CAREERS IN NURSING
BEING A NURSE… AND ALL THAT JAZZ! – OKC INDIAN CLINIC
by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
The Oklahoma City Indian Clinic was established in 1974 and is a nonprofit organization that provides a wide variety of behavioral health related services primarily for Native Americans.
Among the nurses, one particular nurse that gives her all is Brandi Nicolle, RN. I suppose you could say that Brandi has a certain step about her; that’s because Brandi is a dancer and has been ever since she could remember. “My mom owned a dance studio so I grew up in the dancing world. I was a dance major in college and before long I was teaching dance! I taught tap, ballet, lyrical and jazz yet, the dancing wasn’t making it for me. That is when I needed to find another job with a little more financial security so I could provide for my daughter and myself. One day, I decided to go into nursing. It was something that just came to be out of the blue! At the time, I couldn’t even stand the sight of blood,” she laughed. “In fact, my mom couldn’t believe I wanted to be a nurse. That was eighteen and a half years ago. Now, I know that nursing was definitely my calling” she explained.
Brandi works full time, four ten-hour day shifts. “I work for Dr. Kaly, an endocrinologist in the new OKC Indian Clinic Metabolic Center across the parking lot. I’m his nurse and we see about ten to twelve patients a day. A typical day for Brandi consists of seeing the patients, putting orders in for the doctor, scheduling consults for the doctor, along with answering phone calls. “It keeps me pretty busy throughout the day but I enjoy my job,” she said.
Working in home health, long-term and skilled care within the last four years, Brandi decided that she wanted to try working in new place; something different and new. “I had never worked in a clinical setting so I thought I might like to try it. That is why I came to the Indian Clinic,” she commented. “I love it here.”
Brandi’s motivation comes from her patients. “When I see the look of relief on the patient’s face that is all the reward I need. The patients seem to relate to me very well and I can tell when they feel comfortable and begin to open up. That is when the conversation gets into a little more depth and we find out they have several problems to discuss.”
“I like getting to know the patients, making sure they are taken care of in the best way possible,” she said. “I get the biggest reward from seeing my patients being cared for. I think it is the expression on the patient’s face; a smile and the kindness in their voice. What a relief it is to see the patients smile and the look that says everything; I’m going to be okay,” Brandi said.
Asking Brandi what qualities make a good nurse, she replied, “I think the first thing a nurse needs to have is empathy and plenty of compassion. A nurse needs to also be a critical care thinker and be willing to take care of matters when needed. Last but not least, I think they need to be driven. I guess that applies to just about anything,” she said. Brandi, what is your best quality here at work? “I think my best quality is empathy,” she answered.
“I enjoy working in the Metabolic Center, here at the Indian Clinic because I feel like it is a very gratifying job. Before I started working her, my children were patients here so I feel like I can relate to them in the same way. I know how important it feels to make sure your kids are cared for and now, I’m a part of that.”
Brandi has four children; One son, thirteen years old, and three daughters, fourteen, nineteen and twenty-one. Their four-legged friend is their German shepherd, Athena, the name meaning goddess of wisdom. Brandi’s hobbies include, spending time with husband and kids, watching movies and making sure she has a few childless date nights with her husband when they get the chance. “My mom goes to different day cares and teaches the little kids all about dancing. As far as my dancing goes? I still enjoy tap, ballet, lyrical and jazz,” she commented. “I will always be a nurse and a dancer.”
Asking Brandi to sum up her life in one word, she replied, “That would be FULFILLING.”
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