or bring a resume.

0 481

The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) has received notice of an award totaling more than $7 million from the Health Resources and Services Administration to support home visiting services to women during pregnancy, and to parents with young children through kindergarten completion. Award funds are allocated through September 2020.
The funds are awarded by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to support Oklahoma’s Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) Program, which served 1,100 households during FY 2017. Serving high-risk populations, 33 percent of the households have low income, 10 percent included pregnant teens, and nearly 5 percent reported a history of substance abuse.
“These funds will help support our ongoing commitment to the health and safety of our children and families,” said Interim Commissioner of Health Tom Bates. “We have a dedicated team of professionals who are working to provide support and guidance to families during an important time in their lives, and in the lives of their children.”
Oklahoma’s home visiting programs implement evidence-based initiatives that have proven to help prevent child abuse and neglect, support positive parenting, promote child development and school readiness, and improve the health of families and their children. Services are provided on a voluntary basis, at no cost to families.
For more information about Oklahoma’s home visitation programs, call 1-877-271-7611 or visit parentPRO.org.

Oklahoma State Department of Health
October 23 8:00am – 7:00pm
Oklahoma State Department of Health
Oklahoma City, 1000 N.E. 10th St
Oklahoma, 73117
Need RN’s to work in Clinic’s, Early Intervention, Children First and Medical Facilities.
Apply online at http://jobs.ok.gov using the keyword “State Department of Health” or bring a resume.

0 472

City Care, an Oklahoma City based nonprofit organization, will host its second annual Odyssey Project event to raise funds for low-income and homeless housing on Saturday, October 13, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. at Kerr Park.
City Care aims to stop the cycle of poverty in Oklahoma City by providing food and shelter for the homeless, supportive housing for low-income families and homeless, and tutoring and mentoring for under-resourced youth through its Whiz Kids program. Event organizers hope to raise awareness about homelessness and poverty as well as raise funds for City Care’s affordable housing initiatives.
“The Odyssey Project event will be a beautiful evening with food, wine, live music, and camaraderie, but with a very meaningful purpose,” said event chair Jill DeLozier. “We will share real stories through film about Oklahoma City’s homeless, and we hope that will motivate attendees, and therefore our community, to start creating real change when it comes to domestic violence, addiction, and mental illness.”
City Care’s COO Rachel Freeman has been working on planning the event for several months and has been overseeing a new documentary film by Dave Morris that will be premiered at the event.
“Our idea with The Odyssey Project was to engage the public in a new way. We invited our friend Crystal Malone to share her story and what life was like before, during and after experiencing homelessness,” said Freeman. “I hope event guests will leave educated, inspired, and willing to share their time and resources with our most vulnerable Oklahoma City residents.”
Odyssey Project event attendees will receive complimentary parking at a nearby parking garage, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and beer and wine with ticketed entry. Live music performers at the Odyssey Project event will be The Jeremy Thomas Quartet. Proceeds from The Odyssey Project event will support City Care’s work with those facing homelessness, addiction and poverty, providing meals, case management, tutoring, and affordable housing.
The event is open to anyone age 21 or over, and tickets may be purchased online at www.citycareokc.org/events. General admission is $125 per person, and sponsorships are still available. Kerr Park is located at 102 Robert S. Kerr Ave. in Oklahoma City.
The Odyssey Project is sponsored by Sponsored by Love Meyer Foundation, Linda and Steve Slawson, Downtown Oklahoma City Partnership, The Oklahoman, Blue Seven, Silvia and Steve Payne, Carole and Jeremy Tear, Quail Creek Bank, Lauri and Chris Dunning, Sara and Andy Burnett, BancFirst, Amy and Josh Newberry, Citizen’s Bank of Edmond, COOP Ale Works, and Oklahoma City Parks and Recreation Department.
More information can be found online at www.citycareokc.org/events or by calling the City Care offices at 405.652.1112. Complimentary media passes are available on a limited basis. Please contact event chair Jill DeLozier at 405.235.3500 for access. Kerr Park is located at 102 Robert S. Kerr Ave. in downtown Oklahoma City.

0 366

The Association of Oklahoma Nurse Practitioners announced that early registration is now open for the organization’s annual conference. The conference will take place Oct. 17-19 at the Renaissance Hotel and Convention Center in Tulsa.
“After several years at the same venue, we wanted to give our members a new experience, and this makes the conference more accessible for those in the Tulsa area who couldn’t attend in the past,” said AONP President Margaret Rosales.
The annual AONP Conference has grown to host nearly 400 nurse practitioners from across the state. The conference will offer workshops and seminars on a range of health care topics, including hypertension, obesity, coding and reimbursement and legislative advocacy.
“This year’s sessions cover everything from keeping up with the latest advancements in medicine, to running a practice, to advocating for the profession in halls of the State Capitol,” Rosales said. “There will be sessions to benefit every nurse practitioner at every level of experience.”
Conference organizers are offering discounted registration rates for students and for AONP members. Early registration discounts continue through Sept. 30. Conference sessions will be submitted to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and to the Oklahoma Board of Nursing for continuing education credits.
For more information or to register for the conference, go to npofoklahoma.com.

0 401

Health care professionals, community partners and others interested in health care quality improvement in Oklahoma are invited to attend this free, in-person conference event, hosted by TMF Health Quality Institute, the Medicare Quality Innovation Network Quality Improvement Organization (QIN-QIO) in Oklahoma. The TMF QIN-QIO is hosting four free, in-person conference events throughout Oklahoma between September and November 2018. Attendees will have the opportunity to earn free continuing education credits (CME, 2A for DOs, CNE, Pharmacy and medical ethics and professional responsibility) while attending sessions on the following topics.
„* Examining the opioid crisis in Oklahoma „* Implementing motivational interviewing techniques to help patients make lasting changes * Identifying and treating patients with sepsis„* Reducing antipsychotic medication use in older adults across care settings
Receive free assistance with Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) reporting
In addition to attending the conference sessions, attendees will have the opportunity to meet with TMF quality improvement consultants throughout the conference and for an hour at the end of each conference day. TMF consultants will be available to answer questions and provide assistance with reporting for MIPS. TMF consultants will also be available to answer questions about any other TMF QIN-QIO task or project.
Event Dates: All events are scheduled from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. CT
Wednesday, Oct. 17, 2018, Tulsa, Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018, Lawton, Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2018, McAlester

0 545
Rex Van Meter, president of INTEGRIS Deaconess

INTEGRIS assumed operations of Deaconess Hospital and its affiliated family care clinics at midnight, Oct. 1.
Rex Van Meter is the newly named president of INTEGRIS Deaconess, as it is now called. The hospital is considered a campus under the INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center umbrella.
Van Meter has been a part of executive leadership at INTEGRIS since 2001. He joined as vice president of finance at INTEGRIS Blackwell Hospital and was promoted to president there four years later. In 2012, he was named president of INTEGRIS Canadian Valley Hospital, and has led that facility to successive year-over-year record performances. Van Meter earned a bachelor of accounting from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and a master of health care administration from Trinity University.