by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Julie Jennings, RN works at Oklahoma Center for Orthopaedic and Multi-Specialty Surgery (OCOM) where their mission is to treat each patient and their family as if they are your own; each patient, each family, each and every time. Julie takes that mission to heart as her compassion for her patients shines through.
I asked Julie to tell me why she is a nurse and why she works at OCOM. “When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a veterinarian. That’s all I seemed to think about as I took care of my pets. Soon, the idea of being a veterinarian changed into wanting to work in the medical field helping people. I started as a CNA in a hospital and enjoyed it so much, I had a new goal in sight; I wanted to be a nurse. I moved further along, went to school, studied hard and became a nurse. Oh, I still love animals but I am happy helping people,” she said. As far as working at OCOM, this is a great place with wonderful people. We all work together and teamwork is very important,” Julie said.
Julie loves her job as a nurse. “I like to know that I am playing a very important role in each of the patient’s life. It’s almost like I have a desire to fix someone that’s broken, taking care of their problem and knowing that they feel better after the surgery,” she stated.
“I’ve been with OCOM for six years and I love working here,” Julie said. “I usually take care of fifteen to twenty patients a day. I do a lot of testing on the patients, running EKG’s, etc. making sure everything is ready for their surgery. My favorite part of my job is when I meet a patient and really get to visit with them; learning the need of each person that comes in.”
Julie’s strength and motivations come from those encouraging words spoken by the patients; ‘I am so grateful for you, thank you for taking good care of me,’ along with the kind gestures that the patients continue to give. Sometimes, it is the smallest act of kindness that means the most to the patients,” Julie said. “It can make both of us very happy. To me, it is the outcome of the patient that is most important,” she added.
Asking Julie what qualities make a good nurse, she replied, “Personally, I think a nurse needs to be a bit of a social person; being able to talk to the patient and be able to explain everything that is going on. The best advice that I ever got was when I was told that a nurse needs to treat each patient as if they were your own grandmother. I will never forget that.”
What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field? “I would tell them that even though there may be some rough days, don’t give up! When you feel like you are ready to give in, remember why you wanted to become a nurse to begin with. It will be the best job you will ever have, in the long run,” Julie replied.
Julie is married to her wonderful husband Lee. They have two daughters, Molly, seven years old and Emersyn, three. “Molly is involved in softball and Emersyn is our little dancer. Between the two of them, most of my spare time is spent with my family,” Julie added.
Julie and her family also have two four-legged friends; their mixed breed, rescue dogs, Baxter and George. Baxter is a TDI (Therapy Dog International). Baxter has made many trips to different hospitals, adding a ray of sunshine and happiness to the patient’s life. “The patients love it when Baxter pays them a visit,” Julie said.
I asked Julie to describe herself. “I am very energetic, very happy and very talkative,” she said with a laugh. “I know all of the patients and I love getting to talk to them and listen to the stories they have to share. They all have such a history of stories to tell,” she replied.
There is something unusual about Julie and her family. Julie has two sisters and two brothers-in-law that are nurses also. “If anyone gets sick in our family, we are covered,” Julie said with a laugh.
If you were going to describe your life in one word, what would it be? “That word would be..…OUTGOING.”
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