Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
Heritage Manor Nursing Center is located on Barr Ave. off of 39th street. As though tucked away, it is a small facility consisting of fifty-two residents, but big in compassion. With a friendly and loving staff, Kyla Barnes, LPN, IP, ADON keeps things moving along in a professional manner. Kyla has been a nurse for thirty-four years and has always had a desire to care for others. (story continues below)
Growing up in Fort Smith, Arkansas and Woodward, OK, Kyla had dreams of being her father’s assistant in the construction business. Later, she knew that she wanted to be a teacher. Being a nurse entered the pictures when she was fourteen years old and her brother was sixteen. Her brother became a diabetic and that is when she knew being a nurse was the career for her.
“One reason I became a nurse was a way to support my son after my divorce. I enjoy working with the seniors. Just visiting with them each day is my reward from them. Sharing conversations with them does us both some good. Seeing their face light up from a simple smile, or hug is amazing,” Kyla said. “Sometimes, just being a listening ear for them can mean the world to them,” she added.
“My first job was at Moorland Nursing Center in Mooreland, OK. It was a long term care facility and I enjoyed working with the elderly. I worked there for eight months until I moved to OKC. My father was my greatest influence in my life. He always stood beside me with encouragement and support. I feel like it was those strong, encouraging words that set me on the path to being a nurse,” Kyla said.
Asking Kyla what qualities make a good nurse, she replied, “I think a good nurse needs to have plenty of flexability and be ready for anything at the last minute. A nurse needs to think outside the box. Empathy, commitment, sense of humor, communication skills, being respectful, and being organized are all important. Also, being able to learn a little more each day makes for a good nurse.”
“The biggest challenge that I see in the medical field is trying to figure out a way to care for my patients, giving them what they need although being told that it can’t be done because there is no pay source. In my opinion, I feel if a person needs nursing home care, that their age should not be a deciding factor. Anything medical should be covered by Medicare and Medicaid. Perhaps, someday, things will get better regarding care for seniors,” Kyla stated.
What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field? Kyla replied, “I would tell them to be sure their heart is ready. Remember, this is no eight to twelve hour day. There are times when things happen and the shift becomes longer. You have to be flexible! Be prepared; you will not be able to turn off the nurse in you when you get home. You will always be trying to solve problems from work, no matter what. Just know that nursing is what you want to do. I’ll have to admit, it gives you a feeling of accomplishment, knowing that you have cared for so many lives and it is the best reward that you will ever receive. The resident’s smile means more than anything, There’s nothing else like it.”
When Kyla was in nursing school, she received an award for state level on a project on child abuse with HOSA. “I traveled to the national HOSA in Philadelphia as one of Oklahoma’s representatives,” Kyla said.
Asking Kyla to describe herself, she answered, “I am a down-to-earth person and family oriented. I love animals! I like cultural events, reading and movies. I have lived in several state and consider South Carolina, my favorite, as my home. I am a nurturing person and consider my job as the perfect job for me. I am both a leader and a follower. I am told that I am a good leader, yet, will follow a good leader. I believe in working as a team.”
“Like everyone else, the Coronavirus has changed my life. I stay home more and miss going to the movies. I practice social distancing, wash my hands frequently and wearing a mask are all important factors.”
Summing up Kyla’s life in four words, she replied, “Workaholic, determined, colorful and rewarding.”