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3 Generations of Nursing at OMC

3 Generations of Nursing at OMC

Nursing runs in the family with these three nurses who work at Ozarks Medical Center (OMC).

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.”

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