Friday, September 30, 2016

CoxHealth’s Pink Ribbon Rally and Luncheon scheduled for October 8

CoxHealth has been uniting and inspiring breast cancer survivors, as well as their friends and family, at its annual Pink Ribbon Rally and Luncheon for 24 years. Scheduled for October 8, this year’s rally is sure to be another wonderful time of support for lives affected by the disease – and encouragement for early detection.

“This event is a great opportunity to come together with other people affected by breast cancer,” says Autumn Bragg, community oncology educator at CoxHealth. “People have a strong connection to breast cancer. If they haven’t experienced it personally, it’s likely they know someone who has.”

Because of that connection, the event is open to the general public. Activities include a photo booth, group painting, pampering, door prizes and more. Additionally, the lunch discussion will focus on healing emotionally and physically from breast cancer. Lunch will be provided by Chick-fil-A.

The event is free to attend, and will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Hulston Cancer Center (3850 S. National Ave., Springfield). Doors open at 10:15 a.m. Space is limited, and registration by Oct. 5 is required. Call 417-269-INFO for more information.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

CoxHealth brings new mammography technology to Branson

There’s new technology in the Ozarks: CoxHealth is now the first health system in Southwest Missouri to offer Genius 3D MAMMOGRAPHY exams, allowing tissue to be examined in far greater detail than ever before.

“This technology is revolutionary because it allows professionals to examine breast tissue layer by layer as opposed to a flat image,” explains Rachel Morgan, mammography technologist. “That means we have a much better chance at catching breast cancer early, beating it and possibly less aggressive treatment needed to do so.”

Powered by Hologic, this technology detects 41% more invasive breast cancers, and decreases recall rate by 25%. Additionally, it’s the only clinically superior breast tomosynthesis exam approved by the FDA.

The procedure takes place during the breast compression and only adds seconds to the exam.

To schedule a 3D mammogram in Branson, contact the Women’s Center at Cox Medical Center Branson at 417-348-8313. The exams are also available at CoxHealth’s Breast Care Clinic in Springfield. Call 417-269-6170 for an appointment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Pulmonologist joins Cox Medical Center Branson’s growing team of experts

Cesar Artiles, MD
Cox Medical Center Branson is pleased to announce that Cesar Artiles, MD, has joined CoxHealth Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine clinic.

Dr. Artiles, who specializes in pulmonary and critical care medicine, has received extensive education, training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of conditions that affect breathing and the lungs, including asthma, COPD, sleep apnea, pneumonia and lung cancer.

He received his medical education at Instituto Tecnologico de Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic and completed his internal medicine residency at Danbury Hospital, in Danbury, Conn. He was honored as the Internal Medicine Residency Program Resident of the Year for 2011-2012 and served as the chief resident of internal medicine from 2012-2013. Dr. Artiles continued his training at Cleveland Clinic - Respiratory Institute where he completed a fellowship in pulmonary and critical care.

“Dr. Artiles is a great asset to our community,” said Cox Medical Center Branson President William Mahoney. “He’s received excellent training at one of the world’s elite medical facilities – Cleveland Clinic. We are truly grateful that he chose to join our team in Branson where he’ll provide top-notch care to Pulmonology and Sleep Medicine patients as well as to some of our most critically ill patients in the hospital.”

Dr. Artiles was inspired by his father, a diabetic, to pursue a career in medicine. It was during his time in medical school however that he decided to focus on pulmonology and critical care.

“I was just starting to work in the critical care unit when I realized pulmonology and intensive care were so intertwined,” he explained. “I like to think of critical care as the best in medicine. You really have to think about all of the systems of the body, how they interact and how they work together when determining the best treatment plan for each patient.”

While completing his fellowship at Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Artiles participated in a lung cancer and advanced diagnostic bronchoscopy track where he learned about a relatively new procedure - endobronchial ultrasounds (EBUS). EBUS is a minimally invasive yet highly effective procedure used to diagnose lung cancer, infections and other diseases. Dr. Artiles is now providing this service in Branson.

“Being able to offer this procedure here means patients do not have to travel outside of our community for this test, they’ll receive a diagnosis faster and begin treatment sooner,” Mahoney said.

Dr. Artiles chose to join the Cox Medical Center Branson team because he saw the opportunity to make a difference in the community.

“In the Branson area, we see a lot of diseases related to smoking,” he said. “I saw a lot of opportunities where I could make a difference in the health of the community. Since arriving, I have really enjoyed how friendly the people are as well as the beautiful landscape and lakes.”

When not working, Dr. Artiles enjoys running, playing basketball and spending time with his wife Carmen and their daughters, 1-year-old Amelia and newborn Deanna.

For more information, call 335-7559.

Allergist anticipates another tough season for allergy suffers

Sneezing, coughing, runny nose and itchy, watery eyes are common for many allergy sufferers this time of year. CoxHealth physician Brett Hronek, MD, who specializes in allergy and immunology, anticipates those who are allergic to weeds might want to pick up an extra box of tissues though this season.

“We’ve had a lot of rain again this summer which is a good indicator that we will have a lot of weeds during the late summer and early fall months,” Dr. Hronek said.

September and October is when weed pollen typically peaks, especially ragweed, which means allergy suffers could be in for a long couple of months.

“It is hard to predict what type of allergy season we will have, but the quantity of rain we receive can impact the amount of weed pollen that is in the air,” Dr. Hronek said. “Weeds are also in the air until the first freeze, so if we have a long fall, we can also have a long allergy season.”

Over-the-counter antihistamines and nasal steroids may help with sneezing and mild cases of runny nose. If allergies are severe or interfere with day-to-day activities, it’s best to seek help from an allergist.

“An allergist can help identify which specific allergens are causing symptoms,” Hronek said. “An allergist can design a treatment plan to significantly improve the patient’s symptoms and quality of life.”

To schedule an appointment with a CoxHealth allergist in Branson or Springfield, call 417-875-3742.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Skaggs Bash: Hollywood Comes to Branson set for Oct. 1

Exclusive event offers cocktail hour, fun prizes, entertainment and more

Every year, Skaggs Foundation invests thousands of dollars into the Tri-Lakes Area to support health and wellness.

The community is invited to be a part of this important effort by supporting Skaggs Foundation. On Oct. 1, Skaggs Foundation will present its largest annual fundraiser, Skaggs Bash, at Branson IMAX Entertainment Complex. Themed Hollywood Comes to Branson, the event includes a cocktail hour, hors d’oeuvres, moonshine tasting, an IMAX film, great prizes, giveaways and even “paparazzi.” Every guest will also take home a souvenir refillable popcorn container, entitling them to free popcorn refills for a year at the IMAX.

Funds raised through the bash make it possible for Skaggs Foundation to continue its mission of supporting community initiatives that improve health and wellness in Taney and Stone counties.

“In 2016, Skaggs Foundation will put more than $1 million into programs right here in Taney and Stone counties,” says Skaggs Foundation President Meghan Connell. “In this year alone, we are helping to improve the lives of literally thousands of people in our community. Through programs we support, we are helping at-risk pregnant moms and newborns, we are making it possible for children to see a dentist for the first time in their lives, and we are helping the uninsured and underinsured in our area receive the health care they need.”

To learn more about the Skaggs Bash or to reserve your seat, call 348-8002 or email RSVP by Sept. 23 for reserved seating.

CoxHealth brings new mammography technology to the Ozarks

There’s new technology in town: CoxHealth is now the first health system in Southwest Missouri to offer Genius 3D MAMMOGRAPHY exams to high-risk women, allowing tissue to be examined in far greater detail than ever before.

“This technology is revolutionary because it allows professionals to examine breast tissue layer by layer in both breasts, as opposed to a flat image,” says Susan Smith, director of CoxHealth’s Breast Care Clinic. “This way, fine details are much more visible.”

Powered by Hologic, this technology detects 41% more invasive breast cancers, and decreases recall rate by 25%. Additionally, it’s the only clinically superior breast tomosynthesis exam approved by the FDA.

The exam is currently available to CoxHealth’s highest-risk patients. However, the health system has plans of gradually rolling it out to all patients. To schedule an exam, contact the Breast Care Clinic at 417-269-6170 (Springfield) and 417-348-8313 (Branson).

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Miracle Ride 2016 to raise funds for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at CoxHealth

Riding a motorcycle can be fun – but it’s even better when it’s for a good cause. On Saturday, Oct. 1, riders will have the chance to make a difference for local kids at Miracle Ride 2016, from which all gifts and proceeds benefit Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals at CoxHealth. The 50-mile scenic ride begins in Springfield and travels through the Ozarks, is escorted by local law enforcement, and also includes the chance to win a 2014 Harley-Davidson XL 1200T Sportster, a 50/50 raffle, a bike show and bike wash.

The ride begins at 10:30 a.m., and starts from the American Legion Post 639 (2660 S. Scenic Ave., Springfield). Registration is $20 in advance or $25 the day of the ride. For more information or to register, call 417-551-4823 or visit

Prostate health info night scheduled for Sept. 15

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, so it’s a great opportunity for men to learn about prostate health – especially since, aside from skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in men. That’s why, on Sept. 15, CoxHealth will hold “Prostate Cancer Treatment: Your Options,” a panel presentation led by CoxHealth physicians. All men (and spouses/friends) are invited to come and learn more about options for dealing with prostate cancer should it arise.

“One in seven men will get diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime,” says Dr. Ibrahim “Abe” Abdalla, Oncology medical director  at CoxHealth. “Thankfully, there are many treatment options available and this program is to help men learn about the options and weigh the pros and cons of the different treatments. We want men to know that there are treatment options that will retain quality of life – but that prostate cancer must be addressed in a timely fashion for them to be most effective.”  
The evening will be led by Dr. Abdalla and urologist Dr. Andrew Schultz. After the presentation is over, there will be time for questions from the audience.

The event will be held at Cox South (3801 S. National Ave., Springfield) in Foster Auditorium at 6 p.m. Heavy appetizers will be served. It is free to attend. For more information or to register, please call 417-269-5224.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Interventional cardiologist joins Cox Heart Center Branson

Cox Medical Center Branson is pleased to announce that David Lemons, DO, has joined Cox Heart
Center Branson. Dr. Lemons specializes in interventional cardiology.

“As an interventional cardiologist, Dr. David Lemons has received extensive training, education and experience in minimally invasive procedures performed on the heart and arteries,” says Cox Medical Center Branson President William Mahoney. “We are incredibly fortunate to have someone of Dr. Lemons’ caliber joining our expert team of cardiologists here in Branson.”

Dr. Lemons took what some might consider a non-traditional route on his journey to the medical field. He grew up in Jefferson City and completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Missouri – Columbia, majoring in farm management. He’s worked for the National Guard’s environmental section, conducted fisheries research and worked in a veterinary clinic. While Dr. Lemons said he loves working outdoors and with cattle, he always dreamed about being in the medical field.

In 2009, Dr. Lemons received his Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine degree from Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine. He completed his internal medicine residency as well as his cardiology and interventional cardiology fellowships at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center.

“From the time I started med school, I was drawn to cardiology,” Dr. Lemons explains. “It’s an exciting field that is always evolving and has a lot of good research behind it. As I see it, it’s a field where I can truly impact the lives of my patients, from improving quality of life to life saving measures.”

Dr. Lemons is joined in Branson by his wife, Dr. Lisa Lemons, a psychiatrist who has also joined the Cox Medical Center Branson team. The couple has a 5-month old son, Charlie.

"Growing up, I vacationed here several times and I really liked the area,” Dr. David Lemons said. “Branson is a good town and I’ve heard a lot of great things about the quality of care at Cox Medical Center Branson. As physicians, those things were important to my wife and I when we were making our decision.”

When not working, Dr. David Lemons enjoys fishing, hiking and running.

Dr. Lemons is seeing patients at Cox Heart Center Branson. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 336-4112.

Free lunch and learn focuses on women’s health

‘It’s Time for You’ features Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner Kelli Gosch

Whether it’s caring for kids, grandkids or parents, women spend much of their time caring for others.

"As women, it is easy to put our own health on the back burner when we are so busy caring for others, but really, that is the last thing women should do,” says Women’s Health Care Nurse Practitioner Kelli Gosch, MSN, who sees patients at the Cox Medical Center Branson Women’s Center. 

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Gosch will be the featured speaker during It’s Time for You, a free lunch and learn event from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Tree Rooms at Cox Medical Center Branson, 525 Branson Landing Boulevard.

The lunch and learn is part of the 2016 Skaggs Foundation Speaker Series and is presented by Susan G. Komen Ozark and Skaggs Foundation. Gosch will present It’s Time for You again on Thursday, Oct. 20, at Bistro 58, located inside Vino Cellars at the Lake, 15038 Business Hwy. 13, in Branson West.

“During these free lunch and learns, I’ll be sharing important information about women’s health, from breast self-awareness, and what you need to know, to pelvic health, and why women no longer have to live with embarrassing issues,” says Gosch. “I want to empower women to change their attitudes about their health and show them the power of prevention.”

While the lunch and learns are free, reservations are required. RSVP by Sept. 23 for the event at Cox Medical Center Branson on Sept. 29 or RSVP by Oct. 13 for the event at Bistro 58 on Oct. 20. Call 348-8998 or email

Monday, September 12, 2016

Pink Door Thrift Store celebrating new location with open house Sept. 19

Free gifts for first 50 guests during event

Pink Door Thrift Store will celebrate its new location in Hollister with an open house on Monday, Sept.19. Activities get underway at 10 a.m. with a ribbon cutting ceremony courtesy of Hollister Area Chamber of Commerce. The first 50 guests (18 and over) will receive a free gift from Cox Medical Center Branson volunteers.

The open house, which runs until 4 p.m. that day, offers guests an opportunity to visit the Pink Door’s new location, enjoy some bargain hunting, meet Cox Medical Center Branson volunteers and take home a treat. The Pink Door is now located at 180 Mall Road in Hollister.

“Our new location in Hollister is absolutely wonderful,” says Christine Guise, president of Cox Medical Center Branson volunteers. “The Pink Door, now conveniently located between Lowes and Country Mart, features a beautiful open space inside and ample, level parking outside. While the space is new to us, we will continue to offer the same level of quality, gently used merchandise at great prices shoppers came to know at our former location.”

Guise said shoppers will also continue to find the same friendly service at the new location.

“The Pink Door is operated solely by volunteers – volunteers who love helping people and love supporting the hospital,” she said. “Proceeds from the Pink Door help fund important purchases and projects for Cox Medical Center Branson as well as help us provide seven $1,000 scholarships every year to local students pursuing careers in health care.”

Thanks to funds raised at the Pink Door as well as at a volunteer-run gift shop, Cox Medical Center Branson volunteers have purchased wheelchairs for the hospital, equipment for the fitness center and cancer center and much more. In addition to the purchases, Cox Medical Center Branson’s dedicated group of volunteers have committed $250,000 over the next five years to help fund the emergency department and critical care unit expansion.

The Pink Door has a double mission: support local health care and provide a place where people can find great prices on items they want and need.

Normal business hours at the Pink Door are Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

CoxHealth employees: Join us for Fall Fest on Saturday, Sept. 10

Fall Fest is happening this Saturday at Silver Dollar City! Be sure to check your packets for your tickets & wristbands and get ready for this incredible day including:

• 5 Hours of Exclusive Ride Time (8:30-9:30 a.m. & 6-10 p.m.)
• Bingo, Family Feud, Live Band & Dance Party
• Exclusive Food & Merchandise Discounts

Plus - you can upgrade your event ticket to a Silver Dollar City Season Pass for just $30+tax!

Season Pass upgrades are available at CoxHealth Headquarters in the Opera House or the Rentals Booth just inside the front gate. You must present wristband for easy identification.

In addition to an exciting day of fun on 40+ rides & attractions, your Fall Fest ticket also include a night full of fun including:

• 6 p.m.: Concert from the country music icons Lonestar in the Echo Hollow Amphitheater at 6 p.m.
• 6-10 p.m.: Exclusive ride time on all of your favorite rides & attractions
• 8-10 p.m.: Put on your dancing shoes and join our Street Troupe for a dance party featuring all of your favorites like the Electric Slide, YMCA, the Chicken Dance, and Cotton-Eyed Joe!

See the full details, a schedule of events and downloadable event guides at this link. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

CoxHealth Pharmacy adds delivery service for busy employees

Susan Smith, director of the Breast Care Clinic in Hulston Cancer Center, knows how difficult it can be to find time out of our busy workdays to pick up prescriptions at the pharmacy. Even though there’s a CoxHealth retail pharmacy next door in Wheeler Heart & Vascular Center, finding time and remembering to complete the task is a challenge.

“My husband will order a refill of his blood pressure medication online and ask me to pick it up,” says Susan. “You get busy with your day, and unless I write myself a note, I can forget to pick it up and sometimes two or three days go by, and there’s my husband without his medication!”

Dr. Ghazanfar Qureshi of the Case Management team, has a similar issue.

“Doctors can make lousy patients. I’m always running out of medications,” says Dr. Qureshi. “My wife asks if I’ve ordered my meds and she ends up calling the pharmacy, but by the time I can get to the pharmacy, it’s closed.”

One day, Dr. Qureshi was at the CoxHealth Pharmacy in Ferrell-Duncan Clinic and told pharmacist Mary Ann Bennett that he wished there was a tunnel across Primrose so he didn’t have to drive over to get his medications.

“She told me I could have my medications delivered to me in my office and I said, ‘You’re kidding!’ This is an excellent service.”

Both Dr. Qureshi and Susan are among the many satisfied customers of the new free prescription medication delivery service for CoxHealth personnel announced recently by CoxHealth’s retail pharmacy, which as of Aug. 1 changed its name from Convenient Care Pharmacy to CoxHealth Pharmacy.

“We know our time at work is valuable,” says Ryan Baker, Pharmacy Ambulatory Care Director. “This free delivery service to our CoxHealth colleagues helps us with the work-life balance and lets more people take advantage of the savings available with the system’s retail pharmacy. For Cox HealthPlans members, we guarantee the lowest co-pays on your prescriptions.”

The delivery service is available in Springfield and Branson. You can call one of the pharmacy locations and request delivery at work. Just give them one day’s notice to complete the request. Pay over the phone with your Medical Flex card, Healthy Living HRA card or credit card.

In Springfield, if you work late hours or overnight, the pharmacy offers a central site pickup using Cox South inpatient pharmacy, which is available 24/7.

The CoxHealth Pharmacy also accepts refill orders online at from your desktop or you can download the free RefillRx Mobile app from your Android or Apple phones by searching the App Store or Google Play.

At Cox Monett, there is already a process for free delivery of refill prescriptions to employees’ homes when those prescriptions are prepaid. Refills may be mailed out to the employee if they are prepaid, refills remain on the prescription and the prescription is not being filled too soon based on insurance. Monett employees may also pick up prescriptions 8 a.m. – 3:45 p.m. in the pharmacy located on the hospital’s second floor.

Staffers eager to welcome international nurses

Teams are excited about the international nurses project, which helps us keep pace with growth.

As we prepare for the arrival of the first nurses in our international nursing program, leaders say the new staff members will be key to CoxHealth’s continued expansion.

“A nursing shortage is facing the United States, and we must try new solutions to fill the gap,” says Karen Kramer, chief nursing officer. “We always want to supply the health care that our community needs, and we feel that bringing nurses to us is a good way of doing that.”

CoxHealth is still actively recruiting local nurses and health care professionals, and this project won’t replace traditional recruitment efforts.

“The need for nurses is only going to continue to grow,” says Kramer. “Supporting that need through international hires doesn’t solve the problem, but it does allow us to greater support our patients.”

Kim Cash, administrative director of nursing, has led the project, working with planning, recruiting and developing customized onboarding for the first nurses.

Nurse educator Sarah Gamble was on the team that participated in Skype interviews with the first nurses who will be arriving in the coming months. She was immediately impressed with the candidates.

“These nurses have a lot of clinical experience, they just need to learn how we do things in the U.S. and here at CoxHealth,” Gamble says.

“I was blown away. Most of them have been nurses longer than most of us in the education department,” she says. The team saw nurses with more than 10 years of experience in a variety of areas who were excited about practicing in the U.S.

New nurses will attend systemwide orientation and then spend time dedicated to learning computer systems and working hands-on with equipment in our simulation labs. After the orientation, which lasts about three weeks, the nurses will join nursing floors and work alongside a peer mentor for six weeks.

Mentors are currently being trained and staff members are eager to get started with their new colleagues. Nurse managers like Stacey Cannon say their teams are looking forward to the energy their new co-workers will bring

“They’re excited! The international nurses are doing a lot of things on their end to get to the states to get to work here at CoxHealth,” Cannon says. “For our staff to see how much they want to be here, just makes them more excited to have them as co-workers.”

Katie Lane, nurse manager on 800 West, agrees.

“They’re very passionate about being bedside nurses and they really portrayed that in their interviews,” she says. “They are very excited to be here, this is the big leagues to them.”

Two of the first group of nurses will join 800 West and Lane says the team is ready to welcome them with open arms.

“We work really hard to make 8 West and the Jared Neuroscience Center more than co-workers – more like a family,” she says. “The staff understand that we can get them here, but it’s up to us to welcome them and get them to stay. We really hope we can bring them into our family.”

Gamble says it’s impressive to see the commitment of nurses who have worked to come to the United States.

“You don’t just decide you want to be a nurse in the U.S. It’s years of work to get to this point,” she says. “People want to build a life; that’s a huge boon to our organization.”

International nursing facts

While recruiting internationally is not widespread in the Midwest, hospitals across the United States have done so for the past 50 years.

Foreign-educated nurses work through a rigorous process to achieve a nursing license in the United States. Their transcripts are examined and they must pass the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools Certification Program (CGFNS) as well as pass the NCLEX.

• In the Philippines, there are only BSN programs and the curriculum matches closely that of the U.S.
• Even though English is an official language in the Philippines, nurses must still pass an English proficiency exam.
• The nurses are paid a prevailing wage, which is set by the Department of Labor. This wage is comparable to the rate a CoxHealth nurse earns.

Part of an ongoing recruitment effort

We’re working hard to keep the best nurses in our system and since 2014, CoxHealth has increased the minimum nursing pay by 7.95%, which outpaces the average statewide increase of about 3.5% in the same timeframe. We’re also offering tuition reimbursement and loan forgiveness to our nurses. Talent Acquisition currently has outreach efforts with 38 schools. We have also expanded the Global Float pool and created additional support positions.

'All anyone wants is a chance'

Claudin Victorio has spent the last few months working as a patient care tech in CoxHealth’s Urgent Care. Years ago, she had worked as a nurse in her native Philippines and she’s currently studying for her NCLEX exam so she can begin practicing here. 

Claudin Victorio has seen firsthand the challenges and immense rewards of starting a career, and a life, in the United States.

When Claudin Victorio heard that a new project will bring 100 highly qualified international nurses – many from her native Philippines – to CoxHealth, she was thrilled.

She knows what it’s like to be a nurse with a dream of practicing in the United States. She’s experienced the power of starting anew in the U.S. and she’s excited to see others share that opportunity.

“There’s a saying in the Philippines that once you get to the U.S., you will want to kneel and kiss the ground,” she says. “That’s how badly people want to be here. I spent 27 years of my life in the Philippines. I have my friends there. I don’t have kids, but I have my nieces and nephews. I decided to leave all that and take a chance.”

Claudin arrived in the United States a year and a half ago. Through her extended family, she made a connection with a woman who had lived the dream she was hoping to achieve for herself.

Marivic Fernandez, who immigrated from the Philippines in the 1970s, had built a career at CoxHealth. When she connected with Claudin, she encouraged her to consider coming to Springfield.

Claudin, known as “Claud” to her friends, took her advice. In Springfield, she soon found a job, and a mentor in Marivic.

Back home, Claud had earned her bachelor’s degree and worked as a nurse. Nursing salaries are low in the Philippines – the degree provides an income that covers basic needs, but it can be difficult to save for the future.

So, Claud had left the medical field and spent eight years in the more lucrative world of banking, both to support herself and help her nieces and nephews. All the while, she knew she would return to nursing and come to the U.S. if she had the chance.

Marivic is in the unique position of understanding exactly what Claud is going through. In 1979, she left the Philippines to work with an international nursing agency. She had job offers in Zambia, Iran and West Plains, Mo. The other positions offered more money, but they paled in comparison with the United States.

At age 21, Marivic arrived in Missouri, alone and thousands of miles away from her family and friends. During her one-year contract in West Plains, she met a colleague from Burge School of Nursing, now Cox College, who helped her get a foot in the door at CoxHealth.

“Springfield was such a great community for me,” she says. “I liked the warmth of Springfieldians.”

She worked as a float nurse and in Med-Surg, before finding her calling in a dialysis unit.

“I liked the patients and it became a joy just to report to work. It was truly my home.”

From hearing Marivic’s stories, Claud knew CoxHealth was where she wanted to be. Since she was coming on her own, rather than through an international nursing agency, she was responsible for transferring her own credentials and passing the NCLEX. With credentials in hand, she’s working as a patient care tech in the Urgent Care. Now, with help from Nursing Administration, she’s preparing to take the NCLEX so she can return to nursing full time.

“CoxHealth has given me more than just a salary, they gave me a chance I’ve never had – something I’d wanted to have eight years ago,” she says. “I’ll always be thankful because of this chance.”

Marivic says those chances can be life-changing. In the 1980s, she worked her way up in dialysis, eventually serving as assistant nurse manager. It was on the dialysis unit that she met her husband, nephrologist Dr. Gary Kell. When Dr. Kell’s mother became ill, Marivic left her nursing role to care for her. She and Dr. Kell also began volunteering their time to help Filipinos who were new to the U.S.

“Because of my experience, I always wished I had a family that could show me the ropes and who could have been there when I was homesick or lonely,” Marivic says. “I made a conscious effort to help Filipinos who would come my way.”

Claud says the support from Marivic and Dr. Kell has been a driving force for her.

“I call them my parents,” she says. Dr. Kell encouraged her to pursue nursing and he reminded her that anything is possible. “He inspires me every time I talk to him, he’s my superman. At some point I want to become a doctor because of him.”

They strongly recommended CoxHealth, and Claud says the support she’s received here makes it clear why.

“I love it here – and I love the teamwork!” she says. “Melody (Smith) is the first nurse at Cox who believed in me and opened the door for me to do this. After I take the NCLEX, I want to work in Urgent Care because of the chance she gave me.”

While Claud works toward the nursing exam, her brother, Clyde, has also joined the CoxHealth team as he prepares to enter an associate’s program for nursing. Marivic says there’s no better place to begin a long-term career.

“Cox is where I had all of my professional growth. I tell people, if you stay with CoxHealth, you will grow with CoxHealth,” she says. “CoxHealth is a very solid company and they’re great employers.”

CoxHealth has always taken innovative approaches and the international nursing project is just the latest example of how we grow our workforce. The project supports our patients and colleagues, and it creates a powerful opportunity for the nurses who will soon call Springfield home.

“People don’t understand that by coming here, we now have a chance,” Claud says. She points out that in the Philippines, home ownership is rare, cars are status symbols and retirement planning is out of reach for most of the population. Having a stable income and the ability to plan for the future is an empowering experience.

For Claud, seeing the life Marivic and Dr. Kell have built is a daily inspiration to achieve her dreams. Once you’ve lived it, Claud says you can’t help but cheer for other hard-working nurses who are dedicated to pursuing the American dream.

“The nurses coming to CoxHealth will have a chance for a good future. I’m just happy that they have a chance. That’s all anyone wants, a chance.”

Friday, September 2, 2016

Freedom from Smoking classes starting soon

Scholarships available for those who qualify

Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S., accounting for more than 480,000 deaths every year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports. People who stop smoking can greatly reduce their risk for disease and early death.

To help those who are ready to quit, Cox Medical Center Branson has five Freedom from Smoking classes starting in September with morning, afternoon and evening times available as well as classes in Branson, Branson West and Crane.

“Our tobacco cessation program merges the best of the American Lung Association, which is the gold standard in Freedom from Smoking, with the incredible council you get from the Mayo Clinic and their certification program,” says Mayo Clinic Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist Jim Brawner.

The course includes eight sessions.

“The fourth class is our quit day,” Brawner explains. “Because the fourth session is so critical, the class meets again 48 hours after quit day for our fifth session. We spend the first three weeks training people how to quit and the last three weeks is teaching them how to stay quit. The program works. We’ve seen a lot of lives change throughout the past three years since we have been offering it.”

The class is $95 and includes materials and nicotine replacement therapies. Scholarships are available.

Brawner also offers a corporate class to businesses that would like to make Freedom from Smoking classes available to their employees.

Call Jim Brawner at 348-8498 or email to register or learn more.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

CoxHealth breaks ground on new Marshfield clinic

CoxHealth Center Marshfield is moving – and growing. Ground has broken on a new clinic, located at 1245 Banning St. in Marshfield, to serve a growing need for Webster County residents. The clinic will have 10,400 square feet of space – more than tripling the size of its current facility.

“Since our first clinic in Marshfield was established more than 20 years ago, we have seen the need in the community grow considerably,” says David Taylor, corporate vice president at CoxHealth. “This new facility will provide for the growth that has and continues in and around the community, and offers greater access to our patients.”  

The new facility will provide 18 rooms for patient care. Its current providers – Wm. Shannon Kelly, MD, Jennifer Aldridge, FNP, and Anna Dryer, FNP – can continue to grow their practices and allow for the addition of four other individuals, bringing the total number to seven. The facility will also be designed to accommodate specialists that may periodically see patients at the clinic, and there will be space that may be utilized for local health education programs.

The clinic will also encompass CoxHealth’s growing telemedicine program by offering patients remote diagnosis and consultative services via digital communications.

The facility is slated to be completed in the spring of 2017.