photo by James Coburn, staff writer
Bradford Village Healthcare Center is a village, says Jameese McJunkins, LPN. She is a people person.
McJunkins feels she was born to be a caregiver, she said. Bradford Village radiates with her best qualities. Her smile and friendly persona are a guiding light at Bradford Village, located in Edmond.
“I’ve become attached to my residents. They’re like my grandma and grandpa,” McJunkins said.
She has worked at Bradford Village for five years. At age 18 she served as a CNA for 10 years in Texas and Oklahoma before she graduated from LPN school in 2013.
“It’s really nice. They work with my schedule,” McJunkins said. “The residents are very lovely here. The staff members are nice and it’s close to my home as well because I live here in Edmond.” (story continues below)
She decided to become a nurse when her son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes when he was 8 years old. It’s what motivated her nursing career. She wanted to help him by learning all about his illness.
Having been a CNA helped her nursing career by watching behaviors and mood changes of the residents. Nurses are eyes for the physician and CNAs are the eyes for a nurse, she said.
“If it wasn’t for them my job would be harder,” McJunkins said. “They can tell when a person is not eating their food — they can catch it before me. If a person has diarrhea, they will know it before me and report it. I believe our job goes hand-in-hand. I couldn’t do it without a CNA.”
Her grandmother always told her, “It takes a village to raise a baby.” She was right, McJunkins said with laughter, because teamwork makes it possible to improve health outcomes for the elderly.
“It’s like our second home. We spend a lot of time here just like at home. So, we come together like a family,” she continued. “Families argue and families fight, but they still come together and work together as a family. She has made a bevy of friendships with both staff members and residents.
One of her patients is a retired therapist who talks to her about the diagnosis of personalities. There are psychologists, lawyers, ministers, among others.
“All of those things factor in, too, because if you have a minister and you’re having a rough day because you’re short-handed, that person will give you some encouraging words,” she said. “Not only does he speak to you like a grandfather, but also as a minister and that helps. And then you have the ones that are retired nurses. They are like, ‘Oh, honey I know it’s hard. Someone will give you a hand.’ It’s easier with those kinds of patients because they know the struggle that we go through. They know the hard parts and easy parts we have throughout the day. So, it kind of helps.”
She remembers a resident she worked with for two years. McJunkins’ sadness was apparent after she had lost an aunt. She felt that the resident was like an aunt, too. She could see the pain in McJunkins’ eyes.
“She gave me some encouraging words to keep on and to know that I may have lost an auntie, but to know that I have 22 other aunts and uncles that I can give that love to — because I have 22 patients,” she said. The woman encouraged McJunkins for a couple of days reminding her that just because she lost her aunt, she still has love flowing to her from others. McJunkins comes to work and the personal enrichment between her and her patients is mutual as their energy feeds off each other, she said.
“I help them feel better and more comfortable like they’re at home,” she said. “That’s why I talk to them so much. I don’t want them to feel like we are robots coming to take care of them and then go home. I want them to feel as comfortable as possible. So, if they have grandchildren who don’t come in here to see them, I’ll sit in there and spend a couple of 10 or 15 minutes, asking them about their kids, their life, and what they did in their past.”
Listening to the resident’s stories encourages them to feel more comfortable to come out of their rooms to interact with other people, McJunkins said. And it adds a bright spot to McJunkins’ day.
“Everybody needs that extra love, attention and care,” she said. “We’re caregivers, so you can’t really give care if you don’t give emotional care, too.” For more information visit: https://www.bradfordok.com/