CAREERS IN NURSING
HELPING NEW MOMS AFTER BIRTH: INTEGRIS SOUTHWEST
by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
At Integris Southwest, you will find Laura Shodall, BSN, working in the Women’s Unit, specifically working with women after delivery. Laura spends time educating and helping women with their new arrival.
Laura grew up in Redondo Beach, California, which is a beach town outside of Los Angeles. In 2012, she moved to Oklahoma to go to school at Oklahoma Christian University where she received her BSN.
“I love working in the Women’s Center,” Laura comments. “I wanted to be a nurse tech in college but I was so busy with nursing school, my political science minor and music commitments to keep my music scholarship, I’ll have to admit I was a busy bee!” she added.
When asked if anyone had an influence on Laura being a nurse, she replied, “I would have to say my mother was a very big influence on me. She worked as a pediatric dental hygienist so she went through a lot of the same physiology and biology classes. Growing up, I didn’t even notice that she was influencing me at the time and educating me on several occasions. Nursing sounded like a great fit for me because it combined caring and science.”
What qualities make a good nurse? I asked Laura. “I think it is incredibly important for a nurse to be unbiased. It is my opinion that prejudices inhibit a nurse from giving quality care. Thoughtful and careful reflections on one’s own prejudices, whether it’s about someone’s race, religion, or lifestyle, allow us nurses to step back and ask, am I giving my best care? It’s not our job to judge who deserves healing; it’s our job to do the healing. I also think it is important for a nurse to be mindful of others, especially our co-workers. I can’t tell you how stress relieving it is to hear, I already did that for you. It really sets the tone for a shift. Since I work nights, I try and tie up loose ends for my day shifters, because who wants to be bombarded at 0700, right? ”
Describing herself in 3 words, Laura said, “I am easygoing. I make sure the patients know that I am there to take care of them, no matter what they want or need. They should never think they are bothering me. I’m doing my job! Next, it would be empathetic. I’m a very emotional person and I cry at the drop of a hat. It also means that my patient’s pain is my pain, which is something that I had to learn; leave my work at work and do not take it home with me. Sometimes, that is a little hard to do. Last but certainly not least, I would say, goofy. I like to have fun and laugh. As a nurse, I think you have to.”
“I enjoy working here at Integris Southwest. My favorite thing about my job is that I get to ensure a good start for a baby. During the baby’s first few days of life, I make sure that the baby is held, swaddled, fed and being handled safely. I can never be sure what life is like post hospital for these babies, and now and again, I worry, but as long as they’re my patients, I take care of them as if they were my own. I love educating and helping my new moms at this very stressful but joyful time in their lives, which is leading to happy and healthy babies,” Laura said.
Laura’s advice to others going into the medical field would be to… “Prepare for a long life of learning. You never truly stop learning once you get out of school. Evidence based practice is so important. You find yourself flipping through articles just like you did before. You owe it to yourself and your patients to know current research recommendations, so be ready to read and study again!”When Laura is not working, her hobbies include going to movies, board games, traveling, reading, watching baseball and spending time with her friends. She also has a cat named Duck. “My greatest reward as a nurse is helping new moms that otherwise would have been frightened, confused or anxious during their post-birth stay. Sometimes, all it takes is a gentle touch or a reassurance that they are doing a great job. I am rewarded just knowing that I give my patients the knowledge and confidence to start their amazing journey of motherhood,” Laura said, with a smile.