Jodi Tracy, BSN, RN, CNOR, RNFA is waiting for her daughter to return from a year-long mission trip. Inset: Katie Tracy is racing around the world sharing the gospel on a unique mission trip.

story and photo by Mike Lee

Jodi Tracy, BSN, RN, grew up in the tiny Oklahoma panhandle community of Sharon-Mutual, two towns that together might have 200 people on a Saturday night.
For her entire adult life the Oklahoma Heart Hospital South nurse has lived in Oklahoma City. Her comfort zone is here and probably always will be.
So imagine her surprise when 23-year-old daughter Katie informed her that she was selling her car and possessions to finance a trip that would take her around the world.
And not only would she be traveling to a new country every month but she would be spending the majority of her time working in some of the neediest and most dire spots on the globe.
“I struggled with her going. God and I had to talk about it a lot,” Tracy said of her daughter’s year-long mission trip. “She graduated from college in December and left in January. She’s done some great things. People say she’s going to come back a different person. I kind of like her the way she is.”
This year Tracy became the director of surgical services at Oklahoma Heart Hospital South after serving as the manager of surgery since the facility opened more than five years ago.
It was also the year she let her daughter go out into the world in a way most parents would never imagine.
Tracy’s daughter is on a mission trip known as the The World Race.
“It’s kind of a race to take the gospel to all parts of the world,” Tracy said. “They are gone for a year and go to 11 different countries.”
Racers spend about a month in each community performing different ministry work.
The transition to parenting an adult has been difficult at times for Tracy.
Katie spent time in Nepal helping rebuild a church that was damaged by an earthquake.
“She was there working on that church when the second earthquake happened, which was a very trying time for mom,” Tracy said. “She’s off doing all these things and I grew up in very small northern Oklahoma and didn’t have a lot of world view.”
But seeing her daughter stretched and growing in so many ways has been rewarding.
She was even able to join up with her daughter over the summer in Thailand to do some ministry work together.
For Tracy, her ministry has been much closer to home.
“My day is filled with making sure the surgical patients are taken care of to the best of my ability and the surgery schedule flows,” Tracy said.
Tracy opened the building more than five years ago. Today it draws patients from all around.
“It’s been exciting, overwhelming, fun and crazy,” she said. “I knew a lot of people at the North campus … and what their vision was for that hospital. So when they were going to open this one I thought they had all the processes down and we would just take it and plop it down here.
“It was a little naive thinking on my part.” Tracy has helped guide the South campus through its addition of complex spine surgery patients, services the North campus does not provide.
She sees her accomplishments every day.
“The team that I’ve built. I’m very proud of my team,” Tracy said of her biggest accomplishment. “I’ve never worked anywhere where I’ve felt so empowered to really impact our processes and to do what we can do to take care of our patients here.
“The leadership team we all really work together great, much more so than any other place I’ve worked.”
Tracy is proud of how the hospital has invested in the community through tutoring and mentoring programs.
“We’ve worked hard to integrate in the community around us,” she said. “It does feel good when you leave here and stop at Lowe’s or somewhere and someone says ‘Oh, you work at Oklahoma Heart.’
“To have that sense of pride to wear that kind of marquee brand is something I’m proud of at church and in the community.”
Tracy is in her 27th year of nursing. She received her associates at Oklahoma State and her bachelor’s at Southwestern Oklahoma State University.”
And while she has no idea what her daughter may be doing in five years, Tracy is pretty sure of her own future.
“Same thing I’m doing right now,” she said. “I feel like I’ve invested my heart and soul, lot of sweat and tears here. I see myself retiring from here. I can’t imagine there’s any place in town I’d rather go work.”


Inset: Katie Tracy is racing around the world sharing the gospel on a unique mission trip.