Jessie Lekites is part of a vibrant group of nurses at St. Anthony Hospital dedicated to patient care and helping each other succeed.

St. Anthony nurses celebrate life

Nurses at St. Anthony Hospital can touch lives in seconds. They share the warmth of spirit. It’s home, it’s family and belief in a mission.
So St. Anthony Hospital was the obvious choice for Jessie Lekites, RN, to return to after a brief career stay in Houston. She is part of a team of 1,219 nurses at the hospital as well as four healthplexes and Bone & Joint Hospital and not counting the Shawnee hospital campus.
As nurse manager of the medical surgical unit, she is also in charge of all of the activities St. Anthony Hospital is doing for National Nurses Week beginning May 1. She loves being an integral part of rewarding them for what they do every day.
“We do a gift for each nurse,” Lekites said. “We usually do a day- long celebration where we give the opportunity for day shift and night shift to come in.”
The nurse managers and the nurse appreciation committee are there from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. so that everybody feels included.
“Mind Body Spirit” is the nationwide theme this year on a day that includes a few surprises.
“We try to connect those with how do we help our nurses in those ways,” Lekites added. “We bring in our nurse practice part which is how to be a partner. And so we have some fun with props by writing down how they are partners with St. Anthony and with each other.”
For a nurse with 12 years of experience, Lekites is not stagnent in her career but continues to embrace the opportunities presented to her at the midtown Oklahoma City hospital.
“I was in a manager role previously when I left St. Anthony. Instead of feeling the one being celebrated, it’s nice now to celebrate those that work so hard, and make it the place someone would want to come back to after having been gone for two years” she said. “Out of all the other hospitals and institutions in the city, this is the one that felt right to come back to.”
St. Anthony nurses have not only contributed to outstanding patient care, but have been part of a vibrant reemergence of midtown Oklahoma City. Saints has invested more than $220 million since inventing a new campus plan in 2004.
Throughout this time, St. Anthony nurses have held tight core values of the nurse practice model.
“Being a partner, being responsible, being accountable – those are the things I feel nurses are to our patients, but also to each other,” Lekites said.
St. Anthony is also a partner to the community as well, she said. “We’re accountable for how we take care of our patients. Just the involvement and responsibility of that is a great one.”
St. Anthony values are shared with the community through stewardship, Lekites said. You can see it. You can feel it when entering the modern hospital campus.
“When I came here in 2005 it was very different,” she continued.
Even in patient surveys St. Anthony receives, people will comment that they can feel that standard of excellence in the air.
“It’s not a void when you walk in and no one is looking at you,” Lekites said.
Everyone acknowledges every person in the building from the valet, to the Starbucks worker, and from someone who is coming in for a test to those who are ill or are dying.
Celebrating National Nurses week is also a celebration of the patients there. All of the joy continuing among the staff translates to optimal patient care at its finest.
“I think if you value your nurses and they feel they have a voice – I can see it on my unit with the nurses that it translates to patient care,” Lekites said. “It goes with them giving managers feedback, and the managers using that feedback to provide better resources.”
In-turn, it makes their jobs easier and it makes caring for patients easier and patients feel that, Lekites explained.
She said the amount of attention given to the voice of the nurse is felt throughout the hospital.
Lekites said she has not seen another group of nurses that cares so deeply about their patients, and not just them as a patient, but as a person.
“We have nurses that if a family member forgets something, they will drive to wherever, a patient’s home or a nursing home,” she noted.
It means a lot to the patients that someone would take the time to care.
Nurses lives are enriched by connecting with the patient in as little as a second, a day or in a month’s stay.
“Those nurses, they really focus on how can I make this patient feel as appreciated and valued in this small amount of time.”
They are able to develop that relationship because as the nursing staff meets a patient’s needs, their stress also dissipates.
“You can develop a relationship very quickly,” she said.