News & Press: NPs in the News

NPs in the News, July Headlines

Tuesday, August 4, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Erin Cusack
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Holly Jeffreys Named Head of West Texas A&M


Longtime TNP Member, TNP Policy Council Chair, and owner of several family care clinics in the Texas Panhandle will assume leadership of West Texas A&M University’s Department of Nursing. She will begin her new post on August 17.

“I wanted to join the nursing department at WT because our missions go hand in hand and the experience at WT will allow me the opportunity to make a bigger difference in ensuring Texans have access to health care and positively impact the lives of Texans across the state,” Jeffreys said. “I hope to work with the department to reach new heights of commitment and success by focusing on the mission of the department and University, positively impacting the lives of our students —our future health care workers — and ultimately positively impacting the lives of countless individuals and communities across the nation.”

Dr. J. Dirk Nelson, dean of the College of Nursing and Health Sciences, said Jeffreys’ extensive experience made her a clear pick to lead the department.

“She is a very good educator, understands the health and wellness needs of rural communities and has been a strong advocate legislatively on behalf of nurses, in addition to her outstanding work as a clinician,” Nelson said.

“Rural residents suffer from greater health disparities than urban residents for a number of reasons,” added Jeffreys. “Regardless of the reasons, many of the health disparities can actually be prevented with appropriate access to healthcare. Keeping rural Texas healthy is so important because rural Texans keep food on our table and clothes on our back. Rural is the heart of Texas, and just like our heart needs appropriate care and attention, rural residents need care and attention including the opportunity to access healthcare and education.”


Leasa Roach Receives Rare Hospice Certification

TNP member and geriatric nurse practitioner, Leasa Roach, recently received a rare designation in the hospice and palliative care field, not only for the city of Texarkana but for the entire state of Texas.

Roach, who has worked at Hospice of Texarkana since 1998, was recently recognized by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association as being one of 95 nurses in Texas to hold the title of Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative nurse, according to the organization's website.

"For me, I just feel like it was God directing a path," Roach said. "As I look back, I can sure see how He took me through certain things and landed me where I am now in hospice care. And the more I get in hospice, the more I feel like I could really make a difference."

"I love the organization I work for and I love the people I get to work with. It's a blessing," Roach said. "I'm humbled that I get to do it.”


Texas Medical Center Highlights Brandon Johnson in COVID-19 Series

The Texas Medical Center highlighted nurse practitioner Brandon Johnson in their series, “In Their Own Words: The Voices of COVID-19.” From telemedicine to implementing pre-surgery testing protocols to doing virtual simulations with nurse students, Johnson has been innovating in the clinic and in the classroom throughout the pandemic.

Brandon Johnson is a lead nurse practitioner for the Baylor College of Medicine general surgery thoracic team who works at CHI Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Center.

“When COVID came, we all had to be more aware to make sure our patients were safe and our staff was safe,” said Johnson.

Johnson’s team has implemented a three-tiered screening process for COVID-19 patients since the onset of the pandemic: pre-screenings over the phone, temperature checks outside of the hospital, and another layer of screening in the clinic. Since they are a surgery center, his team has also added a step of doing COVID-19 tests on patients five days before any surgical intervention to reduce risk of transmission.

In addition to his clinical role, Johnson is also an adjunct faculty member at the Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing.

“While delivering education during this pandemic, we had to be innovative,” said Johnson.

“There is some really nice simulation software that allows me to watch a student take care of a virtual patient. Even if I’m not physically there with a student, I am still there helping them meet objectives and helping them learn the concepts of nursing.”


San Antonio NP Serves on Front Lines – from NYC to RGV

TNP Member and Floresville nurse practitioner Raynell Odom was set to open her own practice, but in April, she flew to New York City to join in the fight against COVID-19 instead, despite her own health risks.

In 2006, Odom battled breast cancer, and she currently lives with diabetes.

“It’s just the way I am. I’m not afraid of anything,” Odom said.

Odom was reunited with her family in May, but she’s wanting to serve on the front lines again and just signed up to travel down to the Rio Grande Valley, where hospitals are facing a strain on supplies, providers, and bed space.

“That’s what nurses do,” she added. “It’s how we’re wired. I would never ever in my whole life entertain the idea of any other profession."


Carriston Hendricks Realizes Dream, Opens Clinic in Shelby County

Carriston Hendricks and the staff at Priority Family Healthcare hosted a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony July 13, the culmination of a long-time dream to open a clinic in Shelby County.

"Never start a business just to make money; start a business to make a difference," said Chamber of Commerce Ambassador and Chairwoman, Stephanie Elswick, who provided opening comments at the ribbon cutting. "After getting to know Carriston, that is definitely why she is in this business."

“It's not anything that was definitely a quick jump into, but with my husband (Luke) by my side and definitely lots of family and friends, we were able to accomplish a huge dream that I've had for many years,” Hendrick shared with the crowd.

Priority Healthcare was founded on the philosophy of service to the community, Hendricks said. “And definitely my most important aspect is to be here to be able to serve Shelby County.

Clinc hours are Monday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. Fridays. Telemedicine visits are available at any time during or after-hours. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 936-590-4708. Phones are answered 24/7.

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