by James Coburn – staff writer
Being an ICU nurse gives Kristi Shockley, RN a comprehensive understanding of each patient’s diagnosis in her unit as a registered nurse at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Midwest.
“I also enjoy the learning opportunity. Every patient is different,” Shockley said. “They have different things going on that sometimes I’ve never seen before.”
Most of her patients she cares for are sedated and are on mechanical ventilators, but some are alert, she said.
“I always enjoy being able to talk to them after they’ve gone through the worst of it. It’s rewarding to talk to them and understand what they have endured for the past few days or weeks — however long.” (STORY CONTINUES BELOW)
She encourages her patients that participating in physical and occupational therapies can lead them to recovery whenever possible.
“What I admire the most is definitely the teamwork,” she said. “Everybody is willing to help one another and lend a hand.”
A common thread she has found in working in several ICU units is that there has always been a helpful hand when needed.
“With the team here I’ve never been told no when asking for help with anything,” Shockley said. “Everybody listens about concerns. Our managers are fantastic in listening to our concerns and doing what they feel is best for the unit. It’s hard to make everybody happy, but here I definitely feel they’ve made the efforts.”
SSM has been one of the best healthcare facilities that she has encountered as a nurse.
“They definitely try to make sure we are well staffed, and we have all the tools that we need to complete our job and doing things efficiently,” she said.
Shockley said being an ICU nurse requires a strong personality when working in high acuity situations, she continued. And when she is not at work, Shockley keeps herself busy by gardening and working out for stress relief.
Nurses all have memorable experiences. Shockley recalls a patient at another hospital who was diagnosed with COVID-19 and had a baby there.
“She ended up defying all the odds. The baby defied all the odds, and I was able to take her to see her baby for the first time after she went through all that for months. I feel like that was very rewarding. That’s one memory that definitely sticks out for me.”
She also looks forward in life. She is currently advancing her education to become a nurse practitioner by being in an acute care program. Her present goal is to stay in acute care as an advanced practice nurse. She is studying online with the University of South Alabama. She is halfway through the program and will graduate in December of 2023.
“Once I graduate, I might change my mind, but as for right now I enjoy the ICU,” Shockley said. “I enjoy the acuity and how it keeps me on my toes.”
Shockley is a nursing school graduate of Oklahoma City Community College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree at East Tennessee State University. She has been with SSM since March but worked with them previously in 2020-21.
Nursing is a great career field to be encouraged, she said. However, nurses encounter things that most people will never experience in life. Many diverse opportunities excel in nursing.
“There are so many opportunities to grow and advance your career with nursing,” she said.
Having been a nurse has helped Shockley understand there are hidden struggles in life that people experience. It could be somebody passing by at the grocery store.
“They could be dealing with a certain diagnosis. You don’t always see that when you are just passing by at the store or on the street,” she said.
SSM also seeks to honor a nurse for exceptional care by offering the Daisy Award.
The Daisy Award is destined for a nurse that exceeds their normal duties in the profession and deserves special recognition. Guests, patients, nurses, providers and employees are invited to nominate a deserving nurse who has made a meaningful difference in patient care. For more information about the nomination process for the Daisy Award, go to
The medical group continues to grow while many providers have joined SSM Health. SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Midwest was purchased in April of 2021 along with those Midwest City clinics.
SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Midwest recently celebrated the 60th anniversary of its original building in Midwest City.
Staff, visitors and community leaders enjoyed cake and punch during the come and go celebration to honor the hospital’s legacy.
For more information or to join SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital – Midwest visit: https://www.ssmhealth.com/careers