by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
A long time ago Sudheera Perera’s father gave him a piece of advice.
“Whatever you do, make sure you like it,” Perera said, recalling his father’s words. “It doesn’t matter if you’re sweeping the streets or washing bathrooms.”
Years later the registered nurse has added a bit to that to pass along to his children: Work with people you like.
He calls himself blessed to have the best of both worlds at Community Hospital south.
Friends like Kristi Gates, RN, who serves as a night supervisor, have helped him in his nursing career.
Perera says Gates has mentored him along the way and has always been there with whatever he needed.
“Kristi has been there for me since the day I started,” Perera said. “She helped me finish my degree. It’s just a different world over here.”
When he comes to work he knows there are people willing to pour into him. He knows there are people at Community that will support him in his nursing career, even if means helping out financially.
He’s humbled by that.
“I do everything I need to do and if I can do anything extra – no problem,” he said. “Luckily, I fell into a place that was full of wonderful people. My managers, house supervisors – not one person I can complain about it. They’ve always helped me. I’m married and my brother is there but beside those two most of these people are involved in making me who I am today.
“I’m very, very blessed.”
Perera works night shift at Community Hospital South.
It’s been seven years now but he hasn’t always felt this comfortable.
Originally from Sri Lanka, Perera came to Oklahoma in 1996 to study business administration at Northwestern Oklahoma State.
Four long years later he came to a realization.
“I didn’t have a lick of business in me,” he laughed.
He went into wholesale for a rustic furniture store. He quickly burned out.
The plan was become a nursing assistant, then become an LPN and finish strong with his RN.
He became a tech in 2004. RN wouldn’t come until 2015.
“That was a long time,” he said.
Perera took the unusual route traveling as a nursing assistant from 2006-2010 in Montana with an agency.
He worked long-term care and rehab, holding down a 25-30 patient load each night.
“I liked it but you know you don’t see the end result,” Perera said. “Working here you get to see the patient walking out. Over there I just didn’t like the end result.”
A friend worked in radiology at Community and told him it was an amazing place to work.
“When you become an RN you can’t point fingers, it’s you and you only,” he said. “When you’re a tech you could always go back to the nurse. Now you don’t have that luxury.
“I have that sense of pride now. I like what I do. This hospital has been really, really good to me and I want to do the little things I can do for them.”
He tried ICU for a short period at a large metro hospital just to try to pick up some extra shifts.
It didn’t compare to what he already had.
“Two patients, out of that 12-hour shift I had two patients. Ten hours of that time I was in front of a computer trying to catch up on my charting. That scared me,” he said. “It didn’t click with me.”
Community Hospital actually has two campuses featuring a comprehensive range of medical services and high quality care.
Perera’s Community Hospital south campus is a full-service hospital serving Southwest Oklahoma City and the surrounding communities including Blanchard, Moore, Newcastle, Norman, Mustang and Tuttle.
Community Hospital’s north campus celebrated the opening of its new facility in 2016 and offers inpatient and outpatient services, including diagnostic imaging and direct access to physician offices.
The north campus in conveniently located along the Broadway Extension near Britton Rd. and provides easy access from north Oklahoma City, Edmond, Piedmont, Guthrie, Jones, Luther and Wellston.
A unique strength of the hospitals is the strategic relationship developed with The Physicians’ Group (TPG) and OSSO physicians.
This partnership between the hospitals and the medical staff allows for new resources for continual growth.
It also strengthens the ability to expand hospital services and to add new medical specialties that meet the needs of the Oklahoma City metro area and surrounding communities.
Perera feels that backing. He enjoys working largely with a post-operative population.
“I just love it,” he says. “This place is small enough the management has a handle of what’s going on. Here if I have any concerns it’s easy for me to tell somebody. The hospital takes care of its employees.”