Elizabeth Geist has a clear road before her as a nursing student at OSU/OKC.

by James Coburn – staff writer

Elizabeth Geist asks nurses a lot of questions while being a nurse technician at Mercy Hospital in Oklahoma City. She is in her second semester in becoming a registered nurse by earning an associate degree at OSU/OKC.
She has five weeks of course work left before graduation. Her course work is general for now, but that will change with on-the-job training when she chooses the type of unit to serve as a registered nurse.
“Right now, I can’t decide between the ER, surgery, or the ICU as a nurse. So, I’m hoping clinicals will help me figure that out,” she said.
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“Right now, we are learning a lot of medical/surgical things,” said Geist, 20. “We are learning about ABG (arterial blood gas) values, and that’s very important when it comes to ICU or ICU step down — learning those blood values. So that’s been very interesting. I’m really enjoying my studies right now. It’s all right up my alley.”
Geist had an early introduction to what nurses do when she was 13. She had two surgeries in one year. The care she received brought her to consider a career in nursing. She has her heart set for long nursing career at Mercy Hospital.
Geist does everything unlicensed personnel can do during her 10th month at Mercy. She starts IVs, implements catheters, and does wound care on the orthopedic, urological, neurological units. Procedures include a lot of hip and knee replacements and plans of action for neurological patients who are bed bound.
“Just kind of being here and seeing all of the things they have to do, I just got very interested in what they are doing,” Geist said.
She knows there is a lot of variety of learning opportunities for nurses working in the emergency room. One never knows who is going to be their next patient, she said.
“You never know what’s going to happen that day. I had clinical in the ER, I did a lot of skills and learned a lot of different things. So, it was really cool,” she said.
Geist was able to observe 15 different problems people experienced when doing her clinical work.
“Surgery is very interesting. From my experience — I had a problem, and they opened my leg, fixed me up and I haven’t had a problem since then. It’s very cool to see that whole process of someone being fixed in a two-hour span.”
The critical nature of an intensive care unit intrigues her. There are many aspects of nursing that overlap and require quick thinking. There are certain things for a nurse to watch for in the ICU. The immediate needs of a patient must be dealt with quickly whenever problems surface.
“You have to be right there with the patient fixing any needs they have,” Geist continued. “Working here as a tech during nursing school has helped me so much,” she said. “It’s helped me with my studies, but also I’ll notice when a patient has a weird side-effect going on — maybe they’re a little bit more confused. It has helped me figure out they’re confused. What is wrong with them that’s making them like this?”
During her lunch break or when her patients are sleeping, Geist will pull out her note cards and study a bit. Anytime she has a question, she will just look over at one of the nurses and say, “Hey, what does this do?” And they all give her a very detailed explanation. The nurses help her to learn by putting matters into perspective. Every day is tantamount to clinical work during her time at Mercy.
“So, it’s been really helpful,” she said.
Geist said the nurses tell her they hope she will continue working as part of their unit and stay. They are excited she is becoming a nurse, she said.
“I love the culture here. Everybody is so nice. I’ve never had a bad experience here and it’s also close to home,” she said. “So, I definitely just want to stay here.”
Geist said she is grateful for not being a nurse during the more intense periods of COVID-19.
She still lives with her family and her mother was having chemotherapy that placed her immune system at greater risk.
The fact that many nurses left the profession during the pandemic has motivated Geist to get through school and join the workforce during a time of need.
For More information visit: https://careers.mercy.net/.