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Oklahoma League for Nurses: Some of Our Stories r/t OLN History

Some of the first members and leaders were: Joyce Van Nostrand, Thea Clark, and Marie Ahrens. These members along with some newer members agreed to be interviewed about their involvement with OLN as members and officers. We want to share our stories and our involvement in OLN as a way to encourage you to join us! These stories are from current members in alphabetical order: Marie Ahrens; Helen Campbell; Thea Clark; Diana Mashburn;  P. Eileen Stephens; and Joyce Van Nostrand

Marie H. Ahrens, MS RN is a Diploma of Nursing graduate from Bridgeport Hospital School of Nursing in 1967. She then completed a BSN at Langston University Urban Center in Tulsa, OK in 1984 and a Master of Science Nursing Major from University of Oklahoma in 1990. One of her most enjoyable nursing roles was as clinical supervisor with Upjohn Health Care Services providing home care/home health care services in the Tulsa metro area. She also enjoys nursing education roles and recently retired (2013) as a community health faculty member at The University of Tulsa’s BSN program. Marie first became involved with OLN through professional relationships with other OLN members and ONA members while a faculty member in 1991-1993 at Rogers State College and The University of Tulsa. She has been a member since the early 1990’s. Marie has held the office of Treasurer for OLN, presented at three of the OLN sponsored educational conferences that were held in the 1990’s and has participated on the scholarship committee in the past as well. Marie currently serves on the OLN Board of Directors as a special projects board member assisting with membership. She is a recipient of the 2012 OLN Outstanding Educator Award. She hopes that OLN continues to grow with increased membership and involvement. Marie thinks that the Certified Nurse Educator designation will facilitate that happening. For the future, she hopes that OLN can continue to co-sponsor various educational activities around the state (ONA, etc.) and that the organization will be able to continue granting scholarships for faculty development.

Helen Campbell, MSN, RN, has served as Program Chair, Nursing, ITT Technical Institute. She graduated in the first nursing class from The University of Tulsa in 1973 and completed her Masters in Nursing from Oklahoma University in 2008. Helen describes some of her most enjoyable nursing roles in her career starting with the Burn Unit at Hillcrest Medical Center; working for Hospice at SJMC; and teaching at Tulsa Technology Center in the Practical Nursing program. In her current role as Program Chair, Nursing ITT Technical Institute she reports that they are now offering an Associate in Science in Nursing. Helen learned about OLN from Thea Clark and has been a member for one year. Helen states that she thinks the future of OLN is rich with opportunity; working with grade schools, middle schools and high schools to educate students about nursing as a great career; supporting the advancement of simulation; nursing informatics’; evidence based practice and last but not least mentoring of future nurses and nurse educators through an informal and formal alliance with nursing programs.

Thea L. Clark graduated with a Diploma in Nursing from Hillcrest Medical Center School of Nursing in 1971. She completed her BS in Education in 1984 and a Master of Science in Education in 1993, both from Oklahoma State University in Stillwater, OK. Thea has most enjoyed her role in her position as Coordinator of Tulsa Technology Center School of Practical Nursing in Tulsa since 2003 from which she retired in 2012 although she continues to serve as an adjunct instructor in various TTC courses. She was instructor at Tulsa Technology School of Practical Nursing from 1977-2003 and has held staff as well as supervisory positions in nursing from 1971-until the beginning of her nursing education career. Thea holds many professional memberships but has been a major player in the Oklahoma League for Nursing and a member since at least 1984. She has served as President of OLN in 2008-2010 and previously served in this position from 1994-1996. Thea has held various positions with OLN including:  Board member from 2000-2004; Secretary 1992-1994; Chairperson of Budget Committee 1986-1987; Director at Large 1984-1986; and Chairperson of Fall Workshop Committee 1984. Thea received the 2013 OLN Outstanding Educator Award.

            Diana Mashburn PhD RN-BC, CNE first learned of OLN several years ago through her boss, Dr. Joyce Van Nostrand, who was involved in its reactivation and Dr. Mashburn has been a member ever since. Dr. Mashburn began her nursing education with an Associate in Nursing from Bacone College in 1987. She completed a BSN at Northeastern State University in 1990 and her Master’s of Science at University of Oklahoma 1994. She earned a doctoral degree from the University of Minnesota PhD nursing program. When asked what nursing role she has most enjoyed in her career to date, Dr. Mashburn states, that “Literally since the very first day of nursing school, I wanted to be a nursing faculty. I also still work p.r.n. on the same med-surg unit where I started working 22 years ago. I never want it said of me 'those who can- do, those who can’t –teach”. Dr. Mashburn has participated in OLN by attending meetings and a couple of workshops sponsored by OLN as well as being a presenter at recent OLN workshops. She sees the future of OLN as promoting attendance at the NLN Education Summit; supporting Certified Nurse Educator status and general recognition of education as an advanced practice role and nursing specialty. She states this should be a focus for OLN. Dr. Mashburn currently is the Chair for the RN -BSN Program at Northeastern State University in Muskogee, OK and serves as the President Elect 2015-2016 for OLN, taking the helm October 2016.

P. Eileen (Shaw) Stephens graduated with a Diploma in Nursing from St. John’s Hospital School of Nursing in 1972; a BS in Education from UCO in 1978; a BSN from UCO in 1994 and finally a Masters in Science with Nursing Education pathway from OUCN. Eileen retired from OSU-OKC after 14 years as faculty and Associate Division Head of Health Sciences. She then worked as the RN to BS Program Director at Southern Nazarene University from 2012-2014. She has worked in nursing for 43 years with about 25 staff nurse years, overlapping with 18 years in nursing education as faculty and/or administration.  Eileen states she loves nursing, nursing education and being involved in professional nursing organizations such as the OLN. She is currently OLN President for 2014-2016 and an individual member to NLN. Also, Eileen has been active in Oklahoma Nurses Association as ONA Region 1 President and other offices over the years for Region 1 and on the ONA Board of Directors and Government Action committee in the past. She thinks it is extremely important for RN's and LPN's to be actively involved with their professional organizations and to be leaders in Oklahoma.

Joyce Van Nostrand, PhD, RN, CNE is retired Chair from the Department of Nursing at Northeastern State University in Muskogee, OK. Dr. Van Nostrand is known to have revived the OLN from inactivity, and was instrumental in rewriting its by-laws based on changes that the NLN made in its constitution during the 1990’s. Many other OLN members were very instrumental in this process and worked with Dr. Van Nostrand in this revival.  She has since served as an officer and member of various committees for OLN. Dr. Van Nostrand was the first recipient of the Outstanding Educator Award given in 2011.

We hope YOU will decide to join Oklahoma League for Nursing and become part of our history!!