by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
The Oklahoma Heart Hospital Physicians specializes in Cardiovascular Disease, Critical Care Medicine, General Surgery, Internal Medicine, Nuclear Medicine, Pulmonary Disease, Thoracic Surgery and Vascular Surgery.
If you or one of your loved ones have suffered a heart attack within the last twelve months, had a coronary angioplasty or stent, valve repair or replacement or heart transplant, more than likely you were at Oklahoma Heart Hospital, and afterwards, referred to their Outpatient Cardiac Rehab. This is where nurses and exercise specialist will teach you how to focus on a healthy lifestyle; learning to eat well, exercise and reduce stress in a carefully monitored setting.
One particular nurse is Kerry Brinkley, RN, BSN. Kerry is trained in BLS (Basic Life Support) and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support) which is required and renewed every two years.
As a little girl, Kerry wanted to be a newscaster or meteorologist. “That changed later on,” she laughed. Kerry became interested in nursing when she was in high school. She had some family members that had some health problem, helping to care for them, along with taking them to their doctors’ appointments. Her grandfather had open heart surgery and Kerry was interested in the heart and how it worked ever since. She was fascinated with anatomy and the science behind it. From there, her curiosity and learning took off. Graduating from OU, she sought out cardiology. That was twelve years ago and Kerry has worked at the Oklahoma Heart Hospital ever since. “I plan on being here for quite a while,” Kerry said.
Working in Cardiac Rehab, Kerry loves going to work every day. “I really get to know the patients and I feel good knowing that I am helping them get better. The patients usually are here in rehab for an average of three to four months. It is really something to see the growth of the patients from their first appointment to their last. They are so happy when they have reached the point of leaving because they know their hard work paid off. All of us here in rehab even have a graduation ceremony, praising each one for their hard work,” Kerry explained. “It’s a lot of fun for both the patient and for us,” she said. “After the patients get better, some of them come back to see us, just to say hi and let us know how they are doing,” she added.
Oklahoma Heart Hospital is the first of its kind and is Physician-owned and designed by cardiologists. There are two Oklahoma Heart Hospitals; the North location at 4050 W. Memorial Road and the South location at 5200 E. I-240 Service Road.
“This is such a great place to work and I can’t even imagine working anywhere else,” Kerry said. “The physicians here are outstanding. My co-workers are amazing and we are big on teamwork. Here in rehab, it’s like we are one big family!”
“We see about one hundred patients a week. We schedule appointments for certain times and each patient is monitored through their workout. We make sure they are following a healthy lifestyle so they will be around for a long time,” Kerry explained. “We teach them about eating healthy, staying fit with exercise, and making smart choices. We have had several patients tell us how much better they feel about themselves.”
One of Kerry’s best qualities is her positive attitude. “I like to think the best of everyone,” she said. “Others tell me that they enjoy my kindness and the way I seem to be happy all the time. I like to be happy and I like to make others happy. I think all of us here in rehab need to be pretty flexible with our time. If someone needs help, I am willing to help them, no matter what. We are all like that though. Teamwork is very important to all of us. Sometimes, all the patients need is a little encouragement and praise to brighten their day and get them ready to move forward. Sometimes, all it takes is a smile or a hello or a thank you.” When not working with the patients in rehab, Kerry loves spending time with her husband, Ryan and their two daughters, Ellie, six years old and Lucie, three. Kerry and Ryan love OU football, including attending OU games whenever they get the chance.
Asking Kerry to sum up her life in one word, she replied, “I would say that my life is BLESSED.”
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