CAREERS IN NURSING
KEEPING IT SIMPLE: ALLIANCEHEALTH DEACONESS
by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
AllianceHealth Deaconess Oklahoma is dedicated to helping people rebuild their lives after illness and injury. Their services address both the mental and physical aspects of rehabilitation. The Rehabilitation team includes knowledgeable, caring professionals who are dedicated to providing quality care and support.
On the third floor of AllianceHealth, Rehab, you will find Lori Stewart, RN, BSN, and Nurse Manager. Lori wears many hats as she handles many responsibilities. With a friendly smile, she is very outgoing and professional.
Born and raised in Oklahoma, Lori has been the nurse manager for one year. Lori has been a nurse for 23 years and has worked in many areas of nursing. “Most of my work was as an oncology nurse and a breast cancer navigator at Saint Anthony’s hospital. I was also a travel nurse. There are so many options and job opportunities in the medical field,” Lori added.
When asked what qualities make a good nurse, Lori replied, “I think the first quality a nurse needs is compassion. They need to have the ability to make decisions and stay calm under pressure and not let their problems cross the threshold of the patient they are taking care of. One important quality is to be an advocate for nurses and be able to speak up. I know in my case, a nurse can teach anyone different tasks but the main thing to be a nurse; not be afraid to take care of the patients. Feel what they feel, try to experience what they are feeling. To be a good nurse, it’s more about understanding the whole patient and be where they are. The patient is in a vulnerable position and we need to provide the best care we can.”
Lori mentioned some of her accomplishments: “I was a member of Sigma Theta Tau, and I have my Oncology certification and Breast Care Navigator certification. I have an associate’s degree and I was an honor graduate in my class at SNU. I am proud of my accomplishments.”
Asking Lori what strong qualities she has as a nurse, she replied, “I have the ability to listen, trying to see both sides of things, being fair. I am organized, and have flexibility, learning not to set my expectations so high that they cannot be met. I have learned to live for today, not focusing on ‘what ifs.’ I like to think that I am pretty easy to get along with. As a nurse manager, I can’t always do what everyone wants but I try to come up with a solution and work towards it. I think we work as a team. Nurses need to work together and remember they are nurses first.”
Did you want to be a nurse when you were little? I asked Lori. With a laugh, she said, “Oh no, I wanted to be a princess! I decided I wanted to be a nurse when the Gulf war broke out and I had two little boys, wondering how I would provide for them if anything happened to their daddy. At the time, I really had no desire to be a nurse, but ended up taking a biology class and fell in love with it. It was a natural progression from there. Little did I know that I would become a nurse. Being a nurse makes me the proudest.”
Asking Lori what advice she would give to anyone if they wanted to go into the medical field, she replied, “Keep your options open. If this is where you want to be, don’t stop until you get here. Have common sense and a desire to learn. Nursing is an excellent field to get into; your options are unlimited.”
Lori spent most of her time in the medical field under the oncology umbrella; working in hospital settings and doing breast cancer procedures. “Oncology will always be very dear and close to my heart, but as the manager nurse in Rehab, this is definitely my dream job. I love seeing the progress of the patients as they leave. I am thrilled with the opportunity of being here.”
Lori has 2 sons, Brian, 35, who also works at AllianceHealth as a charge nurse and Andrew, 32, who is a defense contractor.
When Lori is not working, she likes to spend time with her 3 Bassett Hounds. Lori’s hobbies include reading, going to movies and shopping at thrift stores.
According to Lori, these are the words she lives by: Keep it simple.