by James Coburn, Staff Writer
A desire to help people is what led LPN Denika Jackson’s career to Sienna Extended Care & Rehab, located in Midwest City, she said.
“I was always doing stuff for others, and I just want to make people’s situations better,” Jackson said. “If I can do anything for anybody, I’m definitely willing to do that.”
Jackson has been an LPN for four years since graduating from Metro Technology Center. She said she embraced the intense program for LPNs there. She had been a certified home health aide for 5-6 years before that and is now enrolled at Rose State to earn her degree as a registered nurse. She has already completed all of her prerequisites there.
“It is very exciting,” she said.
She has worked in long-term care ever since she became an LPN. She mainly focuses on rehab today. Sienna Extended Care & Rehab is a skilled nursing facility with long-term care, said Adam Stephens, administrator. Sienna primarily offers skilled nursing with a 60/40 split at the 100-bed facility.
“The rehab is a little bit different because the patients are skilled,” she said. “So they have a few more needs that the long term care, but it’s still really rewarding, especially when you have a patient that come in and can’t walk or something. They go to rehab and they’re able to walk out of here.”
Once and a while she will fill in on the long-term care section of Sienna Extended Care & Rehab.
She enjoys the successful outcomes of patients being met there. Some people cannot speak or get their thoughts straight when entering the spacious building.
“When they leave here they are normal and ready to go back home,” Jackson said. “They start their lives again, and that’s what’s really exciting to me. They come in sick and can’t do stuff and then we rehab them so they can go out and continue their lives as they did before.”
Jackson’s love for people is often returned as the patients and nursing staff love her as well.
“I’m just willing to do anything for them,” she said. “I’m a people pleaser. So when I see them and they see me they know I’ll get the job done.”
If they have problems they will often go to Jackson, knowing she will see that it is taken care of with high standards.
“Oh boy she really did what she said she was going to do,” Jackson said she often hears.
All of the nursing staff is approachable. They are easy going and will help when needed, she said. Jackson commended her director of nursing for being understanding to help the staff when needed.
“I’ve got my wound nurse right here so if I need anything, she is like the manager on the hall,” Jackson continued. “So she’s great. If I have a new patient that has new wounds, then me and her go in there and do stuff together. She teaches me a lot. I’ve learned so much here and have got so many certifications here.”
She said she has learned a lot about hypodermic injections that she did not know about when working exclusively in long-term care.
As an LPN she also works closely with physical therapists. The therapists’ goals are to get the patient to reach their maximum level of potential, Jackson said.
“They do not know a lot about nursing. So if a patient’s blood pressure is too low or too high, ‘they’re like, ‘Do I need to work with this patient? Do I need to lie them back down?’ And we’ll work together to get their blood pressure up. They may need to lie down and get their feet elevated.”
When their blood pressure is back under control, the patients can resume therapy. Jackson might increase their oxygen levels when a decrease of oxygen saturation is noted.
Patients give her all sorts of compliments as they leave the facility. “Oh, you’re the best nurse I’ve ever had,” they will say.
Jackson gets to know their families well, answering any questions or concerns about their loved one’s health. She explains the goals for each patient.
Usually when a patient is leaving they will hug Jackson and say they will return and visit her.
“I have people come back and visit all the time,” Jackson said. “It brings tears to my eyes to see them coming back walking and doing good.”
She loves to go shopping during her leisure time. Her son plays football at Midwest City High School.
“I love going to games. I’m a football mom,” she said.