CAREERS IN NURSING
MANY MOONS OF WORK – WARR ACRES DON CELEBRATES HISTORY
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Terry Reynolds, RN, and Director of Nursing at Warr Acres Nursing Center became familiar with long-term care as a 9-year-old.
“I started mowing the yard at the nursing home my mother had,” he said of his childhood in Purcell. “We had a place called Broadlawn Manor many, many moons ago.”
His dad purchased the nursing home for his mother because his grandmother had dementia. At the time, dementia was known as organic brain syndrome, Reynolds said.
“Mother had her in one nursing home in which she was very unhappy,” he said.
His mother complained every day to Reynold’s father about her mother’s nursing home care. One day she complained and his father told his mom, “Well, I went and bought you a nursing home, and you run it like you want it. Bring your mom up there and take care of her.”
Reynolds said his mother was a proud woman. She went to the nursing home and fired everyone, he said. The year was 1976.
“You can’t do that. There was nobody to cook, clean or take care of the people,” Reynolds continued. “So myself, my sister, my cousins; we were all up there washing clothes and cooking food.”
His sister was also a nurse and did the laundry. He said even the men’s underwear came out starched and stood up. By this time, Reynolds’ mom had also become a nurse.
Since those days Reynolds has seen changes in nursing home care regulations. When he first got into management for long-term care, Reynolds would spend two hours a day at most on paper work. The rest of his six hours was dedicated to care. Nowadays nursing home nurses have less time to spend with their patients, he said, due to regulations.
A lot of people blame the changes on the Clinton administration, but Reynolds said it was President Richard Nixon’s brainchild.
“The redundancy just causes so much time to be taken away from the patient,” Reynolds said. “I hope at some point it will improve.”
Some of the better aspects of today’s world of long-term care is nutrition and skin care, he said.
“Those have improved,” Reynolds explained. “But I don’t give the kudos out to the paperwork system. I give the kudos out to the nurses. They have bound together and said, ‘Hey, let’s straighten this up.’ So with nurses running things to make sure the quality of care is there, the height of our expectations, education and the abilities to render more appropriate care has been because of nurses.”
He first graduated from nursing school as an LPN in 1980 at the Mid America Technology Center in Wayne. In 2000 he became a nursing home administrator before becoming a registered nurse by attending Platt College in Oklahoma City beginning in 2004.
Nurses at Warr Acres Nursing Center have a lot of longevity, he said. Reynolds admire their ability to cope with change.
“We are called the graying nurses, meaning we’re getting older,” he said of the industry.
He recalled the days when skin wounds were treated with heat lamps. Now that method has been proven obsolete and not an appropriate intervention, Reynolds said.
Metal flip charts were used in the old days of nursing with colors to coordinate shifts. Now everything is inputted into computers, he continued.
“By the same token we have to be honest enough to say, ‘Come help me. This computer does this and I don’t understand why,’” he said. “So changing not only with the ever-changing health care system informatics alone can be overwhelming, but they take that with their stride.”
Quality of care is expected, he said. He said love has kept him in his valtrexlab.com career.
“As I get older there are things in my career that I’ve done that new nurses will never get to do,” he said. “I’ve taken care of World War I vets. I’ve taken care of Ziegfeld Follies Girls. I’ve taken care of Jason Robards family members, the famous movie star.
“I’ve taken care of body guards for Elvis Presley. I’ve taken care of dignitaries, Miss Americas, and not only took care of them but touched history.”
Jackie Kennedy’s best friend was one of his clients. She allowed his nephew to take pictures for a school report. When history is gone, it’s gone, he said.
“We who take care of people in long-term care understand that explicitly,” Reynolds said. “And it’s hard for everybody to understand that we’re dealing with people that have so much to teach us.”