Ryan Dunphy, RN, accepts challenges by turning them into success as MDS coordinator for Willow Creek Nursing Home and rehabilitation center in Guthrie.

by James Coburn
Staff Writer

Ryan Dunphy is a registered nurse with quite a bit of flexibility.
“I can’t say I’m attracted to any certain field other than the career field of nursing itself,” said Dunphy, RN, MDS coordinator, Willow Creek Nursing Home in Guthrie. “It covers so many spans. To me patient care is patient care. I think a nurse should be able to take care of a newborn baby, a pregnant woman, someone with mental health issues, someone that’s elderly, some one that’s middle age, teenagers. I think it’s all the same and you should approach it with confidence.”
Dunphy conducts assessments of patient care that he submits to the federal government in order to comply with regulations for Medicare and Medicaid. Care plans are sent on a quarterly basis detailing when a resident has a change in status. Any changes among the residents’ care plans must be documented efficiently, said Dunphy, who has been a registered nurse for three years since graduating from Rose State College. He has been with Willow Creek since February of this year.
He previously worked at St. Anthony in Shawnee as well as Deaconess Hospital in Oklahoma City where he worked in the emergency departments.
Dunphy said he had a good vibe with the management of Willow Creek when he applied to work there. He thought it would be a good change of pace for him to move from Oklahoma City to Guthrie.
“So far it’s been wonderful with the people that I’ve met here,” he said. “Our administrator is a great gal to work for. But to me, it doesn’t really matter what I’m doing as far as nursing is concerned.”
Willow Creek is owned by the Chappell family, who also owns other nursing homes and assisted living centers as well as an apartment complex that their employees often choose for their residences.
“They make it really easy,” he said of his plan to move to Guthrie. “I’m kind of a part time dad.”
Dunphy had just started a family around 2008 when the economy crashed. He thought it was a good time to find a more stable career. He was married with a 4-year-old child.
“I was working with a friend, and I watched his company dissolve right before my eyes,” he explained. “We went from 30 employees to all of the sudden, three or four.”
He saw the writing on the wall and knew he must do something to provide for his family. Previously in his life, Dunphy had been a medic in the U.S, Air Force at the age of 19, He had always thought about going to nursing school and had worked with nurses.
“I thought I would just give it a try. I enrolled at Rose State and started going to school. And once I enrolled, I went full time straight through for three and a half years,” Dunphy said.
He didn’t take summers off. Dunphy did part time work and did his internship at Children’s Hospital in Oklahoma City.
“Finally I got done and immediately had four job offers,” he said. “Right away I could tell it was the right decision. I had no idea how hard it was going to be. The learning curve of going straight to school and doing ER was pretty humbling. It’s amazing what you don’t know coming out of school.”
At first Dunphy worked as a charge nurse at Willow Creek for about five months. An LPN can also be an MDS nurse, but they cannot sign off on the reports. A registered nurse is required to sign off on the documentation.
He is one of two RNs who act as MDS coordinators. She has one side of the building and Dunphy has the other side. He was familiar with how the nursing home software works as well as patient care.
“They thought I’d be a good fit. It turned out really well,” he said.
He admires the level of care the nursing staff shows to the residents. He would tell anybody with concerns about putting a loved one in a nursing home, he would feel confident about having a parent live there.
“If you ever go into a room with Laura our administrator or Ashley, the director of nursing; you will see how they care for these people,” he said. “They care about them the way they do their family.”