CAREERS IN NURSING
ENERGETIC, PATIENT AND CARING: QUALITIES OF AN IDABEL LPN
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
I had the pleasure of traveling to Idabel, OK. This is where I met the friendly staff at Kiamichi Family Medical Center. I met with Melissa Head, LPN, a hard working individual caring for her patients. Attending school at Kiamichi Technology Center in Idabel, OK, her first job as a nurse was at Choctaw Memorial in Hugo, OK. She has enjoyed working at Kiamichi Family Medical Clinic here in Idabel, OK where she has been working for the last 6 years, going on 9 years as a nurse.
Asking Melissa why she became a nurse, she replied, “I worked as a home health provider for a while. At that time, my grandmother had Alzheimer’s and I helped take care of her. I enjoyed caring for her and wanted to further my career, so decided to work in a clinic. It was a great decision because I enjoy being a nurse. Also, my mother was a candy striper in the hospital and took care of sterilizing the surgical instruments. For some reason, I always thought it would be nice to work in a hospital or a doctor’s office.”
“Did you have a mentor when you were in school?” I ask. “Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. Her name was Missy Pierce. She was one of the best instructors at the school. She is not instructing anymore but she is a nurse at McCurtain Memorial now. She was wonderful and I always admired her.”
“What qualities make a good nurse?” I ask Melissa. Quick to reply, she says, “I think the main thing is you have to treat everyone the same. There is an unconditional love that a nurse needs to have. Everyone is equal.” “How would you describe yourself in three words?” I ask. “ Energetic, patient and caring,” she replies.
One of Melissa’s favorite things about her job is when she helps someone improve their health. “If the patient hasn’t been eating right and we give them a healthy diet to follow, they come back in 6 months, feeling good about themselves. If someone comes in and they find out they have Diabetes and they don’t know where to start on a new program, we help them and a few months later, they are doing great. I know that I had a small part of that. Also, it’s getting to know our patients and they realize they can count on us to be here to take care of them, whether it be a follow up appointment or something that is unexpected.”
“What do you consider your greatest strength?” I ask Melissa. With a bit of a pause, she replies, “I think it would be my loyalty. My loyalty to my job or whatever I do. Here at the clinic, I know my co-workers can always depend on me and my honesty,” she says. “I am always going to do what is right,” she adds.
A typical day consists of each provider seeing an average of 20 patients. With the other providers, our clinic usually see about 60 patients for the day. “It keeps us busy,” Melissa says. “We have plenty of new patients and see our established patients for follow ups. We do a lot of childhood immunizations and we do lab work here in the office which is picked up and sent to DLO every day. I usually get here about 7:30 a.m. to start the day. We are also open late one night out of the week, so we can see patients that can’t make it in in the morning or will be seeing them for a late appointment. How many clinics can say that?” she asks with a laugh.
If someone was going into the medical field, Melissa would give this advice, “Definitely make sure it is a job for you and it is a job you like. If you don’t like your job, it’s not worth it. I think a nurse needs to have a caring personality plus respect for the patient. A patient may forget the nurse’s name but will always remember the way they were treated.”
“What do you like to do for fun? What are your hobbies?” I ask Melissa. “I like to read and I love to fish. There are plenty of places to fish here. Beavers Bend is about 30 minutes away and plenty of places in between.” Melissa likes to listen to country music but sometimes listens to pop. Her favorite T.V. show is The Big Bang Theory.