by Bobby Anderson,
A few weeks ago Kodi Adams was on the floor as a registered nurse. But for two months the 25-year-old nurse is sitting in her boss’ chair filling in at Integris Southwest Medical Center.
While April Crim RN, BSN, CCRN is taking a managerial rotation, Adams is team manager of the Cardiovascular Care Unit.
She’s keeping her boss’ desk clean while she’s away on her stint and she’s also making sure everyone is keeping their noses clean as well.
“It’s different, just learning how to talk really and how to deal with complaints,” Adams said.
With Crim set to go on the two-month rotation, Adams was approached about possibly filling in.
She had her doubts, but figured the experience would look good on the resume.
As a nurse for almost three years, she’s heard her share of patient and family complaints. But she’s never heard them from a director’s position.
The first week was fraught with peril for Kodi.
“It was scary, trying to learn how to do everything and dealing with complaints and knowing who to grab to go in there and listening to them talk and using the right words,” she said. “It’s getting more comfortable now and I’m learning to use their computer system and what to check off.”
“Luckily, the team manager before me liked to do check-off lists and charts so I have all that and that helps a lot.”
So for now, Adams in in charge – on the same floor she’s usually does floor nursing.
“I was kind of nervous because I still felt like a baby nurse,” she said. “Most people are older than me. It’s weird, not really them telling me what to do but them coming to me. Everyone kind of came to me anyways but now it’s real in a whole new way.”
Adams graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Her leadership training in school brought her to Integris.
“I didn’t know what I wanted to do and kind of fell in love with it,” she said. “I like the hearts. No one is the same. Even people who come in with the same thing they’re all different. I like talking to the patient and I like my staff.”
Just a few weeks ago her staff was her co-workers. Now she’s in charge.
With a change in role comes a different way of thinking and a different vocabulary for sure.
“A lot. Dealing with a complaint last week me in my head what I would have said was not what they said. What I would have said probably would have caused more problems and agitated them a little more. Hearing their words and what they had to say really helped a lot.”
Adams grew up hearing her dad – an Oklahoma City firefighter – tell stories about helping people. She knew she wanted to follow in her dad’s footsteps, not necessarily.
“I knew I couldn’t really see me as a firefighter but this is the next best thing,” said Adams, who graduated among 131-member McLoud High School class.
She went to the University of Central Oklahoma right out of high school before centering on Southwestern Oklahoma State University for her nursing education.
“I like just knowing I made a difference being there for them when they come in and are on their deathbed and don’t even know it and seeing them after their (coronary artery bypass grafts) and they’re a whole new person.”
“Every now and then we’ll have one come back and just seeing their new life.”
Adams entered cardiac care as a new nurse. Her department went from medical surgical to a full cardiac floor.
“I had already been down to cath lab and I saw what they did so I got to see the whole thing through,” Adams said. “There’s a little more responsibility knowing what to do and thinking on your feet with more critical care. But they usually bounce back faster.”
Adams is bouncing back faster, too. She’s learning how to anticipate complaints and understanding that sometimes there’s nothing she can do to make the situation any better but listening with a caring attitude can go a long way.
So has the big chair ignited a passion for Adams to get on the management fast track?
“Not any time soon, but maybe one day,” Adams laughed. “I don’t know. I just really like being out on the floor, taking care of them and making a difference.”