by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
At the stroke of midnight, the year 2020 arrived! Some people celebrated by getting together with friends, going downtown and watching the ball drop, bringing in the new year. Others spent their time at Mercy Hospital, in labor and delivery, welcoming their new baby into the world.
In labor and delivery, there are new nurses and then there are some nurses that have been at Mercy Hospital for quite a few years. One exceptional nurse is Patricia Stookey, BSN, RN and she has been a nurse in labor and delivery for thirty years. She loves her job of welcoming sweet, little babies into the world and she can’t imagine doing anything else!
Being so experienced in this unit, Patricia wears many hats in the labor and delivery unit. “In 1990, I was working in a different hospital. That was also the year that my first child was born. I came here to Mercy for my delivery. That was when I realized how much I loved Mercy Hospital and the next thing I knew, I was working here! I love my job and I knew ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a nurse. As I got older, I knew that the labor and delivery Unit was the place for me. There is something special about helping a little baby enter this world,” she said. “Working here at Mercy is wonderful. Many of the nurses have been here for quite a while and it really is like we are family. We support each other. That is why I have been here so long. This feels like my second home.”
“Working as a nurse in labor and delivery, I do a little bit of everything, “I work in triage, am a back-up charge nurse, help moms in labor, post-partum and help in the nursery. On Sundays, we have tours of the labor and delivery unit and I answer any questions that come up about from the about-to-be-new-parents. Yes, I am even the tour guide!” she said with a laugh. “I like it all! The new parents are welcome to come here and ask any questions they might have. It’s not unusual to see the women on the tour, and then see them again in a few weeks, as a new patient. I feel like I really bond with them at that point from then on.”
“When I work in triage, I feel like I am like a gatekeeper and I tell them when and where to go next,” she added. “That is probably my biggest challenge. When I bond with the patient so much, I want to give them that one-on-one time and I can’t let them go,” she said with a laugh.
“My favorite part of my job is when I help with the natural child births. The natural childbirths seem to give the women a sense of empowerment. I enjoy helping the women achieve that goal of going natural,” Patricia commented.
“When I started working here in 1990, there were about one hundred fifty babies born here at Mercy. In 2019, there were about three hundred babies born. It always amazes me how the mother remembers the nurse that helped her while she was in labor. Of course, I’m sure that is a mom thing! Nurses have such an impact on our new moms.”
Not only is Patricia an excellent nurse but she also spends some of her time teaching ‘OB and Pediatrics’ at Southern Nazarene University. She also taught at Southwestern, spending a total of eight years teaching others about labor and delivery.
As if Patricia didn’t have enough to do at work, she is a very outgoing, adventurous person. “Oh, I am definitely a people-person, she said. “I’m a real talker too and I can say, I’m just like the rest of my family, I never met a stranger,” she added. “Can you believe I used to be shy?” she asked.
Patricia is married to her wonderful husband Don. “In fact, we just celebrated our thirty third anniversary,” she said with excitement! They have three children; one daughter, who is an artist; into print making and creative writing, another daughter who is a nurse, working in the step-down unit here at Mercy, and a son that is an artist; painting several murals throughout OKC. Patricia’s hobbies include, being a master gardener, scuba-diving, traveling, snow-skiing, running and triathlons.
Asking Patricia to sum up her life in a few words, she replied, “People Person.”
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