Heather Warfel, RN Mercy Hospital

Oncology Nurse With 17 Years of Experience. Worked in Chemotherapy for Eight years.

story by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer

Heather Warfel, RN is one of the outstanding oncology nurses working in Chemotherapy at Mercy Coletta Building.

Mercy Coletta Building is located at 4401 McCauley Blvd in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, offering the latest advancements in cancer treatments. The cancer patients have access to the most current drugs and therapies as well as cutting-edge diagnostic technologies. Compassionate care is provided to both the patients and their family members.
Here, you will find Heather Warfel, RN, a highly qualified oncology nurse with 17 years of experience as a nurse. She has worked in chemotherapy for eight years. “My first job as a nurse was working in Surge Med as an LPN at St. Anthony’s Hospital, then, as an RN, I worked at Mercy ER. I’ve always wanted to be in the medical field, helping others. Even as a young girl, I wanted to grow up and be a nurse. I guess I’ve always had that desire to help others, and some things never change. I still have that same desire to help others, especially in my community,” Heather added.
Asking Heather if there was a different type of training for an oncology nurse to work in chemotherapy, she replied. “Yes, we have to be licensed, and are given tests and exams which need to be updated every two years,” she replied. “We also have workday education, and we have to keep our CPR updated. Since oncology nurses have a sensitive nature of their work, we should be natural caregivers with plenty of patience,” Heather added.
An oncology nurse working in chemotherapy coordinates chemotherapy orders with physicians, prepares and administers chemotherapy, hydration and other medications as prescribed. They also document nursing assessments, provide patient instructions, administer fluids and medications, perform venipunctures, access implanted ports and maintain central line catheters.
“There are 12 nurses that work in chemotherapy each day. Between all of us, we typically see at least 100 patients daily,” Heather commented. “Of course, each patient is different, and each medication administered varies with different doses,” Heather added.
Heather’s work hours are 10 to 12 hour shifts. “The patients keep me motivated. It’s nice to talk to them, giving a kind word or a listening ear can make all the difference in the world.”
Heather’s biggest challenge as an oncology nurse is managing the frequently changing medications. Each chemo patient is different and new medications need to be approved by the doctor. “It can get a little frustrating when we learn a new medication, and then, it’s suddenly changed,” Heather said.
“On the other hand, my biggest reward is doing something that I love, being a nurse and helping people to the best of my ability. Here at Coletta, we strive to make our patients feel as comfortable as possible during their chemo treatment.” Heather said. “Some patients treatments are 30 minutes, while others are up to eight hours. We provide warm blankets, lunch, drinks, and snacks, making the patient feel as comfortable as possible.”
“I’ve worked as an oncology nurse for eight years now, and I prefer chemotherapy over other areas of the hospital because it is incredibly rewarding to know that I am helping so many people beat cancer,” Heather explained. “When a patient finished their chemo treatments, they get to ‘ring the bell.’ Hearing that bell ring is a heartfelt moment. Working in chemotherapy can be very challenging, but it is also very rewarding and that’s why I continue as an oncology nurse.”
When asked if she had received any awards or recognition over the last few years, Heather replied, “Here at Mercy Hospital, we have something called, ‘Mercy Praise Recognition.’ When we take care of a patient, they can provide feedback on how they were treated. I’ve received quite a few recognitions over the years. When we are recognized, we can choose various gifts. I think it keeps us all on our toes,” she said with a laugh.
When asked about her plans for the next five years, Heather replied with a definite answer, “I’m, going to be right here. I love my job and I can’t imagine being anywhere else. I’m not going anywhere!”
When Heather is not working, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two children, ages eight and nine. “I love doing arts and crafts, especially making wreaths. Of course, there is also shopping,” she said.

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