by Bobby Anderson, Staff Writer
Kristi Gates, RN, has been a nurse for nearly a decade now.
These days you can find her working nights as house supervisor at Community Hospital’s south campus in southwest Oklahoma City.
There’s always an easy smile when you’re around her and a laugh that just lets you know everything’s going to be OK.
But when she first graduated nursing school it was a different story altogether.
Just out of school she was hired on to a PCU at another facility. That unit quickly closed down and she floated from PCU to ICU to cardiac and med surg.
“I was a baby nurse and I just got beat up,” she laughed.
She was a charge nurse just six months out of nursing school.
It took more than a hour each day after to wind down after a shift.
She wasn’t sure if she could hack it.
“It’s just stressful. Especially as a new nurse, I didn’t feel like I got a great orientation to begin with so it was just too much,” Gates said. “I didn’t feel I was able to take care of people like I wanted to.”
“Every time I left I felt like I had survived my shift,” she continued. “Sometimes I felt like I was able to give good care but most of the time I felt like I was just trying to make it, keep my patient alive and not get a complaint.”
Dragging herself out to her car after report each day exhausted, scared, worn to her last nerve – Gates knew she had to make a change.
Like most people, she found Community by accident even though her father worked there in housekeeping for years. Her mother had even worked at the the location when it was a children’s psych facility years before.
“I didn’t even realize there was a hospital,” she said. “I came and interviewed. I loved the interviewers and the facilities.”
Six months after coming to Community she knew she’d found home.
Only problem was, she was still hanging on to her old job. She found herself on Cloud Nine one day at Community and then dreading the facility change the next.
She cut the cord, accepted a house supervisor role and hasn’t looked back since.
“I really liked it,” Gates said of settling on Community. “I felt like I was able to help the nurses. I felt like I was making a difference. We get to spend a lot of time with our patients and I really like the care we give here.”
The pace was slower, and the facility was smaller.
And the weight was lifted while she received as much if not more help than she provided.
“It was kind of like a little family,” she said. “Usually our census isn’t too crazy so we don’t have a ton of staff. Everybody that has been here has been here for a long time. Once someone comes here they usually don’t leave.”
Community Hospital actually has two campuses featuring a comprehensive range of medical services and high quality care.
Gates’ 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.
Gates says she’s grown so comfortable at Community that she’s contemplating going back to school.
She’s even kicked around the idea of taking a larger management role.
Nursing practitioner school isn’t out of the question.
“I think some of it just comes with experience but in this role it’s not one of those things you can ever just do an orientation and learn it all,” said Gates, now in her ninth year at Community. “Something different happens every day. One day it may be the soda machine. The next day it might be a code. I feel like I’ve gotten to a point no matter what happens I’ll be able to figure it out.”