LPN enjoys getting to know residents and families
by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Building relationships is what Heather Tipton is all about. She enjoys the team of professionals she works with at Bradford Village where she works as an LPN and MDS coordinator in Edmond.
“I love what I do. I love being MDS coordinator and being able to see the different aspects of each department and how it correlates with each resident, she said.
Tipton earned her nursing license in 2008 after graduating from Platt College in Oklahoma City. Her career has always centered upon geriatrics and she came to Bradford Village four years ago.
She loves the parent company Brookdale and the residents she serves and cares for at Bradford Village, she said. Bradford Village opened in 1957 as a mission of the Disciples of Christ. About 15 years ago, the Oklahoma Christian Home was sold. Today many residents call Bradford Village their home at 906 N. Boulevard in Edmond.
Nurses know that Bradford Village is the residents’ home. And they are treated with the dignity and respect of being at home.
Residents chose what they want to eat from menus provided to them at every breakfast, lunch and dinner. They have the option of using the dining services or eating in their rooms
“Between the residents and the residents being like extra grandmas and grandpas, I’ve built a lot of relationships here with the staff,” Tipton said.
Tipton spends a lot of time educating the residents and staff. She said the nursing staff are all very caring about the residents and consider them as family.
“They have all got close relationships and know the residents’ little quirks and personalities,” she said. “A lot of time I sit here with my office door open and I can hear everything the nurses and the staff are talking about with the residents. It’s like sitting around a family dinner table listening to the family interact.”
Her experience of building relationships with the family members and the residents throughout the cycle of life is comforting, she said. She reinforces family members emotionally by letting them know it’s alright not to experience feelings of guilt along the journey.
“Just being there and being a support system is really one aspect that I get complete job fulfillment from,” she continued.
Being there is sitting in the residents’ room sharing conversations, she said. She always learns additional bits of information about them to build upon their care plan.
“One resident I have – I’ll go in there and we’ll sit and talk for a while and it’s another story,” she said. “They open up their lives to you. And the fact they do that and they share their life story with you I think is amazing, because then that becomes something in my life that I get fulfillment from, enjoyment just having them. Tipton loves building friendships with them.”
“So I really like that and the next time I go in there, I’ll talk to a resident who will say, ‘Oh you remember so and so I just talked about?’ I just talked to him on the phone.”
Being an MDS coordinator requires being very detail oriented. The task requires a lot of auditing. She sends regulatory information to the state and federal government agencies. Her career takes a lot of energy, so she spends her leisure time rejuvenating by racing BMX bikes on light motor cross tracks. Tipton competes in local and national races or sometimes just enjoys watching her son and husband as they ride.
“It’s really cool right now. They’re having the UCI World races being held here in the United States. So I watch my fellow friends and a lot of people at a local track in Oklahoma have won first place. So that’s really cool,” she said.
She races on the dirt but does not do any of the flips while racing. There are eight slots on a gate so when the gate drops they go through as many of the obstacles as they can. Tipton and her husband will also perform dirt jumps at the Oklahoma City Boat House District.
“I like to jump,” she said. “It normally takes about 45 seconds to do a lap on a BMX track.”
It keeps her in shape, too. Being a nurse will often require constant movement, she said, so racing helps her to keep up the pace.
There are times when some residents may get a little anxious, needing one-on-one attention.
“So you really got to be on your game,” she said. “I love what I do. I wouldn’t change it for the world and that’s why I’m here.”