by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Once a nurse, always a nurse, or so is the saying and also, the case with Karen Filippo, RN. Karen has been a nurse for over twenty years, working in several different hospitals over the years. Most of her time has been spent working in the NICU at Mercy. “I’ve worked in many different areas of the hospital,” she said. “Now, I’m at Oklahoma Heart Hospital and have been here for almost two years. I work in Rehab, allowing the patients to get better after having heart problems. I’ve been a nurse for so long, I can’t imagine doing anything else with my life,” she said. “Nursing is definitely what I like doing.”
What is the favorite part of your job? “I like being able to take care of all of the patients that come in here to do their exercise therapy. The patients are usually on a certain exercise program, coming in several times a week. On an average, the patient is usually here for a total of three to four months; enough time to get to know the patients pretty well. Of course, all of us take care of all of our patients; when we schedule a patient, it doesn’t mean that each individual will be seen by the same nurse. We have great teamwork here and take care of any one when help is need,” Karen commented. “I love helping the patients achieve their goals. With a few encouraging words, that can help motivate the patients to get going and try a little harder,” she said. “Of course, we all want the same thing, to know that we have played a small part in their lives.”
Coming from a military family, (Air Force), Karen lived in many different places, all over, but moved here to Oklahoma in 1980. She attended OSU and UCO. “Oh, I’ve been in Oklahoma so long, I’m definitely considered an Okie,” she said with a laugh.
Karen is a great encourager when it comes to helping the patients with their exercising. “Some people think that all we do is watch the patients exercise as they do their work out. It’s more than that; we monitor the patents the whole time they are exercising, taking their vitals and monitoring their heart. Of course, we are big on getting our patients healthy so we have a guide to tell them facts about eating healthy, along with certain diets. Each patient is different in their own way,” Karen commented.
What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field? Karen replied, “I would tell them to do their best! Go into the field that they are interested in.”
Karen’s most rewarding part of her job is knowing that she has helped the patient get better. “It’s amazing when the patient comes in and they can barely walk and by the time they leave, they can walk out of here without any help. I think the best part is when the patients come and go, on their own.” What qualities do you think make a good nurse? “I think one of the most important qualities that a nurse can have is a positive attitude. I know that when I am a patient, that is one of the first things that I notice about the nurse taking care of me. Being compassionate and being friendly to everyone is inviting to the patient. If the patient is treated with respect and consideration, they will treat others the same way. I also think that if a nurse starts their day with a big smile for their patients, things are going to run smoother that day,” Karen answered.
Asking Karen if anyone influenced her to be a nurse, she said it was something that she wanted to do. All of her brothers and sisters are married and all of them are in the medical field. “None of them live here in Oklahoma but we are definitely a medical family,” she said. “It just seemed to happen that way.”
“My husband and I have been married for forty years,” Karen announced with a bit of enthusiasm. “We love to go hunting together,” she added. “We hunt deer and turkey and take advantage of the hunting season. We have a big trailer so we usually take that on our hunting adventures,” she said. “We consider that our mini-vacations. We love the outdoors,” she added. When I asked Karen to describe her life in one word, she replied, “ENJOYABLE.”
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