Saint Francis provides opportunities for nurses to grow across its health system. Photos provided.

This summer will mark 20 years Christy Pisarra, MHA/Edu, BSN, CCRN-K, has been with Saint Francis Health System. Over those two decades, she’s watched the Catholic, not-for-profit health system grow and expand offerings for those who need it the most.
As the Acute Care Director of Patient Care Services, Pisarra says Saint Francis nurses have a passion for their mission that should be celebrated every day of the year.
“I’ve worked in each corner of the hospital and watched as Saint Francis has grown, adding other hospitals in south Tulsa, Muskogee and Vinita, expanded facilities for Children’s and Trauma services,” Pisarra said. “It’s part of what I love about what we do here. Every time we grow we offer more for our community.” That means opportunities for nurses as well: opportunities to expand their skills and explore new possibilities all within a hospital system that’s focused on providing excellent care.
After 20 years, Pisarra couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.
“The people I work with and the culture of excellence,” Pisarra said, are what keeps nurses like her at Saint Francis. “The people I work with are like family. The mission of Saint Francis Health System – to extend the presence and healing ministry of Christ in all we do – matches what many of us feel is our personal calling, to care for patients. Now my role is to support our amazing caregivers who are providing excellent care for our patients, that brings great joy.”
Saint Francis is a Catholic health system wholly governed and operated in Tulsa, Oklahoma whose mission is to extend the presence and healing ministry of Christ to all who seek its services. The health system is anchored by Saint Francis Hospital, a 1,112-bed tertiary center, which includes the region’s only children’s hospital and Level IV neonatal intensive care unit, a 168-bed heart hospital, and Tulsa’s leading trauma and emergency center. Additionally, Saint Francis employs more than 450 providers through Warren Clinic, which serves the region with more than 95 locations throughout eastern Oklahoma. In total, the organization has more than 10,000 employees, 1,000 physicians, and hundreds of volunteers, making it the largest private employer in Tulsa County.
“There’s that connection with the mission of what we do and the chance to care for the sickest or most vulnerable in our region,” Pisarra said. “We work as a team. Most people stay here because they enjoy the work they do and the people they have the chance to serve alongside with. Saint Francis has caregivers who have been here over 30 years. They’ve found a home and are rewarded as they work with our patients.”
Pisarra knows that nurses have been through so much over the last two years. With Covid-19, staffing and supply issues, the pressure on nursing has been tremendous. “We tell them, and the organization is also trying to show them with new initiatives that are coming out to help care for them as individuals. We care about their well-being,” Pisarra said. “We are investing in our employees and are interested in what we can do to make the workplace better.” Pisarra said the health system is embarking on a number of listening sessions designed to elicit feedback on what ideas nurses have to improve recruitment, retention, and increasing patient safety. Providing meaningful recognition and gratitude remain the hallmarks of showing appreciation.
Staff have the opportunity to send a personal note of gratitude to another team member,” Pisarra said. “We celebrate caregivers going the extra mile (GEM) and do try to highlight that on a larger scale with monthly GEM awards.”
“I know our nurses come to work and do meaningful work every day, it’s very special and important work.”
“To each of our nurses, please know that we say thank you for embodying the Saint Francis mission. Your work is vitally important and during this year’s nurse’s month we hope that you recognize the value of who you are to each of your patient’s stories.”
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