by Traci Chapman – staff writer/photographer
For Robin Channel, work at Mercy is more than a job, beyond a career, something that cannot be quantified by and eight-to-five clock – it’s what she was always meant to do. And, Mercy Hospital Logan County is the place she was meant to do it.
“I love working at Mercy because I am able to live out my calling every day,” Channel said. “The mission statement, ‘As the Sisters of Mercy before us, we bring to life the healing ministry of Jesus through our compassionate care and exceptional service,’ says it all for me.”
Channel said she always wanted to work in healthcare, specifically the nursing field – and she started young. In high school, she worked as a nursing assistant; after taking time off to start her family, Channel returned to provide assistance to cardiac patients as a monitor technician.
While it was always something Channel felt compelled to do, she received yet more inspiration from someone close to her, someone who taught her through her daily actions exactly what being a nurse truly entailed, Channel said.
“I was inspired by my mother-in-law, Gracie Channel,” she said. “I saw and continue to see the way she affects people’s lives with the caring, compassionate and loving attitude she has shown throughout her life as an RN.”
With that inspiration came determination, and Channel began taking the steps she needed to become a nurse. It was a path that would feature a steep incline, as her education milestones meant leaps in her professional achievements.
Those milestones moved forward almost exactly on a 10-year schedule. Channel first attended Oklahoma State University, graduating with an associates nursing degree in 1995. It was in 2004 that Channel returned to school, this time Langston University, to pursue her bachelor’s degree; in 2015, she received her master’s degree from University of Central Oklahoma.
Throughout it all, there has been the job – helping patients, being part of something larger than herself. Channel’s experience has been varied – from working in the surgery and inpatient departments to emergency room and outpatient procedure area. In 2011, Channel started a three-year stint managing Logan’s emergency and surgery departments; after her 2015 graduation from UCO, her master’s degree translated into a new position – clinical education specialist for Mercy’s four regional facilities. In that role, Channel ensured both staff and administrators remained current in areas of expertise, she said.
In September 2015, the long-time nurse was ready for a new challenge, as she took over as Mercy Hospital Logan County’s director of nursing, responsible for nursing operations in a 25-bed critical access hospital. It’s a position she holds today.
“I work with managers to provide leadership, oversight and direction of clinical nursing services – this includes development and implementation of policies and procedures and educational opportunities,” Channel said.
The work – and work ethic – of Channel and her co-workers has not gone unnoticed. Mercy Hospital Logan County was recently named a top 20 critical access hospital for quality care by National Rural Health Association. Another Mercy hospital, Mercy Kingfisher, was also recognized with a NRHA top-20 award.
It is quite an achievement for a facility that only in 2011 transitioned from Logan Medical Center to Mercy Hospital Logan County, administrators said. It was that year that Mercy was one of several entities asked to submit a purchase proposal for the Guthrie Hospital, as well as four clinics located in Guthrie, Edmond and Crescent.
When Mercy in April 2011 entered into an agreement with Logan Medical Center, it meant the facility’s then eight physicians and 305 employees became part of Mercy’s billion-dollar system, which spans hospitals and outpatient facilities located in Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.
For Channel, Mercy’s growth always harkens back to that mission statement and the care she and everyone who works for Mercy Hospital Logan County make their primary goal. It’s a mission statement, and a philosophy, that goes far beyond Channel’s career and is reflected in a home life that includes Channel’s husband, what she calls her four children – her own and their spouses – and three grandchildren, as well as her involvement in Mercy’s Women’s Ministry and her own church family and its children’s church.
“I believe nursing is much more than a job, it is a profession and a calling – I love helping people understand the impact they have on patients’ lives, how they can help physically, mentally and spiritually,” Channel said. “And, I love helping people see their potential and watching people grow in their positions.”