Story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Anita Bhandari, RN, and Reena Daniel, LPN, say their lives have been enriched by their nursing careers at Epworth Villa, located in Oklahoma City.
“We always strive to give the best care possible,” Daniel said.
Both women are charge nurses at Epworth on the skilled nursing unit, and both are furthering their education to advance their careers. They thrive on learning.
Daniel is working toward her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing at Oklahoma State University, while Bhandari is working toward becoming a nurse practitioner with a focus in gerontology. (story continues below)
Bhandari had already worked for one year as a CNA at Epworth Villa before becoming an RN. Helping seniors at Epworth is her purpose in life.
“That’s why I’m furthering my education,” she said.
Seven years ago, Bhandari began working at Epworth after earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Wichita State University.
Daniel never thought she wanted to be a nurse even though all her family is in the medical field. However, her aspirations changed when she worked as a CNA at Mercy Hospital. She went to nursing school at Platt College where she earned her credentials to become an LPN. She joined the team at Epworth more than 10 years ago.
Today, Bhandari and Daniel arrive at work in the morning for their assignments. They make sure the certified medication aides and certified nurse aides are there. They know from their reports who among the residents needs some extra care.
The staff has a methodology of best practices to ensure that everybody is cared for according to each resident’s acuity level.
“I know I can go to anybody,” Bhandari said. “If I have any concerns — if I have anything I want to bring up to my administrator, she is very open to any of our ideas and she goes for it. It just feels like a big family. I’ve been here for so long. I had my bridal shower, my baby shower here and everything. We’re a community, we’re just bonded together, and we work well.”
This inviting sense of community transfers to all stages of residential care. Bhandari said it touches her heart to see people’s lives change from being independent to being more dependent on others.
“That change is very hard mentally and physically once you get into that age,” she said. “And for that change it just makes a big difference to have somebody there listening to you.”
The first encounters a nurse has with a patient is always important, Bhandari said. Getting to know a resident’s needs brings opportunities to learn how to motivate and encourage them during challenging times. Patients are assessed as individuals to tailor a personalized plan. Bhandari learns what sustains a person’s wellbeing. For some it’s being home with their pets. So, they will share photos and talk about what is dear to them.
In her own life Bhandari sets herself at ease by being with her 4-year-old daughter and family. Writing is relaxing for her, too. Her life is well balanced by being a nurse.
“I’ve just loved working here,” Bhandari said. “I know there are changes in leadership, rules, and protocols. Change is always difficult, but I’ve always loved working here. It’s a big part of my life. I’m very grateful for Epworth Villa.”
As with Bhandari, Daniel is mother as well. She is married with two children.
“So, pretty much right now, I’m pretty busy with working and taking care of the family and being in school,” Daniel said.
She loves to read and these days most of her reading comes from textbooks for learning.
“I love being a nurse, I wouldn’t want to do anything other than what I’m doing right now,” she continued.
Daniel is grateful for being a nurse in a skilled nursing unit, so she doesn’t visualize a nursing career in management. Her patients receiving skilled nursing care are generally there for a month, two weeks or possibly 100 days.
“I want to be on the floor where I can interact with patients and families. It’s what I enjoy doing,” she said. “I love when they get here, they are not able to do basic things and when they leave, they’re able to function on their own. When they leave, they always say thank you and they tell us how great we were. We have a lot of patients the come back because they love the care that we gave them. We love working here because it’s a great place to work and a great place for the residents. And, we really strive for these patients to be well taken care of, so when they leave here, they leave here happy.”
For more information visit: www.epworthvilla.org.