by Vickie Jenkins
Cassie Smith is an RN at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital. She works in the Rehab unit and enjoys her job working with children. Even at a young age, Smith was a caring and compassionate person. It became evident that Smith wanted to become a nurse when Smith’s uncle was in a motorcycle accident that resulted in a very serious head injury. “That was when I knew that I had a desire to become a nurse,” Smith says. Smith believes that her greatest asset is caring for others, which goes a long way working in Rehab.
Smith attended school at OSU in Stillwater, OK. She started working at The Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital a week before she started nursing school. She knew this was the place for her. She has worked here for about 4 years now, enjoying working in Rehab and seeing goals being reached. Choosing a moment that was the most rewarding for her was something she had to think about, since she likes everything about her job. “I guess it’s because I like working here, it’s a fun job and I think I might even have more fun that some of the children,” she says with a laugh. “It is nice to see the children accomplish so much through their therapy and rehab. I have to admit, I love coming to work every day and I like being here.”
The average stay for children in the Rehab unit is around 6 weeks. These are the children in need of rehabilitation due to a traumatic injury, sudden illness or post-surgery treatment. The staff strive to help improve the patient’s opportunity for mobility, healing and independence. “Do you see of any life lesson that you have learned from working here?” I ask Smith. “I cherish each day, taking nothing for granted.”
“What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field,” I ask Smith. “I would tell them to be open-minded and check out the many different areas they can get into. Learn about that specific field and go into something you enjoy.” When asked what qualities Smith thinks make up a good nurse, she replies, “I think a nurse needs to be a good problem solver, be good at critical thinking in case of an emergency and be a loving and caring nurse that cares for others. Be the best you can be.” “Did you have a mentor when you were starting out in nursing school?” I ask. “Yes, it was Ashley Agee, one of the charge nurses here at The Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital. She was always helpful to me and I looked up to her in many ways. She is no longer here at the hospital. In fact, I believe she is a PA now.” When I asked Smith what is something about herself that would surprise others, she replied, “Well, some people may know about this already but I love to go backpacking in the mountains; that’s always fun.” “Do you have any hobbies?” I ask. “I have a toddler,” Smith said. “I am a busy mother so I really don’t have time for hobbies,” she said with a laugh. “Not now anyway,” she adds.
Describing herself in 3 words, Smith replies, “I would say thoughtful, caring and playful. I am a very caring person and I feel compassion for others. I am thoughtful, always trying to put other’s feelings before my own, putting myself in their situation. I always think about how I would feel or how I would like to be treated if the roles were reversed. I am a very playful person. I love to make people laugh and smile and sometimes, all a person needs is someone to make them smile.”
Smith says that her favorite thing about her job is the fact that she gets to be around the children, watching them reach their goals. “I like to make the children happy,” she says as she gives a big smile. Smith’s favorite TV show is First 48. “I think that is because it brings out the nurse in me and maybe, because my husband is a state trooper,” she laughs. She enjoys listening to all kinds of music but her favorite music is country.
The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Center is where miracles happen, where children get tender loving care and it shows every time a smile can be seen on one of the children’s faces. This is where heartstrings are touched and love grows a little more each day.