Caroline Hoggatt, RN, helps many people with allergies and asthma live better lives.


by James Coburn – staff writer

Having allergies and asthma is something Caroline Hoggatt knows a lot about. She lives with both conditions. That is why this registered nurse loves working at the Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic, located in Oklahoma City.
“I feel like I fit in with a lot of the patients,” Hoggatt said.
Hoggatt earned her Bachelor of Science in nursing degree at Montana Technological University, located in Butte, Mont. She has worked nearly seven years in the field of allergy and asthma. She also has experience in family practice and pediatric mental health in a residential facility.
She enjoys clinical nursing because it enables her to experience the entire process from when patients first come to the clinic not feeling well. Patients are given the correct medications and allergy shots. (story continues below)

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“You see them a year later and they are a completely different person. Their life has changed.”
So, she has found her forte in a setting that offers a continuum of care that allows her to see patients for a longer period, than what would be the case if she worked on the floor of a hospital, she said.
“I like to have that continuing patient relationship. That’s what I prefer. And it being an asthma allergy, I think it is very interesting and feel like I can help patients understand things a little bit better,” she said.
Patients have different degrees of allergic reactions as well as asthma. Some are more serious than others. A physician or nurse practitioner sees everybody who has a little cough when exercising to patients who must take daily medications in order to breathe.
“We see and treat it all here,” she said.
Hoggatt works with a nurse practitioner who currently sees only established patients. At times she will work with other providers.
Part of her work involves assisting with patients who have received a new medication. Throughout the day, she will give allergy shots, and provide allergy testing to confirm an allergy is the problem.
“Typically, what they’ll do, you will meet with a physician, and they will see what symptoms are bothering you, and pick out what kind of testing best suits your needs,” Hoggatt said. “More often than not, it’s environmental testing, so grasses, trees, weeds, dust, cats, dogs — those things.”
A panel is then placed on the skin for a prick test that feels like being poked by a toothpick, she said. They will check to see if there is a reaction after 15 minutes. Skin would turn a little bit red and itchy. At times a small bump appears.
“We measure the size of those bumps and that tells us what you’re allergic to. If you don’t have any of that, it means you don’t have any allergies,” she explained. “If you do have a reaction, it shows that you are allergic to that specific thing.”
Each day is a new learning experience for Hoggatt.
“You can have someone come in and complain of new symptoms, but their allergies are changed. They are completely different than somebody else’s. Or I’ve learned there are a lot of people who think they have allergies, but they really don’t. There are several other causes to their symptoms,” she continued. “So that is what I love. It is the same type of procedures every day, but every patient is different. Everybody is different, so it keeps you intrigued. You are learning, and the physicians here are really good about teaching you all things and making sure you understand.”
The Oklahoma Allergy and Asthma Clinic provides a personable staff of professionals working well together. There is effective comradery between the nursing staff and the physicians, she said.
“You’re not afraid to go up and ask the doctors a question if you don’t understand,” she said. “They have a great teaching mentality, because they want to make sure that you’re also presenting the correct information to the patient. So, I feel like in a lot of other places you get issues with the nursing staff not wanting to talk the doctors about things, and I’ve never experienced that here. And I really appreciate that.”
Providers allow her to express her thoughts on what is causing symptoms experienced by a patient, she said.
For their good work the patients often thank them for providing care. Hoggatt said a word of thanks reflects the staff’s comprehensive understanding their patients.
“They come in and cannot breathe. They can barely do daily living things without issues. They can’t go outside and play with their kids,” she said. “And you see them with the right medications, and they get to live a life without boundaries. And I think that’s really fulfilling.”