by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Studying the brain and the mechanisms of how it works intrigue Shane Martin, an outpatient registered nurse within the partial hospitalization program at Oakwood Springs Hospital, located in Oklahoma City. Oakwood Springs opened in February of this year.
“What we like to do is to stabilize the inpatients and step them down into a partial hospitalization program where they can still come to groups like they would in inpatient, but yet they get to go home in the evening and practice what they’ve been learning during the day,” Martin explained.
The patients utilize the coping skills they’ve learned in the group and come back to Oakwood Springs to report the following day, Martin said.
His experience has been that defects of the brain and personality disorders are not in-depth learning experiences gained in nursing school. Martin received training as a psychiatric nurse at the Children’s Recovery Center in Norman. He did his clinical rotations there and went to work there immediately after graduating from the University of Oklahoma with a nursing degree in 2013. Martin was a hairstylist for 20 years before he entered the nursing profession.
“I think it’s the people connection. And I think it’s learning to get a little bit more intimate with people, and knowing their personalities,” Martin said about his joy for nursing.
At first he thought about working in the ER or ICU as many nursing students believe is the standard course, Martin said. “Nurses think about stabilizing the human body physiologically but they sometimes forget that the brain is an organ,” Martin said. “That would probably be the most important organ along with the heart.”
Commonalities among the senior adult patients at Oakwood Springs will often involve comorbidities, he said. It is one aspect he must pay attention to when they are inpatients, he said. Medication management is done by Oakwood Spring physicians in the outpatient setting, but it is limited to psychiatric medication.
“We encourage. We want these people to continue their treatment with their primary care physician,” Martin explained.
Patients range in ages from 18 years and older with some of the inpatients having been in their 80s.
Change of life is a common reason older adults come to Oakwood Springs, Martin said. They are usually not as physically active as they once were.
“A lot of times that causes people to be depressed because they are not moving their bodies,” Martin said.
Sometimes their spouse is not as active as they are in life, or vice versa, he continued. This sometimes causes marital strife, Martin said, and is a major differentiation in people’s lives. They get to retirement age and wonder how they fit into life, Martin said.
Recreational activities are available to patients of all ages. Martin also works in the intensive outpatient program.
“What that is, it’s either a daytime program of 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or our evening program,” Martin said.
The evening program just started at Oakwood Springs, three days a week from 6-9 p.m.
Only group therapy is offered at Oakwood Springs. The partial hospitalization program is a full day event involving five hours of structured therapy involving discussion.
Patients are encouraged to see their own psychiatrists. There is no individual therapy.
“That’s not our model here,” Martin said. “What we do is we want them to have an individual therapist that they see on an individual basis. That way when they step down or they graduate from our program, they still have that person, that point of contact that they’re going to see.”
There are two types of therapy groups designed for the needs of the patients. One is for people with substance abuse problems and/or substance abuse and mental wellness problems. There is also a mental wellness program available for people without any substance abuse issues, Martin said. Activities are designed around those two core areas.
“In afternoons we’ll have recreational therapies. We have a recreational therapist that comes once a week and does group,” he said.
Yoga is offered and a nutritionist does a weekly group. Martin loves yoga, too, and practices what he preaches. There are educational groups focused on medication. As a nurse, Martin wants his clients to understand the type of medications they are prescribed.
“Unfortunately and in particular with the aging population, they may not know,” Martin said.
Martin will individually educate each patient within the first 24 hours at Oakwood Springs.
“Have a list. A lot of them don’t even have a list,” he said.
The Oakwood Springs staff is professional, compassionate and self motivated team, Martin said. They work well together by being able to give direction and take direction, he said.
“That’s a good place to be in when you are doing something different, or to help someone else learn a different way of doing something,” he said.