by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer
More than a decade went by before Claire Creecy, RN, BSN, truly understood her passion.
It was somewhere during the time Creecy’s husband was pursuing his master’s degree that something made Creecy want to go back to school.
And not just any school. She decided nursing school would be her next step.
Nursing was career No. 2 for Creecy, who worked at a veterinary clinic for eight years as an office manager.
With a couple years experience as a scrub tech Creecy felt a calling back to the hospital setting.
And nearly two years after graduation and countless hours in the ORs at Integris Edmond, Creecy can finally say she’s happy getting up and going to work every morning.
Creecy has heard the old joke that surgical nurses choose the operating suite because they prefer their patients sedated.
“It’s not true for me,” she laughed. “This morning we’re actually doing eyes and pain cases. I enjoy those cases because we get to talk to patients more than most days. I enjoy surgery and I enjoy being in surgery with the community of people in that room.”
“You either love surgery or you hate it. It will (eat you alive). Here at Integris Edmond we have four ORs and everyone works together fairly well. Once you get in with them they’re good. The surgeons are great surgeons.”
Going back to school was a challenge. Two young kids, working a full-time job and going back for a second bachelor’s degree meant Creecy was burning both ends of the candle.
The first semester almost did her in.
“It was harder than others because I had to wrap myself around being in school again and finding a good balance,” Creecy said. “But I enjoyed nursing so the work was interesting to me. I was always happy to go to clinicals. Once I got back into ‘oh, I’m back in school again’ it was good. I enjoyed it.”
Knowing she wouldn’t see her kids for days at a time was rough. But she pushed through.
It got easier along the way.
Creecy’s two young children and a husband who teaches in the forensic science department at UCO made her want stay close to home for her first nursing job.
“I did my clinicals with Integris and really enjoyed it just the structure and the feel about it and wanted to come back,” she said.
Finding a day shift position was also paramount. And something about working in a facility nestled just off the highway on 44 acres filled with hills and trees just seemed right.
“I’m happy to be out here. I love this hospital. It’s a great community,” she said. “Everyone works together and everyone talks, which is not always the case wherever you’re at.”
Creecy’s five-year plan includes staying right where she is.
Last June Integris announced its plan to more than double the size of the hospital to include 64 new inpatient beds.
The expansion will take the existing hospital up to five stories at the 4801 Integris Parkway location.
More than 143,000 square feet of additional place is planned in three different sections of the hospital giving the facility some 304,000 square feet of total space.
Integris Edmond currently operates 40 inpatient beds with 24 surgical rooms.
It’s where Creecy comes to feel whole.
“I think just knowing I’m going to come and make a difference,” she said of her job. “You don’t always see the end product because you don’t always see them after they recover from that surgery. But knowing you’re a part of making that patient feel so much better – sometimes immediately if their pain is that bad … it’s pretty gratifying.”
And the process has benefited the whole family.
Seeing their dad earn his PhD and then mom going back to school to become a nurse has given the Creecy children an invaluable life lesson.
“They appreciated how hard it is to work for something you want and I think that was an important lesson for them,” she said. “And to see we both enjoy our jobs and education got us to a place where we enjoy our jobs.”
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