by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Tiffani Larson has always had a servant’s heart.
“My mom actually had cancer and I helped take care of her for a little while and was around nursing with that, said Larson, LPN, Golden Age Nursing Center, located in Guthrie.
“That kind of inspired me to be a nurse,” she said. “It’s also an awesome opportunity to help every day.”
Larson is a recent nursing school graduate of Francis Tuttle Technology Center in Oklahoma City. She said the program was fast paced and she feels like she received a good education.
Francis Tuttle prepared her for her testing to earn her LPN license and gave her tips about working professionally as a nurse, she said. Nursing is not a mundane, predictable experience, she said.
There is always something new to challenge yourself as a nurse in a long-term nursing center, Larson continued. She also provides care in skilled nursing.
“You’re able to build relationships with the residents here,” Larson said.
“You get to know your residents, which can allow for better care to be provided because you’re used to how they are normally, and if something is wrong, you can normally pick up on that.”
Larson had several days of mentoring at Golden Age when she arrived there in the beginning of February. She became familiar with the center during leadership training there as a student at Francis Tuttle.
“I kind of got to learn their system and how they operate here during that two weeks,” she explained. “And I got more training once I was hired on the floor that I’m on now.”
She has found that the nursing staff takes great care of their residents, she said. Larson likes the way Golden Age is managed. It is a clean facility, she said.
“Everyone here seems to have a big heart, and they genuinely care about the residents,” Larson said.
Not only tending to the residents’ needs gives her gratification. Meal time is fun for every breakfast, lunch and dinner, she said. A menu is provided to the residents to choose what they want to eat without the boredom of a set menu delivered to them automatically, she said.
Larson gets to know the residents’ family members. “That’s always nice,” she said. Larson also likes to listen to the stories that the residents share about their life history of work and family relationships.
“They are always interested in your life, too,” she added.
So she tells them about her life. Right now, she is planning a wedding for July 4.
“It’s a fun holiday. We got engaged on Valentine’s Day. So if we get married on July 4, we have a lot of family coming in from out of town,” she said. “Both of us have friends. So we figured it would be a good weekend. A lot of people get off work, so they would be able to travel a little bit easier.
The couple are thinking about going to Las Vegas for their honeymoon, she said.
Her future holds many career opportunities, she said. She is interested in becoming a neonatal nurse, but will need to go back to school to reach that goal.
“That’s long-term plans down the line. Right now I really enjoy long-term care,” Larson said.
She is considering earning her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at the University of Central Oklahoma beginning in August. Many of her basic hours of instruction have already been completed there.
She is also investigating Northern Oklahoma College, with campuses in Enid, Stillwater and in Tonkawa, she continued. A nursing career is one to be valued, she said.
“If you get into med/surg nursing and later on discover you don’t like it, you can totally do a 180 and switch to maybe a doctor’s office,” she said.
“There are endless possibilities of what you can do if you get into a field you don’t enjoy so much. There are options you can turn to so you’re not just stuck in one spot.”
Outside of nursing there are people who get a degree and don’t enjoy their careers. They don’t always have the option to do something different if their degree is specific, she explained.
She is still waiting for the time when her family or friends call her on the phone to ask what they should do if they don’t feel well.
“My future sister-in-law, she’s a nurse. And a lot of my family are doctors or nurses,” she said. “There’s a lot of people they could call.”