by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
Born and raised in Oklahoma City, OK, Meagan Barker, RN enjoys her job at Integris Baptist Hospital. Meagan works in the Cardiothoracic ICU. Meagan has been a nurse for 6 years and has worked at Integris for almost 4 years. “I just love my job here at Integris. I feel like I am really contributing to a loved one’s life,” she said.
Meagan attended Oklahoma City University for her nursing degree. When I asked Meagan what she wanted to be when she was a little girl, she answered, a chef. “My mom (who is also a nurse) persuaded me to go in another direction, so I decided that I would go for the nursing career instead. I have always had a desire to help others. Also, at one point, my aunt had cancer and was sick. I knew she was dying. I spent a lot of time at the hospital with my mom and I saw how the nurses were so compassionate and how helpful the nurses were. That was when I wanted to take care of others just like they did,” she said.
What qualities make a good nurse? “I think a nurse should have excellent leadership skills, and excellent communication skills. They also need to be very personable with the patients, knowing that compassion is everything,” Meagan replied.
“I feel like communication is so important for teamwork. I am so fortunate to work with some amazing nurses. Teamwork makes dream work. A nurse needs to know how heavily they rely on each other as a team. Like on a ship, if one doesn’t have teamwork, one drowns, they all drown,” Meagan said.
Meagan’s favorite part of her job is taking care of the patients. “Not only are my co-workers amazing, I also get to meet the different families, forming a bond between us. It’s a nice feeling,” Meagan added.
A typical day for Meagan begins early. “From the minute I walk into ICU, there is so much going on. We basically hit the ground running; Beeping alarms are heard throughout the day, never a quiet moment. Doctors and nurses are with the patients. After the many procedures are done and the patients are helped, the end of the work shift has come. We know we have had a productive day, helping others and we know that it is all worth it. It is a feeling of satisfaction that no one can take away,” Meagan said.
Meagan, along with the other nurses stays busy. They work 12 hour shifts, 3 days a week. “We have a 12-bed ICU. We usually have 9 nurses working all the time. The patients that are in ICU are very sick. Dealing with the heart, there are some inclusive procedures, along with the heart transplants. Integris Baptist Hospital is the only hospital in Oklahoma to do some of the extensive procedures. We have excellent doctors here and I am proud to work for such a great hospital,” Meagan said. “Working in ICU can be stressful at times but that is why patients come here. So we can take care of the patients to the best of our ability.”
Meagan’s spare time include spending time with her husband and family. One of my passions in life is running. I also like to cook. If I wasn’t a nurse, I would choose to own a bed and breakfast with a huge kitchen and add a bakery onto the side, she said with a smile.
What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field? “I would tell them the same advice someone gave me when I started. The honeymoon phase will start to wear off and when it does, take the time to celebrate the small things. The best thing about nursing is there are tons of opportunities for us. If you don‘t like one type of nursing, there is another type to choose from. Become a well-rounded nurse,” Meagan said.
I asked Meagan to describe herself. “I am a very caring, compassionate, goal oriented RN that works in the cardiothoracic ICU at Integris Baptist Hospital. I am proud to serve in the Army and Army reserves, unit 94th combat support hospital. I became a nurse to make a difference and help people. I love running with a passion; it is my stress reliever and after a very long day/week/month/year. Like being a nurse and running, I will never get tired of either one,” Meagan replied.