by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Tolly Miller leaves Baptist Village every day with a smile she said.
“I want to make sure I’ve done everything I can do to please not only just the guests and the residents here, but also the family members, said Miller, LPN.
She has set her course at Baptist Village in Oklahoma City.
The 2009 graduate of Platt College in Oklahoma City is currently attending OSU/OKC to earn her administrator’s license. She is getting ready to take a test so that she can be an assisted living administrator. Her goal is to become the administrator of assisted living when the need comes.
“Hopefully I’m here. That’s the goal — to take everything I’ve learned as I continue to follow administrator Michelle Billings. I’ll take it and use it to make this place even stronger,” she said. “And encourage everyone else to continue to go further in their education.”
People grow in their careers at Baptist Village. Billings was once director of nursing there.
“I actually sat in Michelle’s office,” Miller said. “And I said, ‘You know I want you to help me. Guide me through the process because I’m trying to be you later on.’ Eventually, she’s going to have the reward. And there’s going to be someone here who knows the ins and out of health care and how this facility is run.”
Miller began her quest in health care as a CNA. She has also been involved in oncology nursing. Nursing is about caring about people, she said.
Miller has cared for the residents’ needs at Baptist Village for five years. And she appreciates that they have been a loving community in return.
“I love geriatrics. I love nursing. I love being able to help someone,” said Miller, skilled coordinator and case management. “Plus, you really get to familiarize with the people here. You get to know their families and you also get to know your coworkers.
“This truly is family when you’re a long ways from home.”
Her day commences in the morning when she goes to her office to check to see if she has messages from the staff or family members.
“I have to deal with a lot of their discharging and their planning,” she said. “So in case if they have to transfer into assisted living or long-term care facilities, I assist them with placement and making sure to make their life easier.”
Change takes on additional meaning as we age. So Miller never wants any of Baptist Village residents to feel as if their independence has been taken away, she said.
“I just look at it as stability so they can continue to live and not have to do as much work,” she said.
Teamwork is what she admires about the staff she works with at Baptist Village. Each person’s job plays a big role. Miller said they have her back whenever needed.
“Just a few minutes ago, I was like, ‘Hey, can you call to make sure this person’s equipment is taken care of?’. I had someone getting on the phone,” Miller explained.
She loves caring for people and doing whatever it takes to make them happy. Miller feels that God has placed her in the position she wants to live in professionally, said Miller, who has worked in all areas pertaining to Baptist Village. Miller has worked in long-term care and skilled nursing, memory care and in case management.
When not working at Baptist Village, Miller speaks at different churches. It may be a women’s program or a church service. Miller is always willing to do a lot of motivational speaking.
“I am very content that I’ve achieved something when I leave here,” Miller said.
Miller has a few nurses in her family. She was in the Air Force before becoming a nurse.
Sometimes her phone rings when she’s away from work. She will make sure that she’s available to work when needed so that the residents will be cared for as they deserve, she said.
Baptist Village is a friendly community of prayer, she said. They always ask during staff meeting if there is anybody who needs prayer, spoken or unspoken, for the staff and the residents.
“This building is new,” she said. “It’s probably the style that makes this place a little different. When it comes down to the residents or guests, we focus more on a restaurant style meal instead of just having set stuff. We have something special for that day. But they can order anything they want from a menu.” Nutrition is key at Baptist Village, she said.
“We want them to feel like they’re home away from home.”