Evelyn Omondi, RN, SSM St. Anthony Hospital

Earned an Associate of Science in Nursing Degree From OSU/OKC, and Bachelor of Science in Nursing at OU.

Evelyn Omondi, RN, SSM St. Anthony Hospital, never forgets what’s meaningful in life while working in the ICU.

story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer

Evelyn Omondi, RN, knows the unexpected can happen anytime and anywhere. Omondi cares for the sickest of the sick in the ICU.
Omondi is a relief charge nurse at SSM St. Anthony Hospital – Oklahoma City where she also serves as a resource nurse.
“Sometimes we are blessed to have a few come back just to say thank you,” Omondi said.
She recalled when a female patient experiencing a massive stroke entered the intensive care unit after being stabilized in the ER.
Seeing the woman reminded her about the goals and best practices of patient care.
The woman had been traveling to Oklahoma City when she became seriously ill. It was a year later that she returned to the hospital to thank the nursing staff.
Whenever she came it was just a joy for everybody,” Omondi said.
The woman whose life she helped to save asked for Evelyn.
“It just reminded me how important our job is. She was on a ventilator, but she remembered me talking to her. So that was really the highlight of my career,” Omondi said.
She will always introduce herself to each patient and explain what she is doing, whether they are awake, alert, or on a ventilator.
“Sometimes the patients on the ventilator, you might not know that they can hear you,” Omondi explained. “But we always treat them exactly the same way as the person who’s awake and alert.”
The patient’s husband and daughter were at the bedside. Omondi asked her patient to squeeze her hand and wiggle her toes. With a stroke it may become more difficult for a patient to follow the commands. But it’s important to treat all patients the same, Omondi continued.
“For me it was very heartwarming that although she wasn’t following those commands for me, she would hear me and came back remembering exactly what was said,” Omondi said. “She remembered me by name which I did not know this could happen.”
Omondi felt a connection with the woman while she was on the ventilator. And regretted not being present when her patient was discharged.
“The family was the sweetest family you could ever meet,” Omondi said. “Once I saw her, I remembered every little step I took while she was here. The husband and the daughter just impressed me. Everybody was in tears. It was a joy to see her walking, talking.”
Stroke is a leading cause of death and disability in the U.S., and women make up nearly 60 percent of all stroke deaths, according to the American Heart Association. Treatment is extremely time-sensitive, and delays can increase the risk of death or permanent brain damage.
The joy for a nurse it to see the person they have taken care of recover, Omondi said. The woman was able to resume her activities.
“To see them come back and they’re walking, it’s just a miracle,” Omondi added.
There are two types of stroke – ischemic and a bleed. Patients with an ischemic stroke have a one-hour window to receive a clot-busting medication. Somebody needs to call 911 for an ambulance in time for the clot buster to be given in the ER.
“If you’re outside the window, they don’t give you the clot busting medication,” said Omondi, who came from Nairobi, Kenya to work in Oklahoma. Her nursing career has been like a ladder to climb. She began as a CNA.
She earned an Associate of Science in Nursing degree from OSU/OKC, and received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Oklahoma. She had always wanted to work at Saints because of the power of prayer.
“I would see the doctor and the nurses praying,” she said of a 2015 television commercial. “It drew me out to work Saints one day just because of the Christian based part of it.”
She’s learned a lot about wellness since becoming a nurse. Nutrition and exercise are advantageous for good health.
“We see people here with different illnesses. It just reminded me how life is precious,” she said.
Now she knows what causes high blood pressure, stroke, how to perform CPR and other things she had no clue of before becoming a nurse.
“I love to run. I always run the marathon memorial every year,” she said.
Each year she tries to add something different for something to do.
“So last year I started playing tennis and this year I started playing pickle ball,” Omondi said. “I do that, and I love hanging out with my family and friends.”
She said SSM St. Anthony Hospital is the best place to work.
“I love it here,” Omondi said.

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