by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Cedar Ridge Behavioral Hospital is where they provide short-term, inpatient psychiatric and long-term residential services for children and adolescents. This is also where you will find Bridget Soliman, RN/Campus Supervisor. Bridget has been a nurse for twenty-three years and has worked at Cedar Ridge in child psychiatric nursing for three years.
Growing up in Midwest City, OK, she had big dreams when she was a little girl. “I actually wanted to be a Hollywood movie star but that didn’t work out,” she said with a smile. “My next choice was to be a nurse with a big push from my father, Carl Sawyer. He was huge in this area and he always encouraged me to do something in my life that would help others. He also put everyone else before himself and that is a trait that I will always strive for. I was glad that he got to see me become a nurse before he passed away in 2011. He was proud of me and I can only hope that I can be half the human he was, ”Bridget said. “Both of my parents were supportive of me,” she added.
Asking Bridget why she became a nurse and how she came about working with children, she replied, “It was my father and a dear friend that pushed me to do something with my life when I was twenty-eight. I realized that nursing was for me; there was such a flexibility in nursing so I thought I would give it a try, so I jumped in and did it! I attended OSU for nursing. I graduated at the age of thirty-three and my life changed forever, for the better.”
What qualities do you think make a good nurse? “I think a nurse needs to have compassion, empathy and sympathy when necessary. It’s taking all of these qualities and rolling them into one. Teamwork and good organization skills play a very important part in being a nurse too. As far as being a leader or a follower, I think that I am a little of both. I know it would benefit me to be more of a leader but I am okay with being a follower too,” she commented.
Bridget’s biggest reward that comes from being a nurse is being a role model to her children. “I have a son who is going to nursing school and plans to get his practitioner as well,” she said with excitement! A mother’s pride was shining through.
What is your biggest challenge? “Since I am the Campus supervisor, of course, I want to make everyone happy. The scheduling and happiness of the others don’t always go together but I do try but sometimes, I fall short. My goal is to have everyone working as a team from shift to shift,” Bridget said.
Bridget has a busy day at work and starts pretty early. “The first thing I do as a floor nurse is start making a daily staff assignment and a security check. In mental health, security and safety are number one. Then, I pass medications and assess the patients at the same time. I then get vital signs and start charting. When the doctor comes in, I assist by bringing the patients in one by one. This is a perfect time for me to do some more charting, observe the doctor’s assessment and any medications, upcoming discharges or potential residential transfers. I make sure the mental health techs are doing okay. I note any new orders and work on discharges. I usually get multiple phone calls from parents and staff,” she commented.
Asking Bridget to describe herself, she said, “I am a pretty laid back person for the most part. I love to laugh and make people laugh. I like to stay organized and focused. I love spending time with my family. I like to stay positive; I’ve always been the glass is half full person. My hobbies include swimming, Netflix, skating, and Facebook scrolling and TikTok.”
How has the Coronavirus changed your life? “There are several things that I miss; going out to the movies and hanging out with friends. As a nurse, wearing a mask is so hard; it gets hot and conversations are hard to understand. I miss seeing people’s smiles and miss them seeing mine.”
Asking Bridget to sum up her life in one word, she replied, “Resilient and evolving. Sorry, but you get two.”