Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
Established in 2004, Valir Hospice Care provides special care for people who are terminally ill. This involves a team-oriented approach that addresses the medical, physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient. Hospice also provides support to the patient’s family or caregiver. Valir Hospice currently has offices in Oklahoma City and Kingfisher, OK.
Amy Walkup, RN is the administrator for Valir Hospice. She has been with the company for six years. “It’s actually a family thing,” Amy said. “My granny was an active director in the same nursing home for thirty-six years, my mom was a dietary manager and my sister is also a nurse. Working with the older population has been bred into me,” Amy commented. “I can’t image doing anything else,” she added. (story continues below)
Amy grew up in Paden, OK. Even though Amy was sure she would be a coach or an FBI agent when she got older, she knew that the medical field was the career that was suited for her. Amy attended Gordon Cooper for her LPN and Seminole State College for her RN. She has been a nurse for twenty years.
“My first job as a nurse was the three to eleven shift when I was a charge nurse at Meeker Nursing Center in Meeker, OK. I knew that after everything was said and done, this was definitely the right career for me.”
“Becoming a nurse was actually an accident,” Amy said with a smile. “I was working in the dietary department in the nursing home where my granny worked and I hated it. I always loved interacting with the residents instead of washing dishes. At the time, the administrator saw right through me and knew I wasn’t happy with that position. She approached me and asked if I wanted to train as a CNA. I immediately began training, and loved it. That is when I worked my way up to an RN.”
“Being a nurse can be one of the most rewarding jobs that you will ever have. Personally, I feel rewarded every day as I help others get better. It tells me that I am serving a purpose in life. I feel like I have a positive attitude and try to promote confidence and hard working ethics, along with plenty of compassion. On the other hand, being a nurse can be very challenging. In Hospice, I encounter very odd situations at times and must be able to think on the fly, which is not always easy to do,” Amy commented.
When asking Amy to describe herself, she told me that she has always been a hard worker. “I was taught from a very young age that if I do something, I should always do it to my best ability. Being a good nurse is the thing about myself that I take the most pride in. I strive every day to learn and be better so that I can continue to be an example to my staff, my patients and their families.”
“As administrator, I consider myself a leader. I don’t carry a caseload but I get to help with admissions and I fill in when other nurses need me to. I want to give credit to one of my mentors; Darlene Griffith, one of my instructors in LPN school. She taught me how to be professional and just how impactful we nurses can be. Between administrative duties, I do audits, help the staff with issues and sometimes, do visits,” Amy commented.
What advice would you give to someone interested in going into the medical field? “I would tell them if you are willing to work hard, do it! If not, it’s too important of a job not to do your best. Until a person actually becomes a nurse, they will not know how rewarding it is.”
How has the Coronavirus changed your life? Amy replied, “The Coronavirus has made it really difficult for the Hospice residents. A lot of the staff aren’t able to see a lot of the patients in nursing homes due to visiting restrictions. Hopefully, this pandemic will all end soon. I know it changed a lot of vacation plans for everyone; my sister and I had planned a trip to England last year and had to cancel. All of that seems trivial though compared to the thousands of lost lives.”
Asking Amy to sum up her life in three words, she said, “Keep on truckin’.”