Therapist, department director set to retire
WESTON – Respiratory therapist Diane Ocheltree is retiring from Mon Health Stonewall Jackson Memorial Hospital (SJMH) after 43 years of service.
Ocheltree has been the Respiratory Department Director since 1992. She will be missed dearly by her staff and coworkers.
“Ms. Ocheltree has over 40 years of service to our institution and we are very happy to have been able to work with her for many years,” said Kevin Stalnaker, Chief Operating Officer at SJMH. “Diane recently led the way in our successful accreditation of our Sleep Lab. Her many years as a Respiratory Therapist allowed her to have keen insight into leading her department. We will truly miss Diane but wish her the very best in retirement.”
Ocheltree began her career in healthcare in July 1978 at SJMH as an EKG Technician, where she was the first to perform EEGs and Holter monitors there. In 1996, she helped develop Stonewall Home Oxygen Company (SHOT) and served as the Clinical/Marketing Specialist. She evaluated durable medical equipment, clinical issues, and provided staff competencies.
Ocheltree received her degree from California College of Health Sciences in 1983 and received her associate degree in 1996. Diane passed the Registry for Respiratory Care in 2006 and received her Sleep Specialty Disorder credential in 2016. Diane has published two articles — one in AARC Magazine and the other in Advances for Respiratory Care. She also previously served as the President of Chapter 7 of the West Virginia Society of Respiratory Care.
“When I started in healthcare, we used the beds that you had to crank to elevate, metal bedpans, and other non-disposable items. Now, we use mostly disposable elements which are much better for the patient,” Ocheltree recalled. “Equipment has also changed. I had to transmit EKGs over the telephone to receive a reading, now the equipment reads it, then transmits it to the patient’s chart through Wi-Fi. I have seen so many changes and all for the good of the patient to ensure we provide quality care to everyone.”
Ocheltree served on many SJMH committees and worked on patient and staff safety issues. She was an active member of the ICU, trauma, medication, risk, safety, emergency management, and P&T committees. She educated staff on respiratory care and nursing-related subjects for all areas of the hospital, along with being active in the pursuit of Joint Commission excellence.
Ocheltree is an adjunct faculty member for Pierpont’s respiratory program and a member of The National Board for Respiratory Care, the American Association for Respiratory Care, and the State Society for Respiratory Care. She represented SJMH on the Lewis County United Way Board and was a co-coordinator for the SJMH Relay for Life team – the Stonewall Warriors. Outside of work, Ocheltree enjoys the outdoors, traveling, visiting with family, and shopping.
“My faith is a very important part of my life, always being thankful that my Lord is with me every day,” she concluded. “I have always said life is about the choices we make, so choose wisely and nothing is impossible. I will miss my SJMH family.”
Ocheltree will be honored with a reception on April 26 at the Hospital.