CAREERS IN NURSING
GOOD CHOICES: POSITIVE OUTCOMES MOTIVATES ORTHOPEDIC NURSE
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Jennifer McGuire is one of those people whose enthusiasm is contagious when meeting her. She puts that quality to task as a registered nurse and as the director of acute care at McBride Orthopedic Hospital in Oklahoma City.
She has a mending spirit, which goes far in the realm of orthopedic nursing.
McGuire earned a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree from Northwestern University in Alva. She has served 13 years as a nurse, a decade of that time served with McBride.
“I’ve been here since we opened and it has been a really neat experience,” McGuire said. “It’s really awesome to see how really far we’ve come and how neat of a hospital this is proven by what we do here. It’s been an awesome journey.”
A native of northwestern Oklahoma, McGuire began honing her skills years ago as a unit clerk in a rural hospital. Stepping stones led her from being a certified nurse aide to a licensed practical nurse and an RN.
She found that rural nursing is very dear to her heart, and she takes that friendly persona wherever she goes.
“They’re in the rural areas so they see so many things in the ER to stabilize patients to transfer,” McGuire said. “They have to do a lot of things that we get to focus on in orthopedics, for example. They get to do the whole gamut of nursing.”
McGuire was formerly the assistant director of nursing at McBride. When she came to the hospital, she had the role of house supervisor.
Her mother is also and RN in Shattuck and inspired McGuire’s passion to serve others as a nurse. As a child growing up, her mother would tell her about the type of care she would render to patients.
“As a unit clerk in that hospital, I would watch other nurses work, so a lot of them are my mentors,” McGuire said. “I learned a lot from them — a good work ethic and good nursing skills. And they really inspired me to become a nurse and to do things the right way, not only to your patients, but to your coworkers. It’s a whole package of working well with people and working well with your team.”
McGuire remembers injuring her knee during high school. The injury required surgery, which was enlightening for McGuire.
“That was also another time I got to be around the nurses at the hospital,” she said.
The myriad of skills sets she has learned in her career compliments her work today at McBride. The McBride physicians group are good to their employees, she said.
“They have a wonderful hospital with awesome outcomes for their patients. I feel very fortunate to be able to be in this position because nurses are givers and are constantly helping,” McGuire said.
Her role as director of acute care enables her to make sure the team of orthopedic nurses have all they need for patient care. This desire to care for others is why they embarked on a nursing career, she mentioned.
“I’m a helper-giver, too, for the nurses that are out there doing a good job for our patients here,” McGuire said. Her role encompasses acute care as well as emergency room services.
Kindness goes a long way in orthopedic nursing. And McBride nurses blend their compassion with knowledge, she said, because they genuinely care about humanity.
“They enjoy their patients,” McGuire said. “Our ratios really allow them to provide the type of care that brought them into nursing. They’re a very special group. They’re an awesome group. They work well together as good team players. They just really enjoy orthopedics.”
The majority of patients at McBride have a total hip or knee replacement surgery. Also in the mix are some back, ankle and shoulder procedures, she said. The average length of stay for a patient is three days before case management services work with them as far as their discharge plan regarding their next step of recovery once they are discharged from the hospital, McGuire said.
“We have physical therapy that works with them on the unit as well,” she continued.
“They help patients learn their exercises and how to get up and be level safely.”
McGuire has also met some interesting people as a McBride nurse. The hospital considers every patient a very important person. Of course some of the patients are high profile in the community and across the nation.
“We protect everybody’s confidentiality very well,” she said.
She said it’s also heartwarming to get to know every day Oklahomans, many of whom travel from rural portions of the state and beyond. Some patients come to McBride from foreign lands.
“They come for services because the doctors do such a good job,” McGuire said.
Her ability to provide quality care motivates her to further excel as a nurse, she said. Each day brings her the opportunity to spend as much time as she needs with every patient she meets.
A random act of kindness goes a long way in her career and in her transition to life at home, where McGuire is a co-leader for a Girl Scout troop.
“Our troop has been together since they were kindergartners,” she said. “And we’re 6th-graders now, and we’ve been from Daisys to Cadets. They’re a very special bunch of girls so we stay busy doing service projects.”
Some of the girls ask her about being a nurse. Being an orthopedic nurse allows McGuire to help the girls achieve their badges. They learn about CPR , the Heimlich maneuver and disaster preparedness.
Perhaps, she will inspire some of the girls to become nurses.