Fran Masters is the voice of the teaching manikin in the OCCC nursing school skills lab.
Projecting her message through the lifelike patient simulator, she plays the role of patients needing medical care, so students can assess their needs and respond appropriately.
A retired nurse of 32 years who has worked in veterans hospitals in five different states, Masters said she has seen a lot of different patients.
Some could communicate clearly and some couldn’t communicate at all, leaving the nurse to figure out what to do based on other sources of information, such as medical charts and test results.
When teaching her lab students, Masters has to evaluate their responses to the medical situation to see if it shows good nursing skills.
Ever since she was a girl growing up in El Reno, Masters said, she knew she wanted to become a nurse.
When she was a senior at El Reno High School, she had the opportunity to get into the medical field by taking vocational classes and working in the hospital there as a lab and X-ray technician.
“I decided that was not my bag and that nursing was definitely what I wanted to do,” she said.
Masters began her nursing career in 1968 at the Oklahoma Veterans Hospital. Her husband, Joe, joined the Air Force and was transferred to Biloxi, Miss., for tech school.
When Joe got his regular assignment, they moved to Denver for two years.
After that, they moved back to Oklahoma. All the while Fran accompanied her husband, she was taking care of America’s veterans.
When her husband began working for the federal prison system, they transferred to Philadelphia.
Masters worked in the Philadelphia Veterans Hospital where she experienced a bit of a culture shock.
“I screwed up so many Italian names that it wasn’t even funny,” she said.
Fran and Joe were in Philadelphia for the Bicentennial Celebration in 1976 before moving back to Oklahoma later that year.
Masters finished her nursing career in 2001 at the Oklahoma Veterans Hospital. That is when she and her husband went on another adventure. After reading the journals of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1804, the couple organized a road trip to follow the historic trail.
From Kansas City, the couple set off in a 35-foot Winnebago with a 1999 Mustang convertible tow car.
They followed the trail and stopped at every exposition center along the way to Seattle, where they met their daughters.
After only nine months of retirement, Masters said she grew bored, so she began work at the University of Oklahoma Medical Center in the education department.
When the pace became too fast for her desired schedule, a friend recommended that she check out the OCCC nursing program. That is when Masters made the change.
Masters has worked at OCCC since 2008. Since then she has been using her passion for caring for others to mold the future nurses of Oklahoma.
“I just love being with the students,” Masters said. “That is the nicest thing about being a nurse — you can do a million different things.”