Local VA Employees Honored for Public Service - Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System
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Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System


Local VA Employees Honored for Public Service

May 9, 2018

Three employees from the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System were honored earlier this week by the Oklahoma Federal Executive Board for their outstanding work as part of their annual Employee of the Year awards. These awards are presented during Public Service Recognition Week, May 6-12, to recognize federal employees throughout the state of Oklahoma.

Kathy Lawrence, RN, Nurse Manager
Category: Supervisor of the Year

Lawrence was recognized for the significant reduction of Hospital Acquired Pressure Ulcers, the merging of two high acuity units, implementing a Sitter Program, Flow Coordination, and implementing an interdisciplinary meeting that has become a staple in the facility and nominated for as a Best Practice within the VA. She has proven to be a leader that motivates others, demonstrates excellence and strives daily to enhance the Veteran experience.

“I am grateful and extremely proud to have been nominated and subsequently win this award in my category,” said Lawrence. “I am honored to serve the veteran population in my profession of nursing. To be recognized for a work I absolutely love, is an extraordinary gift.”

Tonya Cannon, RN, Surgery Service
Category: Technical, Professional, and Administrative, GS-9 & Above Employee of the Year

Cannon has made many contributions to the Eastern Oklahoma VA Health Care System. Her research on using IV Tylenol for Veterans who suffer from sleep apnea resulted in a 25% reduction in pain medications. Besides the lower narcotic usage, this also showed a reduction in the average stay for each surgery patient, which equal $4,400 per patient for the facility. Ms. Cannon’s commitment and diligence has changed how pain management is accomplished at the medical center.

“I was so surprised to learn that I had won,” said Cannon. “I knew I was up against some tough competition. I feel very honored to take care of our Veterans. It is a privilege that I do not take lightly. I try to do the very best I can for the Veterans. I treat them as if they are my own family and I do not hesitate to advocate for them.”

Carter Check, Chaplain Service
Category: Outstanding Community Service

Chaplain Check, a Clinically Certified chaplain, conducts Spiritual Care as complementary medicine with Behavioral and Mental Health therapies. He co-facilitates a new Moral Injury and Reconciliation Clinic and introduced the curriculum for the clinic. Chaplain Check will be presenting his Moral Injury curriculum nationwide on the VA’s Talent Management System (TMS). He is also a member of the Substance Use Disorder Outpatient treatment team and facilitates a weekly spirituality group focused on rebuilding trust and resolving moral dilemmas. In addition, he is a member of the Executive Mental Health Council, which consists of community members, stakeholders and community churches in Tulsa and Muskogee.

“I am humbled by this award, because it represents my heart and gratitude for the Veterans we serve,” said Check. “For me, to serve is a way of life, and I am just happy to be doing what I know I am called to do. Every single day I get to work with and serve our nation’s heroes, our Veterans, which is a greater honor than any award I could ever receive.”