Story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Jennifer Hopfer blends well in her career at Mercy Hospital Logan County where she is an outpatient IV nurse.
“When you find that, you don’t want to let it go,” said Hopfer, a registered nurse. “I’ve got a grand baby now and I didn’t want to work two jobs anymore and had to figure out which one is going to work with my life better.”
Mercy introduced the Outpatient IV program at the hospital. In order to achieve her hours Hopfer will occasionally serve in the emergency room depending on what is needed. She looks forward to the continued growth of the program.
While raising three children, Hopfer became an LPN in 2008 before graduating from RN school by attending Rose State College at night in 2009. Her first placement as a nurse was at the Guthrie hospital before it was purchased by Mercy. She previously worked at a large Oklahoma City hospital for 11 years before rejoining the hospital as part of Mercy. (story continues below)
“It was a hard decision to come up here, but this got me closer to home. I’ve been a PRN nurse (as the need arises) for three years and I just love the people I work with,” Hopfer said. “They work well together and the nurse manager here, Giulia Frattinger, is amazing. It’s people my age and there’s not a lot of competition. We just come to work, and we all work well together.”
Hopfer provides rehydration to outpatient patients, infusions and antibiotics. It was Frattinger, RN, who recruited Hopfer to come to Mercy. Hopfer’s compassion is ingrained in her soul.
“I’ve always wanted to care for people,” she said. “And, I have that deep burning passion to make sure everyone is treated like my mom, or my dad would be.”
Mercy shines as a community when walking through the door, she said. It provides an engaging environment of friendly hometown conversation. Every nurse she has met in Guthrie or when training in the Coletta building at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City has been very welcoming, she said.
She enjoys getting to know people and about their families when meeting them at Mercy Hospital Logan County. It is quite different than previous experiences of listening to ventilators and beeping machines.
“I enjoy that. I like knowing about people. I like knowing about their kids and their families, their backgrounds and what they have going on for the future,” she continued. “It’s what keeps me going.”
Nursing has evolved a lot since the COVID pandemic. She suggests that anyone interested in the career would do well by first becoming a certified nurse aide. Being a CNA allows a person to understand what nursing is about, said Hopfer, a former CNA. A certified nurse aide does not serve just 1-4 patients. They often have 12, she said. She recommends that nurses who sit and carry on a conversation should get up and help the CNA. The CNAs are some of the hardest working, underpaid people she has ever been around, Hopfer said.
“In my previous role (as a nurse) I saw a lot of young nurses come in who had no idea of what nursing is all about. And, when you come in and you don’t have a clue, it is eye opening,” she said. “Some of them didn’t think we actually clean patients up and I said, ‘No, we do total care. That’s our responsibility. Yes, there are techs that will help you but they’re not going to do your job.’ It’s been a real eye opener for me seeing students coming out of the classroom with simulations versus being in the hospital doing clinicals.”
Reality touched her heart as a nurse when COVID would isolate patients from their families outside of the hospital. This was a typical site in the healthcare industry.
Hopfer sensed that an older woman would soon die if she was unable to see her husband. The woman recently returned to see Hopfer, walking freely without oxygen. The woman and her husband have become like grandparents for Hopfer.
“I text them and they text me. We talk. I didn’t know them before, but they’re very special to me,” she said.
Recently, there was a woman entering the ER with excessive blood pressure readings. The woman was very nervous when asking about her blood pressure.
Hopfer was candid and direct, telling her that her blood pressure will be high partly because of her anxiety of being in an emergency room.
She informed her what is expected, what she is being given and educated her about what to do when leaving the hospital.
“She told me, ‘This is the best experience I’ve had in a long time,’” Hopfer said. “They come in and they’re informed. She said, ‘I never expected this out of this little ER. But it’s fantastic.”’ For more information about Mercy Hospital Logan County visit: https://www.mercy.net/practice/mercy-hospital-logan-county/