story and photo by Vickie Jenkins
Walking back to the therapy unit, I meet Joe Marbell, LPN. I am watching him interact with one of the children that he cares for, a cheerful boy named Ladik. The two of them are in the sound room doing Karaoke. Ladik sings as Marbell plays the keyboard. It looks like both of them are having a good time. It’s easy to see this is just one of the teachable moments that Marbell shares. Watching from the side is a pretty teenager, Thava, listening to the music and waiting for Ladik to finish so they can play air-hockey.
Marbell is one of the Therapy nurses at the Pediatric Medical Rehab Unit at the Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital; where goals are made and lives are changed. This is where miracles happen.
Marbell comes from a family that has multiple members in the medical field. “I have three aunts and a grandmother that are nurses, an uncle and a brother that are dentists and a brother that is a Physician in Guyana, West Africa. When I was young, it was pretty much determined that I would grow up to be in the medical field. I knew it,” he says with a laugh. “I wasn’t sure but I knew that I would end up caring for others. I’ve been a nurse since 1999. My first job was in private practice, taking care of a gentleman that was an actor. His sister was one of the first Zig Field Follies. It was a very interesting job at the time,” he comments.
Marbell got his LPN at Moore, Norman Technology. He is currently working on his Associate from Rose State and plans on going to UCO in the fall to further his education.
Asking Marbell what three qualities make a good nurse, without hesitation he replies, “A nurse has to be loving, first and foremost. Second, a nurse has to be flexible and third, a nurse has to be focused.” “What is your best quality as a nurse? “ I ask. ‘Oh, it’s definitely being disciplined. I have to stay disciplined to myself.”
Asking Marbell what his most rewarding part of his job is, he replies, “I don’t have any regrets about my job and I have never dreaded coming to work. In fact, I look forward to waking up and coming to work each day. I look forward to working as a team and seeing the kids progress each and every day,” he answers with a look of assurance about him. “I can honestly say that I love my job.”
“How would others describe you?” I ask. One of his co-workers, Micah, volunteers to give his opinion about Joe. “You couldn’t ask for a better guy. Joe is a hard worker. Working with the kids, he pushes kids in a way that entertains them, pushing them towards a goal. The kids are always smilin’ and laughin’ around Joe. Joe is disciplined for himself and others, motivating to achieve greater things. He is really into fitness too,” Micah adds. “Not only for the patients but also for the staff if they want to join in. Joe keeps us in line. The only time I don’t want to see Joe is when I’m eating something I’m not supposed to,” Micah says with a laugh.
“Are you into any sports?” I ask Marbell. “I’m into Martial Arts. I’m also into exercise. I am a bit into both of those. Most of all, I love spending time with my family.” Asking Marbell what inspires him, he replies, “My biggest support is my family. My wife is such an encourager about everything I do here. The nursing, speech, PT, OT and dietary. I feel like I have to reach out to these children and I see things evolving more each year. I see the progress growing all the time.”
“What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field?” With a sincere answer, Marbell replies, “I would tell that person to follow their heart and do their job for the right reason. Don’t do it for the pay or the hours, just make sure they care about what they are doing; do it for the patients they are caring for. Follow your heart, first and foremost. Everything else is just a bonus.”
Watching Joe and Micah interact with the children is quite a treat. Karaoke, air-hockey and high-fives. Smiles and laughs and ‘Joe watch me,’ come from Ladik. What a great place to watch miracles happen.