Johnna Barnes has given 38 years of her life to patient care. She loves a challenge, she said.


by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer

Loyalty shines with Johnna Barnes, LPN nurse supervisor at HCR ManorCare in Midwest City. Barnes is proud to have worked for HCR ManorCare for 15 years. She earned her nursing license in 1977 and has plenty of wisdom and experience gained during those years.
Her career is a challenge, Barnes said. And Barnes is not one to shy away from challenges when it comes to helping other with a deeply rooted concern for the welfare of others.
“I’ve got a lot of longevity on my hall. I’ve got a CNA that’s been here for 12 years, one that’s been here 10 years and the other one has been here a couple of years,” she said. “But my staff doesn’t change and they really do a remarkable job.”
They know how to work together like a well-oiled machine.
She trusts those she works with due to their kind hearts, she said. The new administrator and the director of nurses are fine people with compassionate hearts, Barnes said.
The love trickles down, she said.
As a nurse, she brings sympathy, understanding and a lot of patience to patient care. A sense of humor works wonders, she added.
Barnes is the first nurse in her family. She became a nurse sort of by accident, she said. Barnes was invited to take a nursing assistant course in Colorado. She did well on the exam and was recruited to work at a small community hospital.
“I was accepted into the nursing program right out of high school,” she explained.
She learned a lot by observing the floor nurses at the hospital. What impressed her was their working knowledge and their abilities to make a difference, she said.
Barnes said the nurses at HCR ManorCare pass medications to their patients themselves. This allows them to closely monitor what their patient is taking and their reactions to what they’re taking.
“We do treatments. We make rounds with physicians. We’ve got a pretty busy day,” Barnes continued.
Barnes has known some of her residents for many years. Today, that measures five years for the hall she serves.
“But we’ve had people that I’ve taken care of here as long as 13 years,” she said.
She learns all about their family histories from the stories they share.
“They are wonderful stories,” she said. “We’ve got residents that were in Oklahoma during Dust Bowl days. There are World War II veterans, Desert Storm veterans and some really, truly remarkable people.”
Life is celebrated at HCR Manor Care. They recently had a large fall festival full of colorful decorations. The residents play Bingo, make popcorn, watch movies and sporting events.
“There’s a lot of church activities that go on,” Barnes said. “They play cards, dominoes.”
A resident’s council brings residents together with an activity director on a monthly basis. The elders voice things they would like to do or see the staff do better, Barnes said.
“They like to voice if they like the diet they’re being served,” she said. “It’s a place where they can voice their opinion on anything and everything.”
Being able to meet the challenges of taking care of 24 residents on her floor makes her grateful throughout her shift. Their needs are different as some of the residents live with dementia. Other patients on her floor are there for skilled nursing, she said. People are treated for hypertension and have different kinds of disabilities.
When a new resident arrives, Barnes tries to make them feel welcome and comfortable.
“We introduce ourselves. We talk to them. We allow them to tell us about themselves and check on them several times a day,” she said.
They also want to know more about Barnes’ life. So they learn that Barnes likes to cook and spend a lot of time with her 14 grandchildren.
“I have daughters that live on each side of us,” she said. “Those grandbabies I see usually on a daily basis. And we have some in Blanchard and some in Newcastle.”
Barnes would also feel fine about having a loved one at HCR Manor Care. She had a friend there. Nurses always knock on the door before entering a room.
“I feel like the therapists are top-notch. The nurses are top-notch and she received very good care,” Barnes said. “The family didn’t have one complaint about the way she was rehabbed.”