by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
When you visit SSM St. Anthony’s Shawnee Hospital, you will be treated with the utmost care and respect. Among the highly qualified professionals, you will find Desirae Spoon, BSN, RN. “I chose nursing because I knew it would challenge me in every aspect of life; mentally, physically, emotionally, intellectually and spiritually. I am able to make a positive impact in the lives that I interact with. I chose the emergency department because with every shift, I am learning something new and I get to interact with people of all ages and backgrounds. Every day, there is a new challenge in the E.R. that allows me to grow as a nurse. I consider it a real privilege to be a nurse, caring for others,” Desirae explained.
Growing up in Shawnee/Tecumseh, Desirae attended East Central University in Ada, OK. Desirae’s first official job as an RN was as a public health nurse at the Absentee Shawnee Tribe Little Ax Health Center. “I first started working there in 2013 as a Patient Registration Clerk. I was so happy to get my foot in the door in the medical field. I applied for nursing school and was accepted that fall 2013 and began nursing classes that spring 2014. I was so grateful that my job was willing to work with me and my school schedule to allow me to still have an income and go to classes. That was a long drive from Shawnee/Tecumseh to Ada. I was thankful to be able to still have some income plus I was able to interact with experienced nurses and providers for any questions I had. From my last year of nursing school, I was moved from patient registration clerk to nurse intern with my dear friend Kristie McGuire in Public Health. Working with her and seeing what the job entailed made me want to become a public health nurse. After finishing school and getting my license in 2016, I stayed as a public health nurse but realized I was missing out on bedside nursing with more hands on skills that I hadn’t been able to experience. That is when I took the chance and applied at the ED dept. and got hired. I had been interested in the ER since during my last semester in my senior year.”
“While I was in nursing school, there were several mentors that encouraged me along the way; Kristie McGuire and Joyce Gelino gave me tips and advice that helped me in big ways. In fact, I still go to them for advice every now and then,” Desirae said with a smile.
Recently, Desirae was recognized on KFOR-TV news as one of the outstanding nurses that is serving on the frontline at SSM Health St. Anthony’s Shawnee Hospital. Asking Desirae how she would describe herself, she replied, “I am a person who is passionate, a great listener and I am always willing to learn. I put my family first in all my decisions in life and I think of others before myself. I thrive on communication and teamwork,” she commented. “Without a team and encouragement, whether it’s at work or my family, I wouldn’t be where I am today without them,” she added. “I like to stay positive about everything.”
How has the Coronavirus changed your life? “Oh, it has changed my life in many ways,” Desirae replied. “Mostly, I see changes with my husband, Deric and my three children. With staying home, the family is closer than ever before. I have a big family and we are used to seeing each other during holidays and birthdays. We have been keeping our distance but I can tell my kids are missing their friends and cousins. There has been an increase on FaceTime. I also noticed that my kids aren’t arguing with each other as much as before,” she said.
“With COVID-19, I take precautions at work. I bring extra clothes and an extra pair of shoes, in a sealed bag. I shower at the hospital before I leave work. I leave my badge, markers, and stethoscope at work, in a sealed bag. I don’t take anything home. I keep my work shoes in a bag to keep from contaminating anything in my car and a can of Lysol to spray my clothes, etc. Then, when I get home, I remove my clothes in the garage and head to the shower-again.”
As a nurse, what word best describes your life. “That would be perseverance.”