Cynthia Bennett, LPN
1995 nursing school graduate of the US Army, works at Bellevue Rehab & Rehabilitation Center in Oklahoma City
story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer
The family oriented owners of Bellevue Rehab & Rehabilitation Center in Oklahoma City are the why Cynthia Bennett, LPN, has not ventured from her nursing career there since 2005, she said. She appreciated the compassion she felt there when her mother died.
“They care about the patients; they care about the staff. It makes it welcoming,” Bennett said. They treat them like family; they don’t treat them like patients.
Everything about Bellevue Rehab & Rehabilitation Center is about family, compassionate care. Profit is not the priority. Bellevue is in the business of humanity and celebrating life, she said.
“You can tell that the staff from housekeeping, dietary and nursing care about the patients and they develop relationships with them,” Bennett said.
This makes the patients and residents of skilled nursing or long-term care more comfortable. A caring environment eases their transition from home.
“You can tell that everybody loves their job. They love taking care of their patients,” Bennett said. “If they don’t, they don’t stay.” (story continues below)
Bellevue Health & Rehabilitation Center is a 150-bed facility that is often at capacity. Seven charge nurses work on day shift, evening shift, and night shift. For Bennett, nursing is a calling that transcends the thought that it’s just a job.
An aptitude test during high school scored high for Bennett in healthcare and science, specifically being a nurse. She was ready to leave home in Illinois to establish a new, fulfilling journey in life.
Bennett is a 1995 nursing school graduate of the US Army. After serving in the Army, she came to Oklahoma to work in home health and assisted living. Long-term care soon became her major career focus when joining the Bellevue nursing team in 2005. All types of people with different histories and backgrounds have touched her life.
A few actors’ family members and actors themselves with names the public would recognize have chosen Bellevue Rehab & Rehabilitation Center. Bennett’s most memorable patient was a German lady who survived the holocaust that swept through parts of Europe during World War II.
“She lived through all that holocaust and camps,” Bennett said. “And every time you’d go in there, she’d tell you a story and it would just break your heart. She looked a lot like my grandma because my grandma was German. She’s probably got to be the most interesting person that I’ve met here. She was just a darling and her accent — it was awesome.”
The woman found a friend she could trust to share her dark memories of the Nazi genocide.
Bennett said that the nursing staff makes a point to make new residents and patients feel at home when first meeting them.
“It’s hard when they come in here for the first time,” she said.
However, new residents learn that someone is always available whenever they need anything and have the administrator’s cell phone number as well.
“They’ve never been to a nursing home. And you know, nursing homes have that big stigma that when you go there, you die. And it’s not like that anymore. You just have to treat them like they’re your own family,” Bennett explained. “There is an adjustment period because they’re learning how to trust us. We’re learning how to take care of them. And it just takes a little bit of time. Eventually it works out.”
Young people come in as patients for therapy in the skilled unit. A young 22-year-old woman found it easier to adjust by identifying with many of the staff who were near her age.
“She was able to relate. They were able to have more conversations that had to do with the same things that they liked,” Bennet said. “It’s not all peaches and cream. But it’s the ones that are peaches and cream that make you come back, continue the next day and do everything all over again.”
Bennett has learned not to take stress home to her family. Her husband is in the medical field, so they are empathetic to one another.
Nursing has given her tolerance, she said.
“You have to learn how to deal with so many different people’s personalities, attitudes, and feelings,” she said. “Actually, I think the military helped me to deal with that as well.”
Her career has taught her not to take anything people say personally. She said if a patient hits her while helping them to put a shoe on, it’s not because they’re angry at her. They may be scared, live with pain, or have dementia.
“As a nurse, you don’t react the way you would if you weren’t a nurse,” Bennett explained.
She balances life as a member of a dart league. Or she will color and hang out with friends, go camping and relax her mind without having to make decisions.
Her dog and friendships are great company, too.
For more information about Bellevue Rehab & Rehabilitation Center or to join the team, visit https://bellevueokc.com.