by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital is happy to introduce the new Director of Nursing, Mr. Kyle Leemaster. He will provide direct training and supervision to professional nurses at the hospital. He will also work with the nursing department to develop improvement plans and evaluations during the hospital’s expansion. Leemaster is an experienced pediatric nurse with over five years of clinical experience and over four years of nursing leadership experience.
Leemaster comes to The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital from the Pediatric Medical Unit at The Children’s Hospital-OU Medicine. He was the Clinical Manager while at the hospital. Leemaster received his MBA from the University of Oklahoma and his Baccalaureate in nursing from the University of Central Oklahoma.
When I asked Leemaster why he came to the Children’s Center, he replied, “it was an answered prayer.” Working at OU Medical Center, he enjoyed working with children. Since 2006, his career was in nursing. “I was fortunate to get this job as the Director of Nursing. I think prayer had a lot to do with it. The first time I came here, I fell in love with this place. The campus is wonderful and I love the people that work here but most of all, I get to take care of children,” he said with a smile. Leemaster’s favorite thing about working at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital is the overall culture. “The staff greets everyone with a smile, they truly love people and they enjoy their job,” he replied. “As the new Director of Nursing here at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital, I am looking forward to working with the patients and the staff,” said Leemaster. “The nurses here are an incredible team and I’m excited by the opportunity to help them treat more patients,” he added.
“How would others describe you?” I ask Leemaster. “Well, I’m patient, alert and optimistic. I am pretty good at reading people and I think that is an important quality for a nurse. I can feel out the situation and make things better for the patients and their families. I want to make the patients feel comfortable, making their day better. I ask myself, what can I do for them, emotionally and physically?”
I asked Leemaster what he thought his biggest asset was. “I think it is the fact that I can stop before acting upon something. I can talk to the patients and their parents, putting them at ease. I can talk to the nurses as a leader to improve the patient’s outcome. I think my biggest challenge is staffing. Now, I don’t mean staffing as filling the nurse positions, but staffing the nurses to lead a younger generation, getting them to understand the many changes of the medical career. I know that we all have a big influence on others, showing them the true life of a nurse and their patients.”
Leemaster enjoys spending time with his wife, Brittany and their 10-month old son, Kai. Leemaster enjoys running and usually does marathons with his brother. “My brother and I would run cross-country in school and we still enjoy running together. My brother runs faster than me and I keep trying to catch up with him,” he laughed. Asking if Leemaster had any mentors in school, he mentioned the name Matt Bay. “I met Matt when I was becoming a nurse and I am still in contact with him. He is an awesome guy and I know I can always count on him. We have so much in common. He was there for me professionally and he is still a good friend.”
“What do you see in the future as far as The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital goes?” I ask. “Oh, it’s going to be great! We are building a new building with 40 new beds, Occupational Therapy and an Outpatient Clinic. The completion date is somewhere around 2018. We are already growing and I am anxious to see what develops.”
Ending the interview, I asked Leemaster if he had any words of wisdom that he would like to share. “I follow some words, even though it’s a little cheesy; words from the movie, Ferris Beuler’s Day Off. The words have stuck with me and it is actually some good advice.” “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”