by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Oklahoma City Indian Clinic (OKCIC) takes pride in its role as a medical home to nearly 19,000 America Indian people representing over 200 federally recognized tribes living in central Oklahoma. Prevention, wellness and excellent health care are OKCIC’s top priorities.
OKCIC is increasing positive health care outcomes for American Indians in central Oklahoma, while maintaining health care costs. By making American Indians healthier, the clinic strengthens Oklahoma City, the state of Oklahoma and the nation.
Greeted by a friendly staff at OKCIC, I meet Vanessa Geimausadele, student nurse. “I’m learning from the best of the best,” she said. “I’ve been here about 8 months now and I feel like I am meant to be here, helping the patients,” she added.
Vanessa grew up in the small town of Carnegie, OK and went to Riverside Indian Boarding School. Asking Vanessa how she decided to be a nurse, she said, “Growing up, it seemed like I was always the one taking care of others and it made me feel good to be able to help someone in that way. I felt like it was what I was meant to do,” she replied.
In your opinion, what qualities make a good nurse? I ask Vanessa. “I think a good nurse needs to be compassionate, have plenty of medical knowledge, and get alone with her co-workers. When I come to work, I know that I am working with some of the best nurses around. They are all there for me if I need to ask them a question and they are very helpful. They make me feel good about myself,” she answered.
If you were giving advice to someone going into the medical field, what would you tell them? “I would tell them that they really need to want to go into the medical field. I would also tell them to be ready to learn because there is a lot of studying to do, don’t give up on yourself and know that you have to work hard and work towards that goal at the end, to be a nurse,” she replied.
“When I started working here at the clinic, it was really hard but I continued on and now, I am amazed at the many things that I am learning from all the nurses. I want to reach the end. Since I have been at the OKCIC, I have enjoyed working with the patients. So far, all of the people have been so nice to me. I know that if I have a problem with anything, I can ask any of the nurses and they will be happy to help me,” Vanessa said.
Asking Vanessa if she wanted to be a nurse when she was little, she said, “When I was real little, I wanted to do exactly what my father did. He was a firefighter and of course, that is what I wanted to do,” she said with a laugh. “I am pretty sure being a nurse is a little bit safer.”
Vanessa stays busy outside of work. “I like to go to the gym often. I also play softball and volleyball, and my daughter, Mariska plays softball and basketball and it seems like the both of us are always on the go.”
I asked Vanessa if anyone influenced her to be a nurse. “Actually, it was my daughter. She is my biggest encourager, motivator and she really keeps me going, even at times when I thought I was going to give up. She always sends me messages on my phone and gives me little notes to make me stay focused and strong,” she said. “I am very proud of Mariska. We are so good for each other.”
Describing her personality in three sentences, Vanessa said, “I would say funny. I like to laugh and make others laugh. I am compassionate and I think that is why I love this job so much. I am also outgoing and like to make sure I am going on the right path in case anyone follows in my footsteps,” she said. “With those three things, I seem to get along with everyone,” she added.
One last question for you, I tell Vanessa. Do you have any words that you seem to live by daily? “I just stay positive and go along with the flow,” she said.