by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
For over a decade, Shepherd Home Health & Hospice has provided quality care to residents all over Western Oklahoma. We are a locally owned, small-town home health and hospice agency with the mission of providing the highest level of quality, attention to detail, and comfort levels for our patients.
Shepherd Home Health & Hospice starts by giving you, your loved one, or your patients a customized care plan to ensure that the best suited services and care are received, even if they change. Our clients know they can trust Shepherd Home Health & Hospice because our entire team is carefully screened and thoroughly trained to provide compassionate, reliable care, whenever needed, where ever needed, even in the comfort of your own home. -Health and Hospice, LLC- (story continued below)
One outstanding individual that you find at Shepherd Home Health & Hospice is Darlene Cardwell, RN who serves as the Home Health Aide and Certified Med Aide/Activities Coordinator. Darlene has been a nurse for twenty-nine years and has been with Shepherd Home Health for eight years. “I love working here,” Darlene said.
Growing up in Arapaho, Oklahoma, a small town in Custer County, at a young age, Darlene knew that she wanted to be a nurse. “When I was growing up, I wanted to be a nurse and a mother. Looks like I got what I wanted,” she said with a smile.” I have always had a strong passion for caring for those in need, especially the older generation. I guess you could say that I was influenced to be a nurse by my grandma, Ruby King. I really enjoy working in home health and being able to assist the patients, allowing them to stay in the comfort of their own home,” Darlene commented.
The biggest reward that Darlene gets from nursing is the relationships that result in the care that she has provided, whether it is directly with the resident or the family.
“I attended nursing school at Western Technology Center in Burns Flat,OK; a small town in Washita County,” Darlene said. “My very first job in the medical field was working at Prairie View Nursing Home in Clinton, OK. I have worked in several places in several different towns but I have to admit, I feel very comfortable being here.”
Darlene’s typical day begins early. “ Most of my patients like to start their day early and I always try to accommodate the patient. This way, they get going in the morning! Once I am through seeing patients, I help out at the office if they need anything or I will help other nurses with their patients if they need me to or if they need me to go see one of their patients,” Darlene said. “Before COVID-19 happened, I would travel to surrounding nursing homes and provide activities and treats to the residents. If I am not working in the office, I usually see thirty to thirty-five patients a week.”
When I asked Darlene to describe herself, she replied, “I am a mother of three girls and a grandma to a host of eight awesome grandchildren. When I am not working, I enjoy following my grandchildren’s school activities and sports. I enjoy all of the little things life has to offer. I love spending time with my family, going to the grandchildren’s sporting events, shopping and watching OU football. Working in the medical field makes me realize how important it is to live life to the fullest and how precious life really is. “
What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field? “It takes someone that has a caring and compassionate heart. Nursing is such a rewarding job but it also has it’s ups and downs. A nurse needs to make quick decisions and keep their composure,“ Darlene said.
How has the Coronavirus changed your life? “It is very challenging but even though we wear PPE and take every precaution, along with social distancing, washing our hands constantly, I am still willing to do my part in the community,” Darlene commented. “As far as my home life goes, I keep in touch with my loved ones. Family is the most important part of my life and it is nice to be able to lean on each other during hard times and we keep each other’s spirits high.
Asking Darlene to sum up her life in three words,” she replied, Blessed, happy and healthy.”