OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Fallin has appointed Pam Spanbauer, registered nurse, to the Physician Manpower Training Commission (PMTC), a seven-member board committed to enhancing medical care in rural and underserved areas of the state.
“We are pleased that Governor Fallin appointed Pam to serve as a board member of the Physician Manpower Training Commission. Over the long history of the Commission there has never been a member who has represented the hospital setting,” said Rick Ernest, PMTC executive director. “Mrs. Spanbauer’s experience in the health field and especially in the area of nursing will be a tremendous asset to the Commission as we continue to assist in producing the most qualified medical and health personnel to serve the citizens of Oklahoma, especially rural Oklahoma.”
Spanbauer has experience in metro and rural hospital settings, currently serving as Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City executive director of patient care services. In her early years in medicine, she traveled across Oklahoma as an emergency medicine technician, in an ambulance. Specifically, she went to rural hospitals to pick up babies who needed to be transported to a neonatal intensive care unit at a bigger hospital.
“I always felt bad for the moms we had to leave behind,” said Spanbauer. “What I’ve learned over the years is we’ve got to find a way to help patients stay closer to home. When they leave home, they leave their support system and come to a place where they don’t know anyone. Even if their families can leave home to visit them at the hospital, the family is left trying to pay for hotels, food and travel. Patients worry about their families and they don’t need that stress while they’re trying to recover.”
As a registered nurse, Spanbauer has seen first-hand evidence of the need to equip rural hospitals with the technology that providers need to give patients the best care possible.
“I’ve listened to the frustrations of nurses and doctors who want to serve the rural communities they love, but who move to larger cities to work,” said Spanbauer. “I’m excited to be a part of this Commission, because we are going to find ways to address health care needs in rural Oklahoma. My role at Mercy will help me bring solutions to the table, based on successes Mercy has had helping rural hospitals take advantage of technology, like telemedicine and electronic health records, to better meet their community’s health needs.”
Spanbauer, a Mercy co-worker for 27 years, previously served as director of nursing and nurse manager at Mercy Hospital Oklahoma City. She earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing from Central State University and her Master of Education in adult education from the University of Central Oklahoma.
The Commission is made up of seven members appointed by the Governor. Five must be practicing physicians and two are non-physicians. Commission members serve five year terms and must be confirmed by the state Senate. Spanbauer will serve a five-year term, ending June 5, 2016.
About Mercy: Mercy is the sixth largest Catholic health care system in the U.S. and serves more than 3 million people annually. Mercy includes 31 hospitals, more than 200 outpatient facilities, 38,000 co-workers and 1,600 integrated physicians in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma. Mercy also has outreach ministries in Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. For more about Mercy, visit www.mercy.net.
About Physician Manpower Training Commission: The MISSION of the Physician Manpower Training Commission is to enhance medical care in rural and underserved areas of the state by administering residency, internship and scholarship incentive programs that encourage medical and nursing personnel to establish practices in rural and underserved areas. Further, PMTC is to upgrade the availability of health care services by increasing the number of practicing physicians, nurses and physician assistants in rural and underserved areas of Oklahoma.