by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
A big thank you to all of the doctors, nurses and medical staff that put themselves on the frontline each and every day as our world fights the pandemic. Not only are the big hospitals at risk, but the Emergency Clinics and Emergency Hospitals are too. Here, at Integris Community Hospital, they see an average of forty to fifty patients a day. That is a lot of emergencies! (story continues below)
One particular person that you will find at Integris Community Hospital West is Cortney Barrett, RN. Cortney has been a nurse for four years and has worked at this location for a year and a half. “My first job was in ICU at Mercy,” she said. “Now, I enjoy working in the Emergency Department.”
Cortney has an interesting story of how she came about becoming a nurse. “I became a nurse for several reasons. First, because my oldest daughter was born at twenty-six weeks gestation due to some complications of pregnancy. She was flown to OU Children’s NICU where she spent the first two months of her life. I was eighteen years old at the time and the amazing care and empathy that was shown to me by the nurses in the NICU was the greatest gesture of compassion I had ever experienced. I had a hard time leaving Addie’s side when she was there. I remember one of the nurses telling me that I was a good mom for wanting to spend all of my time with her. To this day, I will never forget how I was cared for by the nurses. Now, as a nurse, I want to give back to others what was done for me,” Cortney said with a smile. “Second, when I was very young, my Papa, Eddie Blue took me to the nursing homes to give communion to the patients there. I was always excited to go just to show an act of kindness. Third, my mom became a nurse when I was about five years old so I grew up with a nurse in the house,” Cortney explained.
Cortney grew up in Fletcher, OK; a small town about twenty miles north of Lawton. “I went to Platt college for LPN and LPN-RN school. I went to the University of Texas Arlington for my BSN. I am currently attending Chamberlin University to get my Masters in Family Nurse Practitioner. I just started a few weeks ago and I am super excited to be on this journey,” Cortney commented. “I want to continue my education in the medical field.”
What is your biggest reward as a nurse? Cortney replied, “My biggest reward is seeing the patients fear and anxiety subside when I take the time to explain what is happening as well as sitting down, really caring for their spirit and well being by having a meaningful conversation with them or holding their hand. When I can do this in the middle of chaos, this is the best reward, hands down. God gave me the ability to show His love to my patients in some of their worst moments in life and I am so glad that I can share this with my patients. Also, being able to be a patient advocate. I love that I can have a voice and can educate my patients so that they can receive the best care possible. I like that I can lighten the mood in the medical field. I always say, be a light into the darkness.”
When it comes to mentors during school, Cortney stated, “My best friend, Krystina, my husband and family have been my biggest supporters during my nursing and educational journey. There is one nursing professor that has always stood out to me and that was one of my LPN professors, Lisa Kelly. She has such an outgoing personality and has always been exceptionally good in everything she does.”
As far as Cortney’s personal life goes, she has been married to her husband, Shane, for ten years. They have four children; Addie, Shelby Emery and Clay. “We live on twelve acres and have lots of animals.”
How has the coronavirus changed your life? “Covid has made us nurses be extra resourceful with our use of time management skills, leaning on our team, trusting our instincts and using more precaution throughout the day. I do everything to protect myself, my family and my patients, ”Cortney said.
Summing up her life in one word, Cortney replied, “That word would definitely be extraordinary.”