by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
With some people, taking care of others just comes natural. That was the case for Marla Cordero, LPN at Epworth Villa. “Ever since I was young, I can remember taking care of my mom, my brother and pretty much being a caretaker to the family. I have always been a caring person and liked helping others,” Marla said. “I never gave it any thought to be a nurse. If fact, when I was little, I wanted to grow up and be a princess. Since that didn’t happen, I thought I would try something else,” she said with a laugh.
“When I was twenty-two years old, I remember going to my cousin’s graduation as she graduated from nursing school. When I saw her walk across the stage, it was like a light came on and at that moment, I knew that I wanted to do the same thing. I wanted to be a nurse! I’m not sure exactly what it was, whether it was the recognition of walking across the stage or something that told me that I should do the same, but either way, I’m glad that I had that desire. I guess you could say that it was my cousin who had such an influence on my life. I’ve been a nurse for thirty years and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Marla said.
“I was born here in Oklahoma City, OK. My dad was in the military so I was one of those military brats,” she said. We moved quite a bit, living all over. I even lived in Europe for a while. Somehow, I managed to settle in Missouri and I went to school in Joplin, Missouri. Back then, the nuns taught us and they were pretty tough on us. I will tell you, school was hard! They taught me well so I guess that I absorbed all of that information for nursing. After graduating, I found a job at a nursing home. It was called Bella Vista,” she added. “I can’t believe I remembered that!”
“As far as it goes, I like my job of working with the elderly residents. At one time, I did work with a certified midwife. I did that for eight years and enjoyed assisting in the deliveries. It seems like I did it all,” she said with a laugh. “Right now, I work with the long-term care residents. I like working here because I seem to get along better with these older folks. I talk to them and I think they enjoy the company, especially having the same person each day. A majority of the residents are alert and oriented. They seem to have a sense of humor so I am always joking around with them. They like to be teased a little and of course, they tease right back. I have a back ground of working in skilled nursing where taking care of the residents is different day to day. With the long term care, the residents have a routine. I am sure they like it here and they are all nice and friendly,” Marla said. “I especially like it when the residents miss me if I am gone for a few days. I miss them too. I work with about twenty-five residents. It makes me feel like we are like a big family. As far as which job I liked best, working with the newborns or the elders? It was nice to see a new life begin and it is also satisfying to be there when life ends.”
What qualities make a good nurse? “I think that a nurse, just like with any other job, will love their job or hate their nurse! Residents like consistency. If a nurse tells a patient or resident something, be sure to follow through with it. Your words should be your honor, making you responsible,” Marla replied. Marla feels like her strongest quality is her years of experience. “I try to help the new nurses with anything that I can.”
On a personal note, Marla likes to give her undivided attention to her three children and two grandchildren, Zoe, 10 and Jaxson, 4 years old. They have one dog, Tito and a tabby cat named Hobo. Marla’s hobbies include going to the lake, water activities, swimming, cross stitching, traveling and last but not least, binge watching,
Asking Marla what word would describe her life. She replied, “A word to describe my life? Oh, it has to be, Challenging.”