“If you can impact [team members’] everyday health and wellness, then you can impact how they feel at work and how they feel at home. If we’re satisfying those daily needs, those daily healthcare needs, and we can do that onsite, then they feel valued. They feel their health is valued, and that their time is valued.”
Barbara Chandler, nurse manager at our 54th Street facility in Enid, Okla., believes in the power of holistic wellness and healthcare. In her role, she supports 1500 team members and oversees a team of five nurses, two medical support staff, and an athletic trainer. And since Tyson Foods is the second largest employer in her area, she knows the impact she and her team can have.
“As an occupational health nurse, we’re not just passing out band-aids and hugs. It’s so much more than that,” Barbara says. “That wellness piece is important because we touch so many people here in Garfield County.”
Barbara joined Tyson Foods after spending 15 years in the NICU (Newborn Intensive Care Unit) and labor and delivery. Educating women on their health needs has always been a passion of hers.
“I love educating women. I love educating everyone, but I love educating women especially because we have a high population of women team members here.”
That’s why Barbara brought a mammogram bus to her plant.
With healthcare providers being limited in the area, Barbara knew many of her team members had probably never had mammograms, or knew they were needed. And she wanted to bring that access right to them, to make it as easy as possible. She contacted the University of Oklahoma’s Health Center and arranged for the OU Medicine Mobile Mammography Coach to visit the plant.
Depending on the number of techs, the mammography bus sees 40-60 patients over its two-day visit. It’s a simple walk on, walk off process – meaning there’s a minimal disruption to a team member’s day. Instead of taking time off work, Barbara says, team members can go right out to the parking lot.
Early detection is key in beating breast cancer, and mammograms provide the most effective screening. Each year, a couple of scans taken at the plant are flagged for follow up. Barbara recalls a team member coming to her months after her scan, expressing gratitude for giving her a better chance at life.
“That team member had to go through treatment. But she completed it and rang the bell at the end and is now back at work with no restrictions.” All because of the mammogram bus.
The bus visits Enid every February, and Barbara plans to continue bringing more health access to the plant through larger healthcare fairs.
Her next mission is increasing opportunities for dental care. So many team members, she says, don’t know the dental health benefits available to them, and that care goes beyond routine cleanings and checks.
“The number one cause for preterm labor is dental infection,” she says.
The biggest thing for women, Barbara says, is taking advantage of preventative care and consistent health checks. Because women’s health is family health, too.
“We touch families,” Barbara says. “[Tyson Foods nurses] don’t just touch team members, but we touch their families, too. That person who got that mammogram – in a small way, I touched her life. I didn’t save her life, and Tyson didn’t save her life, but together we touched a family, and now her husband and her children get to enjoy her. It’s about families.”