Zest for personal best
St. Anthony ER nurses are ready
by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Angela Woodard has found that with emergency room medicine, one never knows the type of ailment will challenge her skills when a new patient enters St. Anthony Hospital in midtown Oklahoma City.
“Life is like a box of chocolates. You just never know what you’re going to get,” said Woodard, RN, St. Anthony Hospital ER network educator.
“That’s what an ER is,” she said. “I can work on an infant the first part of the day and see a critical patient and also get to hold the hand of an elderly patient to help them through a diagnosis.”
Woodard began her career with Saints in 2011 just before St. Anthony opened its first healthplex in 2012. The title of ER network educator was created and Woodard was asked to accept the role that oversees the main campus in midtown Oklahoma City and all of the four ER healthplexes that cover emergency health needs throughout the metroplex.
“I love teaching the ER nurses a little bit more about the ER itself — critical thinking skills and introducing the higher level skills — the equipment of the ER and getting into the critical concepts,” Woodard said.
St. Anthony is constantly fine tuning its response to the needs of patients entering its emergency departments. It is growing geographically in all directions within the metropolitan area, but also by hiring more staff to meet the needs of a progressive population of residents, Woodard said.
Within the facilities themselves, the quality of care is being enhanced. And this measure of commitment is important and exciting for Woodard, she continued. She’s proud to be part of an advancing team professionals with critical thinking skills, Woodard said.
“Our ER visits have grown tremendously,” she said. “The networking for our physicians’ clinics has also grown dramatically. Right now is really an exciting time for St. Anthony.”
What she shares with the nursing staff helps them stay abreast with the modern world. Among the areas Woodard teaches is advanced cardiac life support, pediatric advanced life support, a trauma nursing course and helps nurses to stay current with their stroke certification notifications, she said.
Woodard emphasizes that a child in not a small adult when she teaches about the care of acutely ill infants and children.
“They require specialized equipment and specialized care,” Woodard explained.
The trauma nurse course is about the core concepts of trauma nursing itself. It breaks down the systems of care by educating ER nurses about what to expect for different types of trauma.
“The stroke class teaches the St. Anthony specific hospital policy on stroke,” Woodard continued. “It reinforces St. Anthony stroke guidelines such as how to treat patients with medications like TPA for clot busting.”
She admires St. Anthony nurses for wanting to grow in their careers. The group of emergency department nurses she has met at St. Anthony is outstanding, she said.
“They are just brilliant nurses that thrive and want to learn more.” Woodard said. “Any topic that comes up that they may not be strong in — they are all requesting information. They have a willingness to learn which is really exciting.”
Woodard takes great strides to keep up with the wealth of information that she shares with the ER team. She reads emergency and critical care journals and is constantly researching new topics of information that is vital for patient care, Woodard said.
“When new guidelines come out, I try to share those as soon as possible,” Woodard added.
She is also the mom of three teenage daughters, which keeps her busy when away from St. Anthony, said Woodard, the wife of an Oklahoma City fireman.
“I love to garden,” she said. “And the rest of the time is trying to keep up with them and keep them organized,” Woodard said with a smile.
Her career does not degrade her inspiration for life.
“It just constantly makes me want to keep my skills current,” she said. “It makes me feel that in all those different situations that I can make a difference. And that’s why I stay.”
What she appreciates most about Saints is that she never has to worry about sharing her faith for the comfort of others.
“You realize that God put you in situations, and you have no reason or understanding of why you’re there at the time,” Woodard said. “And to use you, whether it’s to be a comforter, or whether He’s using you for your skill set that you know the most or that you’ve perfected.
“He’s using you that way.”
Woodard said she never has to hide her faith at St. Anthony Hospital, whereas other hospitals may not encourage the expression of faith so openly.
“I love that about Saints,” she said. “If I feel God move me, I can ask, ‘Do you mind if I pray with you?’”