by James Coburn
Mercy Hospital in Logan County is like a close family, said Shannon Dunn, a registered nurse and med/surg supervisor at Mercy Hospital Logan County where she has worked for a year.
A nursing school graduate of OSU/OKC in 2001, the Crescent resident also has experience in emergency care and post operations.
“I know a lot of the patients personally and I know their families, which I like,” Dunn said. “They come in here and it’s just rewarding being able to take care of them.”
The hospital has a great group of medical professionals, she said.
“The nurses are probably the most caring group of people I’ve ever worked with,” she said. “They really do genuinely care about their patients. That’s probably what keeps me here.”
Dunn said there are important changes coming through Mercy such as electronic medical records. Even without that, the nursing staff is what makes the hospital, she said.
The entire staff is an interdisciplinary team with the patient at the center of focus, she said.
Nurses must be willing to learn new things because each day brings a patient into the hospital with something new, Dunn said.
Mercy Hospital Logan County performs many procedures that are not typical for smaller hospitals, she said. This includes orthopedic surgery, total joint, hip and knee replacements, knee ligament repairs, shoulders and general surgeries involving urology, appendectomies, gall bladder removal and eye, ear, nose and throat procedures.
“It’s not the same old thing everyday,” Dunn said. “Being in a rural facility, nurses have to be willing to develop a relationship with their patients because they stay here longer than they would probably stay in another facility,” Dunn said.
Medicare guidelines permit Mercy Hospital Logan County status as a critical access hospital to allow their patients to stay and recover at the hospital for extended periods of times.
“We have skilled nursing here, so once they are past the acute phase, they can be admitted to the skilled nursing,” Dunn said. “They’re still on the same floor and they still have the same nurse. And so we have a long term relationship with our patients and their families.”
Some of the patients are admitted to Mercy Hospital Logan County’s swing-bed status from other hospitals. She said the Guthrie location is convenient for family members who live in the area.
The sale of the hospital to Mercy on Oct. 1 also included four clinics in Edmond, Guthrie and Crescent.
The hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital in Guthrie and has been serving the Logan County and surrounding communities since 1978.
“Probably the biggest thing we’ve seen is they’re coming in with their maps and computers for the electronic medical record,” Dunn said. “We have a new administrator, Josh Tucker.”
LMC’s eight physicians have joined Mercy Clinic - a physician-led, multi-specialty group that includes more than 200 providers in 45 locations across Oklahoma. Both doctors and Logan’s 305 co-workers have the support and resources of the Mercy health ministry, which includes 29 hospitals and more than 200 outpatient facilities across Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma.
“A lot of people in Guthrie came here because they knew about the care. They knew about the nurses and employees. I think they trusted us,” she said. “I think a lot of people in the community question if the same doctors and nurses still work here. And we’re all still here. It’s the same care. It’s just a different name.”
Dunn works with about 10 full time nurses working in med/surg. There are also agency nurses and PRN nurses to make about 20 nursing employees as well as five nursing aides.
Her patient census fluctuates from 10 to 29 patients a day. And days are rarely typical, she said.
Dunn had aspired to go to medical school prior to her career as a nurse. But she decided to become a nurse in order to take care of her mother after a diagnosis calling for a liver transplant.
“I promised her I would take care of her so I went to nursing school instead of medical school,” Dunn said.
Her mother would tell her about how nice the care was at Logan. During this time, Dunn was working in Stillwater as a nurse. So she applied at Logan.
Her great-aunt Clara Shannon had a long career as a nurse in a small hospital in Mason, Oklahoma, before she died at age 98.
“She would walk to the nursing home to visit the old people,” Dunn said. “I was young then, but I knew she cared for my grandparents and uncles when I was 5 or 6.”
She and her husband moved to Oklahoma in a covered wagon.
Dunn has also worked at a large Oklahoma City hospital. She knows that great care comes in all forms, whether it’s a small setting or not.
Shannon Dunn, RN, says the close knit staff and community connections keeps her inspired with her work as a nurse at Mercy Hospital in Logan County.