CAREERS IN NURSING
MAKING A DIFFERENCE: LIFE IS BETTER WHEN THERE IS TEAMWORK
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Knowing that a nursing staff is working together in common cause to make a difference is important for patient care, said Amber Williams, RN, Bone & Joint Hospital at St. Anthony.
She became a registered nurse four years ago after graduating from Rose State College in Midwest City. Afterwards, she worked at OU Medical Center for four months. The rest of her career has focused on orthopedic care at Bone and Joint.
“I came here specifically because I had a friend where I went to school with and she liked working here,” Williams said.
Williams first nursing job was in oncology and she wanted a change of pace. Williams had been a CNA when attending nursing school. She loved it and wanted that feeling again by going to a hospital that focuses on the type of nursing she loves.
Williams also plans to go back to school to become a physical therapist. So as a nurse, Bone and Joint offers plenty of opportunities to be around physical therapists.
“Before I make that decision, because it’s a doctorate now instead of a masters, I want to make sure that’s what I want to do before I commit to it,” Williams said.
In her current role as a nurse, she cares for post-operative patients out of surgery. She helps to rehabilitate them with mobility when they cannot move. She helps patients to walk again and also provides pain management.
“Some of the people are older. They don’t want pain medicine. They’ve heard a lot of things about addictions and stuff,” Williams said. “They’d rather lie in the bed and be still. So there’s a lot of education of what they can and can’t do. What they should and should not take. It’s okay to take your pain meds if you’re hurting.”
Williams encourages post-operative patients to regain their independence with their new joints.
She has a proclivity for health care. She was a senior in high school when nursing grabbed her attention. She took a graphic design class and began to explore the career field. She learned it was very competitive.
“I grew up poor and I needed guaranteed money. I wanted to do something that I loved but I wanted it to be profitable as well,” she said “I didn’t have kids at the time but I didn’t want my kids growing up poor.”
Williams said she started out wanting to be a veterinarian. Science was always her favorite in high school, so she took an anatomy class.
“I wasn’t sure about nursing specifically, but I had a lot of friends who had degrees in nothing,” she said. “And so I didn’t want to become a dentist and hate it, so I decided I would become a nurse and work the field to see what I like and what I wanted to continue.”
Williams learned to cherish nursing as a CNA in a nursing home. Now she likes working at Bone and Joint because the staff works well together, she said.
“We all work really well together. We all look out for each other,” she said. “We’re just really nice to each other and a lot of times you don’t get that in the nursing career field. I actually left and went to the VA for a little bit because I’m also in the National Guard.
“I thought, ‘I want to go help out my fellow vets.’”
Soon she began missing the camaraderie and friendships evident at Bone and Joint, she said.
“The teamwork brought me back. I was only there for a few months,” Williams said.
Williams said she has never asked anyone for help who reacted with a bad attitude toward her at Bone and Joint. Teamwork flows from management on down. The managers are willing to help when there is a need on the floor.
“That sets the tone. They say it rolls downhill,”
Management at Bone and Joint also has good listening skills. There is not one manager at Bone and Joint that Williams is afraid to approach.
“Sometimes you have that boss and it’s like, ‘I’m not talking to her. You go tell her,’” she said. But not at Bone and Joint.
One of her ideas for employee satisfaction was to have a gift shop in which the nursing staff earned points to purchase a product.
“We got a lot of cool stuff we can get. We can get scrubs, we can get mugs, we can get movie tickets and gift cards to go out to eat,” Williams said.
Suggestions don’t disappear when submitted to management. “They actually read it and take the time to respond,” she continued.