Cheryl Welch headshot

Editor’s Note: McKnight’s Senior Living, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Home Care are profiling the McKnight’s 2022 Women of Distinction honorees daily July 5 through Aug. 10. For additional McKnight’s Women of Distinction content, visit this page.

Years ago, when staff members at Grace Skilled Nursing and Therapy in Norman, OK, sought advice on pain management or infection control, they were instructed to “give Cheryl a call.” This is because Cheryl Welch always had a great perspective on care.

Now, serving as director of clinical services for Bridges Health, she oversees the staff members of 33 skilled nursing and therapy facilities throughout Oklahoma.

Her peers say the position is important to Welch, who throughout her career has put an emphasis on the significance of educating and building relationships with the next generation of caregivers.

“Cheryl is known for consistently searching for creative ways to give back, but particularly in the area of the development of future clinical leaders within the long-term care industry,” said Bridges Health Director of Human Resources and Communication LeeAnna McNally.

“Cheryl sees an even greater need to grow future nurses through innovative programs like the director of nursing in training,” she said.

Before Welch became involved in long-term care, she worked as an HR supervisor for a North Texas municipality. When her grandfather needed care, she moved to Norman to look after him, a switch that ultimately would result in her beginning a career in long-term care.

After working as a licensed practical nurse, MDS coordinator and director of nursing at Grace Skilled Nursing and Therapy, and then becoming a registered nurse, she moved to Bridges Health to be director of medicare reimbursement.

Welch was pivotal to Bridges Health’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. She helped develop a system that provided real-time information updates as the long-term care industry across the country began to learn more about the disease.

She also was at the forefront of the reopening process as facilities reunited residents and families together in person in a safe setting. 

“Throughout her career at Bridges Health, Cheryl Welch has been a leader with a true servant’s heart,” McNally said.

The McKnight’s Women of Distinction program is jointly administered by McKnight’s Senior Living, McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Home Care. The program’s Diamond sponsor is PointClickCare. Silver sponsors include OnShift and PharMerica, and the Bronze sponsor is Reliant Rehabilitation. Table sponsors included Dreamscape, Gojo/Purell and Sound Physicians.

Visit these web pages to see lists of the 2022 honorees: Rising StarsVeteran VIPsHall of HonorLifetime Achievement Award and Spirit Awards.