by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
Here at Alliance Health Deaconess Hospital, you will find the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, providing care for critically ill or premature infants. Their specially trained neonatal care professionals utilize advanced technology and their NICU is staffed 24 hours a day by highly specialized neonatal care nurses and doctors.
Among one of the nurses in the NICU, is Lisa Pendleton, RNC. Lisa grew up in Oklahoma City, OK and attended Southwestern Oklahoma State University in Weatherford, OK.
Lisa has been a nurse for 28 years. Her first job as a nurse was at OMH, located downtown. Now, she works at Alliance Health Deaconess Hospital, in the NICU, where she has worked for 14 years. “I knew that I wanted to be a nurse when I was a sophomore in school. I have always loved children so I know this is a calling from God to continue to take care of these little babies,” she said.
Asking Lisa what qualities make a good nurse, she replied, “A nurse needs to know when to ask for help when needed, whether it is asking a colleague or a doctor, asking is not a sign of weakness. Babies are not ours; they are only on loan until the babies get better,” she said.
“Working in NICU, it is very important to make the parents feel comfortable. When they see their baby for the first time in NICU, they see all of the equipment, wires and leads, and everything that is going on. It’s difficult for the parents to see their tiny little baby in the middle of all of that. Once everything is explained, the parent’s tension begins to melt away. ” Lisa commented.
“The favorite part of my job is seeing the confidence in the parents as they grow while their baby is in NICU. The parents realize that they can hold their baby, feed their baby and love their baby even though this wasn’t like a usual delivery or like the past delivery with their other children,” Lisa said. “Another favorite thing is the friendships that I have made over the years and continue to make. I still have friends from my very first job as a nurse; watching the babies grow up through the years. The friendships are precious to me,” she added.
Lisa wears many hats at work; Some of Lisa’s accomplishments and recognitions over the last few years include NRC (certification in high risk neonatal care), Nominated for Nurse of the Year from March of Dimes, Teacher/Instructor for NRP (Neonatal Respiratory Program) at Alliance Health Deaconess, Teacher/Instructor for STABLE (Stabilization of baby if baby needs to be transferred out), Bereavement Coordinator, Teacher/Instructor for PRIDE (Parents Responding to an Infant Death Experience).
Lisa shared the most treasured part of her job. “I have a shoe box full of letters, hand-written notes and pictures that I have received from others, telling me how much I touched their life in some way. That is the greatest blessing of all! I even received an invitation to a wedding from one of the babies that I took care of 28 years ago. Yes, I went to the wedding and the family still acknowledges the role I played in ‘this grown up baby’s life.’ My shoebox is full of precious moments consisting of love, time and heartstrings. The contents of my little shoebox are better than any other recognition that I have received,” she said.
I asked Lisa if she knew when she wanted to be a nurse and she replied, “I knew I wanted to be a nurse when I was a freshman in school. My mother worked in a nursing home and always had a gentle bedside manner. That must have been some kind of influence on me,” she said.
On a personal note, I asked Lisa to describe her personality. “Well, I was an only child so I don’t mind the alone time. An occasional night out with my friends and just talking and relaxing is fun. Sometimes, I find it difficult to be in large crowds. I am a good listener and have the ability to really listen and hear what the other person is saying, meeting people wherever they are. I have a lot of patience and a lot of faith. Truthfully, whatever I do, it’s not me; it’s God working through me. When I care for the babies, God gives me passion in my heart, guides my hands enough to start an IV the size of dental floss and that in itself is a miracle,” Lisa stated.
Lisa Pendleton is an excellent nurse, giving tender loving care to the many miracles that cross her path.