Lakita Edwards was helping her mother care for her ailing grandfather at home when she discovered she had a love for taking care of people, she said.
“We took care of him for two years until he passed,” Edwards said.
Now an LPN charge nurse at Kingwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy, located in Oklahoma City, Edwards said she owes her inspiration that led her to become a nurse to those early days of helping him.
“That lit a fire. It motivated me to help others as I saw my mother help her father. I thought this is something I wanted to do and accomplish. And I did,” Edwards explained.
In 2004 Edwards graduated from nursing school after attending Platt College. College was challenging but well worth the effort for her. Now she has worked at Kingwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy for two of the nine years she has served Bridges Health. Edwards previously served at Wilshire Skilled Nursing & Therapy before making a smooth transition to Kingwood. Additionally, she has worked five years for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, and briefly at the former HCR ManorCare. Edwards assists in both skilled and long-term nursing.
“What I admire about the staff is we are more family oriented. So, we’re not really staff to each other,” she said of Kingwood. “I like that we come together as a team. We work close together as a family. We work together and become strong. We blend together very well.”
Day and night, nurses bring their patience, understanding, compassion, and strength to serve the patient needs of long-term and skilled nursing. Patience and listening skills work wonders when helping long-term residents living with dementia and other cognitive issues, Edwards continued.
“You have to do a lot of redirections. And when you do a lot of redirections you’ve got to have patience and meet them on their level,” she said.
She doesn’t correct patients who speak of current conversations with their parents who may have died 30 years ago. There is no reason to have them grieve their losses again.
Nursing is constantly evolving, she said, pointing out that no nurse will ever know everything about healthcare. But Edwards knows more than enough to give optimal care for patients. She learns a lot by interacting with patients and other nurses every day. Bridges also provides updated educational opportunities for nurses to advance in their field. In-services keep them informed.
“What has touched my life about being a nurse here is when patients come here needing acute care. We render the care, and to see them walk out, back into the community — I know we’ve done what we can,” she said of skilled nursing. “I’m very proud of it. This is a success story for us to help someone needing acute care, that came in not walking and then to see them walk is the best thing.”
Edwards emphasized that the nursing staff at Kingwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy care about their residents’ wellbeing. Being a nurse is not simply a job, she said. They have a concern for the welfare of others.
“This is a home away from home. So therefore, we take the time to fit your needs,” Edwards said. “We just try to make them as comfortable as possible. And if they are in skilled nursing, we remind them that this is just for now. It’s a short-term stay. ‘You will not be here forever so lets focus on what we need to do. We want to get you back home.’ That’s the motivation because they want to go back home to their family.”
The needs of patients are often holistic. They want someone to listen to them tell stories about their younger days, where they worked, and their children.
“Especially the ones that served in the Army, they love to revisit that,” Edwards said. “And I just listen because history is wonderful.”
Her personal history is being made, too. Edwards said she remains the same caring person. But she also has a set of empathetic, compassionate tools her nursing career has deepened within herself. Every season of life has its blessings, she said.
“I’ve learned with nursing to deal with emotions, how to deal with stress, and being able to just thrive in the moment,” Edwards said.
Her experiences have enabled her to adapt to situations more easily. Her motivation rises with the sun. Every morning, Edwards knows her day will bring her another person to help.
“I’ll be able to do what I need to do as a nurse, so that a patient will be able to thrive.” she said.
Visit https://kingwoodok.com for more information about Kingwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy.