3 Generations of Nursing at OMC
Nursing runs in the family with these three nurses who work at Ozarks Medical
Rufina Falwell had been a stay-at-home mom, raising two daughters and a
son. “Once my children got a little older, it just hit me…I
could go to school,” said Rufina. “God called me into nursing.”
Rufina started taking classes at South Central Career Center and became
a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN). She began working at OMC in October
of 1984 on the Med/Surg floor. Rufina wanted to continue her education
and went back to school at Missouri State University-West Plains while
continuing to work. She became a Registered Nurse (RN) in 1992.
Rufina currently works in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at OMC. She remembers
working in the old ICU that was only a 4-bed unit. “I was working
on Mother’s Day in 1992. It was the day we moved into the new ICU.
We took one patient with us.” The current ICU at OMC is a 12-bed
unit and usually has a census of 8 to 10 patients.
Daughter Cindy was a senior at West Plains High School taking health occupation
classes when mom Rufina was in LPN school. Cindy and her sister, Sheila,
helped around the house so Rufina had time to study. “I liked being
around people and taking care of them, too,” Cindy said. Those qualities
transferred to a love of nursing. Cindy completed LPN school in 1986 and
began working at OMC in 1987. Currently, Cindy works in the GI Lab, a
section of the hospital that at one time housed the OB Department. “Cindy
works in the room that she was born in,” says Rufina.
Like mom Cindy, Briawna started earning her Certified Nursing Assistant
(CNA) while at West Plains High School. “Watching grandma and mom,
I knew how much they loved their careers. It wasn’t until I became
a CNA and actually began working in the field, that I knew it was what
I wanted to do, too,” Briawna said. Briawna began working at OMC
in 2012. She is now an RN after completing her LPN in 2014 and her RN
in 2015. Briawna primarily works on the Medical/Surgical floor, but sometimes
works in ICU, too.
All three agree that they work with an exceptional staff. “We are
all like family,” Rufina said. After working as a CNA, Briawna especially
wants to commend OMC’s CNAs. “They get overlooked sometimes.”
In their spare time, Rufina enjoys antiquing, bird watching and taking
care of her grandkids. Cindy shares her mom’s love of antiquing
and also enjoys reading. Briawna enjoys reading, too, and shopping, traveling
and spending time with friends and family.
When asked if she could think of any special patients or stories of her
32 years of service at OMC, Rufina said, “All of my patients are
special. The best thing about nursing is that you get to become acquainted
with your patients and their families.” Rufina is not planning to
retire anytime soon. “I am going to work as long as I’m able.”