by James Coburn – staff writer
Bradford Village in Edmond is where DeKeria Coleman, LPN, wants to be serving others. As a charge nurse in the skilled unit since November, she strives each day to make skilled nursing patients feel comfortable, she said. Coleman’s smile goes a long way in reinforcing a sense of confidence,
“Most of my patients come in from the hospital, so I try to make it home away from home,” she said.
Patients in the skilled unit are there for rehabilitation. However, Bradford Village will welcome skilled nursing patients to long-term care whenever a patient’s needs change, and they choose Bradford Village.
“I try to go above and beyond to make sure they feel all their needs are being met,” Coleman said.
Nurse managers make a point to introduce themselves to all the new long-term care residents and the skilled nursing patients. This builds trust in knowing they can count on the staff at any time.
Coleman learns about their lives, how they grew up and the families they raised. The elders represent a cross section of daily life.
“They always tell me stories,” she said
The staff makes Coleman’s job easier by creating an atmosphere that makes her want to come to work each day at the top of her performance skills. The result is a high standard of patient care. Bradford Village is a place where nurses need not worry of feeling burned-out, she said.
“It’s always good for me. Everybody plays their part here. If I ever have a question, they are willing to assist me. My aides make it easier for me to perform my job,” she continued. “Administration is great. People who make my job easy is always a plus for me.”
She always wanted to be a nurse.
“When I was a kid, I wanted to be a doctor. I always wanted to do something in this field,” she said. “All of the work that I’ve done in my adult life has been in nursing.”
She’s been a nurse since 2015 when she graduated from Canadian Valley Technology Center, located in El Reno. She was a CMA and a CNA at Accel at Crystal Park nursing home in Midwest City before becoming an LPN.
“When I was in nursing school, my director and my instructors really mentored me,” Coleman said. “They motivated me from day 1. When I first started, they molded me into the nurse I knew I could be. And I still talk to them.”
Coleman said she loved the program at Canadian Valley Nursing Home.
There is nothing Coleman regrets about her career choice.
“I’m actually going forward in my nursing career to do other things,” she said.
She plans to enroll at the OU College of Nursing at the OU Health Sciences Center campus in Oklahoma City.
“I would tell anybody interested in becoming a nurse to go for it. There’s nothing to regret. All we can waste is time.”
She could work in a clinic or other settings, but Coleman said geriatric care has always been her calling. She has always worked in nursing homes.
“I build a family type relationship with the residents. We are sometimes their only family. I build bonds with them, and like coming in and being a light for them. It keeps me around to staying in the profession,” Coleman said.
Patients get to know her as well. They ask how her children are doing. She’s usually spending time with her kids when she is not at work.
“They are into a lot of extracurricular activities, so they keep me busy,” she said.
She is grateful to know her work is not in vain at the nursing center. Her challenges result in Coleman knowing she has done something worthwhile in a patient’s life.
“It touches my life when they give good compliments about the care I provide,” Coleman said. “I’m doing something I love and I’m making them happy at the same time. When they say thank you, it just makes me feel good on the inside. I always come in with the mentality that I want to make these people happy. So, when they give me those compliments, I feel like I’m doing the right thing. My needs are met and theirs.”
She always encourages patients by giving them a pep talk that their efforts to regain strength will pay-off.
“You can do it,” she says, while pushing forth their best effort. “It’s always been a joy to work with them.”
Patients look forward to a familiar face, she said. They become comfortable in knowing the care she will provide.