EDUCATION IN NURSING:
OCU NURSING STUDENT WANTS TO HAVE IMPACT ON PATIENTS
Story Van Mitchell, Staff Writer
Lily Kate Clayton said her own medical injury, as well as medical issues with several family members helped cement her desire to become a nurse.
Clayton is in her second year of an accelerated bachelors of science in nursing degree at Oklahoma City University’s Kramer School of Nursing.
“Very early on, I knew even when I was just a little girl, that I wanted to help people,” Clayton said. “The older I got, the more I realized I want to have a relationship with the people I’m medically helping. I started to steer more toward nursing, and then I had an orthopedic surgery. My brother had an orthopedic surgery. My family lost a child. And then my grandma and my grandpa have had a lot of bouts in the hospital with amazing nurses, and I realized that I want to have the same impact on others that those nurses have had on my family.” (story continues below)
Clayton is part of the new Saints & Stars scholarship program with SSM Health St. Anthony.
The Saints & Stars program is a five-year agreement between SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital and OCU’s Kramer School of Nursing. It is aimed at helping stem the critical shortage of nursing professionals in the state.
The partnership allows students to work part-time with SSM Health while they complete their nursing degree, while also receiving a $3,500 annual scholarship from SSM Health and a $5,000 annual discount from OCU.
Clayton is working at St. Anthony as an extern and patient care technician. She is originally from Fort Worth Texas, and earned her first bachelor’s degree in public health from Austin College.
Clayton said she came to OCU because Austin College has a matriculation agreement with OCU.
“So, myself and a couple other of my old Austin College classmates are here and we love it because it’s just as small as Austin College, and the professors are very eager to help us,” she said. “And, for me personally, I have to work very, very hard for the grades that I get. And, having the small, intimate class sizes allows me to get the help that I need when I need it. I would not trade this school for the world.”
Clayton said she met a group of friends that helps feel at home at OCU.
“Coming out of state, I didn’t think that I would make all that many friends other than the friends I had from Austin College,” she said. “I’ve really gained a wonderful group of friends and many awesome faculty relationships that I will fall back on I know when I’m a nurse myself, and it’s really giving me the opportunities to become the nurse I want to be.”
Clayton said she is getting valuable learning experience working as an extern.
“I’m basically in a nurse’s shadow and I see what a nurse does day to day and get all the fun little tips and tricks,” she said. “It’s like clinicals, but much more intimate and I don’t have to worry about paperwork and I really get to focus on patient care dialogue and charting and putting together medication bags for nurses and learning. It has given me the opportunity to figure out actually what kind of nursing I want to go into.”
Clayton said she originally wanted to do the NICU, but realized she really enjoyed pediatric psychology.
“I think I could really make an impact there,” she said. “My first job out of high school was a YMCA camp counselor, and I’ve been babysitting since I was 14, so kids have always had a special place in my heart. I’m an older sister, so when I got a little brother, it was like having a living baby doll that I got to help my mom with. And, I see that there is a need for a lot of intervention in child psychology and I know I would be a little piece of help in a kid’s life. I could really be a source of good change and hope.”
Clayton is a member of the Gamma Phi Beta sorority at OCU.
“It (sorority) keeps me level, keeps me grounded, allows me to have a little bit of fun while I’m navigating through nursing school, which for any student at any school would be pretty tough,” she said. “I get to go do the little silly events and philanthropic work and the fun formals with my girls and it makes me feel like a normal 20-year-old.”
Clayton said her family is a strong believer in academics.
“Growing up, my family was very adamant about if there’s one thing that people can’t take away from you in life, that’s your education,” she said. “I would not be where I am if my family hadn’t have told me to go out and explore and to follow my heart and really listen to the little voice inside you that’s like, hey, maybe I should be a nurse and maybe I should move out of state and all of these things.”
Clayton plans to graduate from OCU in May 2024.
“Hopefully I will be working at St. Anthony if I’m offered a job or if not at St. Anthony’s, then I would be working on a psychiatric unit with kids’ post-grad before my boyfriend and I move back to Texas,” she said. “We’ll be out here for a little bit longer and get our roots and we both get our professional experience.”
For more information about the Oklahoma City University Kramer School of Nursing CLICK HERE.