by Vickie Jenkins
Congratulations to Tony Sword, ‘one sharp RN’ that has been named Nurse of the Year at Deaconess Hospital. Sword was chosen nurse of the year out of eight exemplars showing significant contributions to the profession of nursing. The winner was announced on May 13, 2015 in the Deaconess Legacy Conference room. “It is a great honor to be chosen as Nurse of the Year,” Sword says. “I was surprised when they called my name, especially since I was up against the other nurses. I consider each one of them an excellent nurse and each nurse could have been given the honor,” he said. “They are all so deserving of it,” he added.
Sword has been a nurse for a total of 9 years. Graduating from Southern Nazarene College, he had always been interested in medicine and the medical field since high school. He continued his education to become a nurse. His leadership clinicals were done at Deaconess. He was at OU for his Medical-Surgical Nursing and came back to Deaconess where he has been the lead ER nurse for the past 2 years. A few months ago, he became Manager of the ER. “Did you have a mentor in nursing school?” I ask. “Several of my friends were my mentors at the time and I looked up to them in several ways,” he replied.
Sword enjoys spending time with his wife and 2 daughters, 5 and 7 years old. Both of his daughters are into soccer. When possible, camping is one of their favorite past times. He enjoys deer hunting in the winter months. He also likes to barbeque but not the everyday barbequing that most people know of. Sword and his dad are a team and travel to different places in Oklahoma and Arkansas, doing competitive barbequing. The name of their scrumptious temptations is Super Swine with the logo of a pig wearing a cape. From my understanding, Sword can make some pretty tasty ribs. Just ask any of his co-workers.
I asked Sword to describe himself in 3 words. “Caring, appreciative and understanding,” he replied. “I am a caring person and like to help people. I appreciate my friends and co-workers as they encourage me along the way and I am a very understanding person.”
Sword feels like his strongest asset is his ability to be a team leader. “It is all about teamwork. My co-workers make up my team and I owe so much to them. We work together and we are strong,” he replies. Sword feels like his co-workers are very important. His friends are the ones that encourage him and have a great impact on him. “In fact, some of my co-workers are the ones that encouraged me to apply for ER Manager and I did and look what happened? I am encouraged by my encouragers,” he said with a smile.
“What qualities make a good nurse?” I ask Sword. “A nurse needs to have empathy, understanding and compassion. A nurse needs to be friendly and that is one thing we try to make sure that all of our nurses are; friendly to their patients.”
A typical day for Sword is him dealing with a variety of different tasks in the ER. Sometimes, the ER doesn’t run like it’s expected. “There is the issue of juggling the required tasks and then adding the everyday last-minute emergencies that arise. On a personal note, I try to maintain everything and try to be motivated, going above and beyond with my work.”
“What advice would you give to someone going into the medical field?” I ask Sword. “First of all, I would tell them to be bold and not be afraid to ask questions. Know that you will become an advocate for your patients.” The most rewarding part of Sword’s job is hearing the patients that he has taken care of coming back to Deaconess, just for a visit and a thank-you. “I also get praises from the staff and my co-workers. It is nice to hear such encouraging words. That is what I consider the most rewarding part of my job.” Sword stated.
‘If you gave someone words to live by, what would those words be?” I ask Sword. “Whatever you do in life, make friends along the way,” he said with a bit of a smile and a lot of confidence. Congratulations to ‘one sharp nurse,’ Tony Sword!