story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Amber Chan likes the circle of life so much that the registered nurse went from working in pediatric care to geriatric care at Golden Age Nursing Center, located in Guthrie
Chan spent five years as a pediatric nurse before transitioning to a new opportunity for learning at Golden Age about a year ago.
“I got to see a lot of the beginning of life because I’ve always been interested in the other end of the spectrum,” Chan said. “And then I had a previous coworker who recommended working here. They said this was a really good place to work, so I decided to try here.”
She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at OU/OKC six years ago. During her freshman year of college, she knew she wanted to accomplish a medical career although she was uncertain of the field.
“And then I decided with nursing I can still take care of people and have a family,” she said. “It’s a better balance than doing other options that there are in medicine.”
Golden Age allows her to be part of an extended family, she said, not only with her coworkers but with the residents.
“We’re basically part of their family now. I like being able to have that longer connection with them, getting to know them,” she said. “You get that bond that you don’t necessarily get in a hospital because you’re with them so much more.”
The residents have a love of life that does not go unnoticed for Chan. They care about the other residents as well as the Golden Age staff. They can tell when a nurse needs to be uplifted during a challenging day.
“They care about how you’re doing,” she said.
Families of the residents are also good to know, Chan continued. The majority of the residents have awesome families who frequently check-up on their loved one’s welfare.
“They care about staff, too,” Chan continued. “They make you feel part of a family – a very large family. So that’s one of my favorite parts.”
Chan often reflects on the friends she has made among the residents. One was a teacher.
“My mom is a teacher,” Chan said. “She just reminded me so much of my mom and she would do some of the wildest things out there, but she was also so sweet and she told me that she loved me.”
“I like thinking back on her because it makes me laugh. She had a lot of soul. So I like thinking about her because I can look forward to that with my mom when she is in her 90s.”
When thinking about the Golden Age staff, Chan is impressed by how much they care about the community of elders. Everybody does an amazing job wherever they are working. Her admiration extends to housekeeping, cooking and the CNAs.
“Everybody cares about the job that they are doing,” Chan said. “And then nursing staff wise; you always have somebody to help. They care and they want these people to be taken care of well. So they’re willing to do whatever it is that needs to be done to make sure everyone is taken care of well.”
The CNA staff is the front line with the residents, she said. They can tell if something is not right with a resident and inform the nurses.
“Say that issue doesn’t get addressed right away, they’ll make sure if you get busy that you look. They are persistent and not scared to say what is going on,” Chan said.
Her life as a nurse is enriched by knowing she is a part of the residents’ lives, Chan said. Each day, a little task such as bringing someone ice cream will make their day.
“You know that you’re making a difference by being able to be here and help them,” she said.
Caring is the No. 1 quality of a long-term care nurse, Chan continued.
“You have to care about people because you can be very busy. So you have to have good time management.” Chan said. “So if you don’t care to want to work hard, you need to want to be here and part of their lives.”
Another reason why Golden Age appeals to her lifestyle is that if a child is sick she can be there with him.
“I have a 5-year-old son and he had the flu a month ago,” she said. “My husband stays at home with him. He’s a stay-at-home dad. So I just want to be there if he’s sick, and it was not problem for me to be there.”