ONA Annual Convention Award Winners

Posted over 1 year ago

Amber N. Bradford, MSN, RN, Director of Adult Endoscopy at OU Medical Center, has received the award for Excellence in Nursing – Administration. Having served as a nursing leader at OU Medicine for over 10 years, she believes nursing is a calling, not just a profession. Following in her mother’s footsteps, she is a nurse with passion and empathy for patients and their families. She is a transformational leader inspiring those she leads to giving the best patient care. Her achievements include the development of a Supervisor Development Training program, involving performance management through coaching and documentation. Utilizing this program, she trained 30 RN and facilitated their transition to supervisors.  As a result of her leadership for 5 years as chair of the Nursing Policy and Procedure Committee for OU’s shared governance body, she now serves on the Enterprise level Policy and Procedure Steering Committee. She is creating a lasting legacy, upholding the profession of nursing to the highest level.

Sheila K. St. Cyr, MS, RN, BC, Controlled Substance Diversion Prevention Specialist at OU Medicine, Inc., has received the award for Excellence in Nursing – Education. Her role, arguably one of the hardest jobs in the organization, requires great diplomacy and communication skills. She demonstrates professionalism and exhibits positive collaboration between team members, instilling a healthy work environment and culture of safety. Prior to this role, she served as Director for Clinical Education and an onboarding specialist, developing innovative projects involving clinical practice, process improvement, documentation accuracy, and patient satisfaction. She was instrumental in the design and implementation of OU Medicine’s original Nurse Residency program. Passionate about nursing, she uses her expertise to drive patient care, advance nursing practice and to improve quality and outcomes.

Judy Stevenson, DNP, MS, APRN-CNS, of St. John Medical Center, is the recipient of the Excellence in Nursing – Direct Patient Care award. Her commitment to both nursing practice and staff development is displayed in her dual role as Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Emergency Department/Trauma Services and Clinical Instructor. With strong clinical skills and exceptional educational abilities, she demonstrates her dedication to the profession through her long-term engagement in nursing practice. She has published and provided multiple podium presentations on emergency training for Emergency Department nurses. Her strength, courage, and commitment to improving care for communities most affected by natural disasters comes from her own experience of living through a natural disaster. During the Joplin tornado, she not only endured the destruction of her home, but she climbed from the rubble to go to the nearest standing hospital to triage patients. She has continued to leverage that life-changing experience by identifying opportunities to strengthen nursing practice in emergency departments affected by natural disasters. Her current goal is to bring her DNP project on Disaster Preparedness Program for Health Care Providers to St John/Ascension.

Nursing Impact on Public Policy award recipient Larcile White, MS, RN, RNC-NIC, Bursing Clinical Instructor at Langston University, is well known in the nursing community for her participation in public policy, especially in the area of women and children’s issues. She strives to keep others updated concerning public policy at the local, regional, state and national levels. Her dedication to policymaking has taken her to the steps of both our State and National Capital, working to keep lawmakers informed not only on nursing issues but on the needs of her patients – women and children. She has been active in ONA’s Governmental Activities Committee, served as Nurse of the Day numerous times and as the AWHONN State Advocacy Representative. Now as a faculty member, she encourages her nursing students to be involved in local and state level policy opportunities. She serves as an example to all nurses on ways to advocate for the profession and the patients we serve.

Tamara Hychschuk

Nursing Research award recipient Tamara Hryshchuk, MS, RNC-NIC, Clinical Nurse Educator at St. John Medical Center/Ascension, has taken an innovative approach to teaching healthcare professionals and nursing students through research into the simulation as an effective learning tool. Whether reducing infection rates of central lines or using high-fidelity simulation in neonatal resuscitation (her current focus for her doctoral research program), she has conducted research that has benefited her colleagues and herself as they care for their patients in the NICU. This research is considered a non-blinded randomized control trial using comparison measurements on high-fidelity simulators versus low-fidelity simulators on the competence of Registered Nurses (RNs). Nurses trained to utilize this Neonatal Resuscitation Program have demonstrated better patient outcomes than nurses who have not received this training. An excellent nursing role model for her nursing students, she continues to advance her degrees and professionalism. There is a direct correlation between the number of nursing students and RNs that she inspires with her research methods and the improvements in clinical nursing practice ultimately improving patient outcomes in Oklahoma.


Helen Farrar, PhD, RN, BC, CNE, Assistant Professor at the University of Oklahoma Fran & Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, has received the Nightingale Award of Excellence. Going above and beyond in advancing the profession of nursing through research and scholarship, she has researched the older adults in the Amish community and was involved in the data analysis publication of African American breast cancer survivors in their post-treatment journeys. She consistently demonstrates skills the nursing profession needs to transform in the future and assists students to learn those same skills, all while contributing her time and talents to professional organizations, including ONA, Region 2 and writing articles for the Oklahoma Nurse. Helen inspires others to be even more than the best that they can be. Like Florence Nightingale, she desires the best outcomes for all who she encounters: patients, nursing students, community members and organizations, the homeless, the different, and her coworkers. A nursing professional who touches everyone that she meets in a positive way, she sees others for their true and full potential and finds ways to help them to advance in this direction. She is “the lady with the lamp” that has, and will continue, to light the flame in others, thus, in turn, building the professionalism of nursing for Tulsa and Oklahoma.

Mike  Averill, ONA’s Friend of Nursing, is a Business Reporter for the Tulsa World. His article entitled, In Need of Care: Nursing Shortage Already Being Felt Across the State, exemplified areas of concern in the nursing field. He touched on serious issues such as the shortage of educational faculty and programs available for all eager prospective nursing students despite nursing being “a popular career path.” His article discussed the effects of higher education funding cuts in limiting the enrollment of more students, and he was sympathetic toward nurses working long hours and heavy workloads. His attention to the imminent nursing crisis articulates its effect on patient outcomes if the crisis is not thwarted. We are hopeful that this journalist will continue to follow nursing and keep the community abreast of the ongoing issues surrounding the nursing shortage. Our desire is that this focus will have an impact on the nursing shortage by encouraging those seeking a caring profession to obtain a nursing degree, inspiring registered nurses to advance their degree, and encouraging those RNs who can teach to do so.

The Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City has received the Excellence in the Workplace Environment award. This facility’s leadership believes that happy nurses produce higher quality patient care as well as happier patients and families. This positive work environment includes a Daily Operations Briefing, rounding by senior leadership, and other interactions that contribute to helpful results. The Daily Operations Briefing is a huddle for front line staff, managers and the CEO, COO, and CNO that provides situational awareness of priorities, patient flow, and experience successes and failures. In addition, senior leadership works to create fun opportunities for staff interaction that include riding the shuttle, sharing breakfast and hosting food trucks. In order to best understand the needs of clinical nursing staff, a CNO Advisory Council meets monthly to inform and align work priorities; this council is currently discussing flexible staffing options, work-life balance and retaining talent at the bedside. These are just some of the ways this facility strives to create a more nurturing environment for both staff and patients. Nursing at The Children’s Hospital strives to provide resources for staff to be at their best in every situation, connecting not just medicine and health, but also hearts and lives throughout the community.

The Excellence in the Workplace Environment award recipient, the St John Medical Center / Ascension Health System Clinical Education Department, understands the importance of soft skills in the workplace. While hard skills can be easily measured, soft skills refer to a person’s intangible and technical abilities, including qualities like enthusiasm, punctuality, loyalty, and a strong work ethic based on human emotions. This staff group knows that career potential depends on soft skills including work ethic, attitude, emotional intelligence and communication skills. They exhibit these behaviors themselves, thus creating harmony between the group and those with whom they interact. Soft skills are proven to be essential for building and maintaining relationships, they help us communicate and collaborate with colleagues, and they play a key role when facing external customers and clients. Consequently, CED scenarios include communication with interprofessional personnel, patients, as well as with the families of our patients. Surveys within St John/Ascension departments show an increase in harmonious environments since the CED began emphasizing the importance of soft skills in the workplace simulations in 2016.  A pleasant workplace is a prosperous workplace, and the Clinical Education Department at St John/Ascension Medical Center demonstrates this daily in every interaction.