by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
CAREERS IN NURSING: BE TRUE TO YOURSELF – FOUNTAIN BROOK ASSISTED LIVING AND MEMORY SUPPORT
The happiness shines through as Amanda Poling, LPN, Director of Nursing takes care of the residents at Fountain Brook Assisted Living and Memory Support. Her love and compassion is present as she carries on a conversation with each individual.
Poling has been a nurse since 2006. She was a nurse in several hospitals and doctor’s offices before coming here to Fountain Brook. She worked in geriatrics, obstetrics, the cancer unit and pediatrics. “Geriatrics was my favorite and I fell in love with taking care of the elderly,” she said. “It almost seems like it was my calling.”
When asked if she wanted to be a nurse when she was little, she replied, “My mom was diagnosed with cancer when I was in the 6th grade and my grandmother had cancer too. That’s when I learned a little about the medical field and caring for others. From then on, I knew that I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life and take care of others. I know that sounds a little cliche but I pursued a career in nursing and I’m so glad I did.”
Poling graduated in New York in a small town in the mountains, a back country area. With her husband in the military and moving to Oklahoma City was quite a change for her. “This is like a big city to me,” she said. “At first, moving to Oklahoma City was a big change, but it has really grown on me. If fact, when my husband gets out of the military, I think we plan on staying here,” she said with a smile. “Everyone here is so nice and friendly. I really like Oklahoma,” she added.
“What is your greatest asset?” I asked Poling. “I think it would be the fact that I really care about others. The residents are people, not patients. Each person is a human being and each one has their own story to tell. I am going to fight for whatever I have to, getting help for the residents. I want to help others any way that I can, no matter how big or how small. I want to be that person that makes a difference.”
Asking Poling if she had any mentors in school, she replied, “I guess most of my teachers were my mentors while I was going to school. I grew up doing my own thing and continued doing that through school. I was my own person and knew it was up to me and me alone to do what I needed to do. I went to school and had a full-time job and got through on my own. I’m my own person,” she says.
Poling’s opinion on what makes a good nurse? “A good nurse needs to actually care for the residents. Residents can’t always defend for themselves so we have to be an advocate for them and be their voice. A nurse needs to be compassionate and know that it’s not just a job, it’s a real concern for others from within their heart.”
“What is your biggest challenge in the medical field?” I ask. “It has to be the insurance issues,” Poling comments. “The residents need the insurance coverage and the residents can’t really afford it, yet, there is nothing we can do about it because it is all about the insurance. I always want to do more to help,” she adds.
“What inspires you to come to work every day,” I ask Poling. “Oh, it’s definitely my residents,” she says with a firm tone in her voice. “I love them all and I love seeing them every day. We are like one big happy family. I bring my 2 year old daughter here to visit and the residents love talking to her. My daughter loves all of the attention.”
When asked how Poling would describe herself, she says, “I am an honest person, extremely honest. I am compassionate and my feelings come from within. I enjoy helping others and have always been that way. I am persistent and there is nothing I won’t do if someone needs my help. I need to stay focused and sometimes, I have to tell myself that. I love my job and love the staff here at Fountain Brook. Like I said before, it is like one big happy family here.”
Poling’s hobbies include spending time with her husband and daughter. She enjoys crocheting, reading and traveling. Poling and her husband also foster Pomeranians and are a part of ‘Groovy Paws Rescue.’
“Any words to live by?” I ask Poling. “I would say, be true to yourself. Be honest and don’t change your life for anyone else.”