by Vickie Jenkins
It doesn’t happen too often but every now and then, we come across two nurses that just happen to be married (yes, happily married) and both work at the same place. This is the case for Denny and Kayla Hinkle, both RN’s. Denny Hinkle, MSN, BSN, RN is the Nurse Manager of the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit and the Cardiac Decision Unit. His wife, Kayla, works in the Post Coronary Care Unit. Even thought Denny works days and Kayla works night shift, they are both dedicated to their work, caring for the patients. (Story continued below)
Currently, Denny manages both the Cardiovascular IntensiveCare Unit and the Cardiac Decision Unit. “I have been in this role for about a year. I started at Norman as a contract nurse in the CVICU and then the opportunity arose to interview for manager and it seemed like a good fit,” Denny said. “My first job as a new nurse was at Integris Southwest Medical Center in their ICU. That hospital is one of the busiest in the city. The ICU is not specialized and it allowed me to see stroke, cardiac, and medical ICU level patients. The people that I worked with at this facility are some of my closest friends now and some of those memories are some my fondest,” Denny added.
Kayla has been a nurse for five and half years and has worked on PCCU for one and half years. The rest of the time was spent working in step-down cardiac.
Asking Kayla what qualities make a good nurse, she replied, “I think a nurse should pay attention to detail, have critical thinking, time management, have the ability to handle stress well, and believe in teamwork. Throughout our careers, I have been in stressful situations with Denny and he is always calm and collected. From the beginning, I took note of this and decided that I wanted that as a tool in arsenal. I noticed whenever the leader is calm, everyone is calm. Teamwork is the number one quality every good nurse needs. Nursing is not a one-man job, but includes other nurses, respiratory, pharmacy, case managers, physical therapy, occupational therapy, doctors, dietitians, etc. Teamwork is very important for a good nurse,” Kayla explained.
I asked Denny what qualities he thought made a good nurse. To each nurse, they have their own idea of what the most important quality would be. Denny had completely different answers. “A nurse needs to be able to take guidance, be genuine, maintain a sense of humor and think critically. Healthcare is a profession where things change daily and if you get a mindset because that is how it has always been done, it will be your downfall, he said. “Having a sense of humor is vital to surviving as an RN, especially in a high stress area like ICU. Humor is our biggest stress relief. If we can laugh at work for a few minutes, it allows us to better focus on what is needed for our patients,” Denny stated.
As far as recognitions and awards, Denny and Kayla were both recently recognized on KFOR news as nurses on the frontline.
Denny has received the 2016 nurse.com GEM Award finalist for Excellence in Management, March of Dimes nominee for Management, and Nurse of the Year at Integris Southwest Medical Center ICU.
Kayla’s recognitions include March of Dimes 2016 Finalist Rising Star Category, Integris Southwest Medical Center IMC Nurse of the Year 2017, March of Dimes 2018 Nominee Charge Nurse Category, and 2020 Norman Way Nominee.
Denny and Kayla are avid travelers. “We have traveled to numerous countries and all over the US. Last year, we went to Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Hawaii and Greece. We also go to Disney numerous times a year, including every year on Halloween. This year, we were supposed to go to Patagonia for our five year anniversary in May and Thailand for my thirtieth birthday in July, but had to cancel both due to COVID,” Kayla commented.
Pets in the Hinkle family include two dogs that they adopted. “We have two precious, snuggly dogs named Wrigley and Addison. They were both adopted from the Oklahoma City Humane Society. Wrigley is three and she is a Leopard Catahoula, She is hyper, the attention hog and jealous. Addison is two and she is an Australian Cattle dog. She is shy, a little laid back an skittish,” Kayla said.