by James Coburn – staff writer
Skilled nursing provides Ashley Eduvigen a fast-paced environment with daily opportunities to learn, she said. The licensed practical nurse serves as a unit manager at Brookwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy in south Oklahoma City where she has worked since 2016.
Eduvigen was accustomed to long-term care when coming to Brookwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy. She knew that skilled nursing would be an immediate challenge. But she soon grew to love it, especially when seeing the results of her hard work. She will work in long-term care at Brookwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy whenever she is needed. Teamwork is a hallmark among the nursing staff, she said.
“When patients go home it’s a huge celebration for them,” Eduvigen said on a spring-like day. “I get to set up their home health or any equipment they need, and make sure they’re transitioning as safe as possible. It’s just fantastic because when they come in, they have this initial look — like will they get to go home. So, when they do make that progress and they are able to go home it’s a good thing.”
The support given by the nursing staff and management to Eduvigen during her six years at Brookwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy has inspired her to do anything and everything she can for her patients. Administration encourages her to consider management and to advance her qualifications by going back to school.
Patience and grace are qualities defining the nursing staff at Brookwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy. It is a place that inspires learning and striving towards goals. Nurses should be unbiased, be able to calm their patients and provide them what they need, Eduvigen said.
Eduvigen has been a nurse for nearly nine years after graduating from nursing school at Kiamichi Technology Center, located in Poteau. She also did some of her prerequisites at Carl Albert State College in Poteau. Eduvigen was introduced to long-term care and skilled nursing as a CNA during high school.
“Starting as a CNA really grows your love for the nursing profession because you are doing the most intimate care,” Eduvigen said. (STORY CONTINUES BELOW)
Eduvigen came to know about nursing as the granddaughter of a CNA and CMA. Her grandmother worked many years at the Talihina Veterans Center serving patients with dementia and PTSD. Her family would stop by and visit with the veterans.
Today, her skilled nursing patients stay at Brookwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy anywhere from a week to 100 days. They often transition back to their home but sometimes need long-term care. She keeps families informed by providing updates.
“Even if we do have to have a conversation about long-term care or hospice, you’ve already developed a relationship throughout the time,” Eduvigen said. “So, it’s good.”
Patients in long-term care recognize her from the skilled unit. They appreciate seeing a familiar smile. And she’s grateful to see them smile, too.
“They feel comfortable coming to me for anything they need,” she said.
Patients talk about their families, who’s getting married, their grandchildren and decades past. She admires the resilience of her patients. They don’t give up even though they might need long-term care, Eduvigen explained. Patients at Brookwood Skilled Nursing & Therapy, give their best effort to improve even when they realize they may need extra help.
“I had one patient rehabbing from a stroke. One of his goals was to dance with his daughter at the wedding,” Eduvigen said. “And so, he did. He worked with therapy very hard, and he was able to go and do that.”
And, Eduvigen practices what she teaches in the daily lives of her patients by providing holistic care for herself, too.
“One of the big things that I do is journaling and walking every morning, even though it’s as basic as three things that I’m grateful for that day,” she continued. “So, I do that every day, even on the bad or tough days when I think I can’t think of something. I try to think of something.”
Eduvigen wants people who are contemplating becoming a nurse to understand how enriching the profession can be.
“There’s a lot of jobs but nursing is probably one of the most rewarding things you can do,” she said.
Nurses rank as the most trusted profession for the 21st year in a row, according to a Gallup poll released in January.
Being a nurse has impacted Eduvigen’s life as she strives to become her personal best.
“It’s meeting a need and knowing no matter what, you can do anything.”