by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Meet Michelle Petty, RN, BSN, Critical Care Unit Manager at Deaconess Hospital. As a nurse of 16 years, Petty enjoys her job. A lot of hard work and dedication has gotten her where she is today. Some nurses go into the medical field because their mother or grandmother was a nurse, or several aunts worked in the hospital but not Petty. She felt a real calling for the medical field, knowing that she wanted to be a nurse. Being a very compassionate person, she knew she wanted to help others and knew it was the right decision for her. Now, she knows it was one of the best decisions she ever made.
“What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field?” I ask Petty. “I would tell them if they are going into nursing, go into it with the right heart and the right mind set. Going into healthcare will be challenging and a person will need the right mentality. Know that you will be taking care of patients all day and it is not always pleasant. Have a good feeling about your job and let it show from your heart.” When asking Petty what she thinks her strongest asset is, she replies, “I would say it is my positive attitude, my outgoing spirit and my love for people,” she says with a big smile. “I am such a people person,” she adds.
Asking Petty how she would describe herself in 3 words, she is quick to answer. With a bit of enthusiasm, she replies, “Let’s see, I am fun; I am a happy person. I am very compassionate; I love all of my patients, and I am very competitive; I try to do my best and I aim to succeed,” she says. Now, I can see where her personality blends in with her hobbies. Petty is a traveling coach for her softball team, Oklahoma Exclusive. This is a team of girls, 14 years old that travel all over the US playing competitive softball. Petty has been teaching the team, Oklahoma Exclusive for 10 years now. “Summer is a very busy time for all of us. Most of the girls started out with me at the age of four. These are my girls and to me, they are my extended family,” Petty says. “My daughter is on the team also, so it makes it that much more special. I guess you could say I’m just a busy body, staying active all the time,” she adds with a laugh. As Petty was growing up, she played softball and always enjoyed it. She has been on several competitive teams. “My favorite sport is softball but I love all sports and enjoy playing all of them,” she says with confidence. “It makes sense that my favorite TV show is not actually a show, it is sports. I love to watch football, basketball, baseball, soccer, the list could go on and on.”
I asked Petty if she had a pet peeve that she couldn’t forget about. “Yes, I have one that really gets to me. It is when someone is lazy and not giving their 100%, and that applies for work and when I am coaching the girls. It they are not giving it their all, I let them know,” she says. “How do you think the medical field has changed over the years since you started out as a nurse?” “I think the biggest change is the way nurses and patients aren’t as personal to each other as it once was. I know technology has improved and that is a good thing, but it kind of takes that personal touch out.”
Asking Petty what makes a good nurse, she replies, “I think the most important factor is a nurse that knows how to communicate. Without the communication, you have nothing. A nurse has to be compassionate and know that her patient care is the most important thing at that time. Remember, that patient is looking for the best care ever. Every nurse wants to hear that they are the one.” “What is the most rewarding thing about your job as a nurse?” I ask. “I think it is when you hear the patient tell you how impressed they are with the care that has just been given to them. When the patient leaves the hospital knowing that they were taken care by the one of the best nurses around. That’s a good feeling for both the patient and the nurse.”