Shelly Lein, RN
Med/surg nurse at Community Hospital, located in north Oklahoma City.
Shelly Lein, RN, often hears patients following a surgery say they feel so much better.
“Just because of the chronic pain they’ve been in for so many years, they finally get their moment of relief,” said Lein, RN, a med/surg nurse at Community Hospital, located in north Oklahoma City along the Broadway Extension near Britton Road. Lein also serves in the ER and is a relief house supervisor.
“They sometimes say, ‘I’m having surgical pain. But this pain I’ve been having for years — I finally feel some relief.’”
Patients have told her after a back surgery that it is the first time they can feel their hands or feet after a surgery to correct a back injury.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has given Community Hospital a 5-Star Rating. The Medical/Surgical department has all private rooms, close and convenient to the nurses’ station.
Lein embarked on her nursing career 12 years ago after graduating with an associate degree from OSU/OKC. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Northwestern University in Alva. Her career involves two years of med/surg oncology, four years of cardiac ICU, and three years of emergency room nursing. She joined Community Hospital in 2020.
“I think I had so many years in critical care which I loved. I think I was ready just to kind of be in an environment where there’s elective surgeries,” she said. “I wasn’t seeing people on their worst days. I was seeing people feel better almost instantly. So, I was just ready for that. And, I hadn’t a lot of experience in orthopedics, so I wanted to learn more about that, too.”
She would tell nursing school graduates not to enter the profession for the money but because they care.
“You’re going to see so many people and a lot of them on their worst days. And you really must have that caring, loving heart,” Lein continued.
Her patients come for surgeries involving their back, knees, and hips. Community Hospital provides inpatient and outpatient services, including diagnostic imaging. As a med/surg nurse, she mostly provides patient care for post orthopedic surgeries. Lein helps patients recover after their procedure.
The biggest draw for nurse retention is that nurses want to feel safe in their work environment, she continued. With low nurse-to-patient ratios, nurses appreciate having the time to provide outstanding service.
Lein said one to five patients is the industry standard for med/surg nurses, depending on the state. ER is generally one nurse for every three or four patients, and ICU is one nurse for two patients, she added. Factors have impacted these numbers as was seen during the Covid pandemic and continues with the long-time national nursing shortage. However, a nursing career offers many diverse specialties for nurses to avoid burnout.
“I really love our management. They try to keep us at a smaller nurse to patient ratio than some of the bigger hospitals,” Lein explained. “I’ve been to places where I had to take care of eight patients for a whole shift. That’s scary as a nurse because I think that makes a lot of nurses quit and go to other careers. People hear about that and go, ‘Oh, I don’t want to be a nurse,’ Really focusing on good nurse to patient ratios is one of the biggest things.”
Community Hospital’s north campus is a sister hospital to Community Hospital’s south campus and Northwest Surgical Hospital. Each of these campuses communicate with each other about staffing needs when a nurse calls in sick.
“We can also always call a nurse in, so we work together really well,” Lein said.
The Community Hospital nursing staff enhances her work satisfaction. Lein said some of the biggest compliments patients tell the nursing staff is that their nurses always seem happy. Lein said the compliments reflect their happiness with their job and their love of working together so much that the patients take notice.
“It makes me confident with them staying here,” Lein said.
She understands what it’s like to be hospitalized, ever since being hospitalized for three days at age 19. The nurses took such good care of her that it inspired her nursing career.
“I wanted to do that for someone else one day and make a big difference in their life,” Lein said. “Getting to see that instant relief from people really makes me happy.”
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