Working at Integris Community Hospital-West, the medical staff is ready to care for the patients’ variety of unexpected situations.

by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer

Face it; we have all been known to have a few accidents over the years. Whether young or old, during a sporting event or stepping off of a curb wrong, it is just a small portion of accidents that make people rush to the ER. Do we panic? Some of us do, sometimes. Do the ER doctors and nurses panic? No, they have it all under control.

At Integris Community Hospital, you will find a team of professionals, doctors, nurses, a lab technician and a radiology technician. One special nurse is Lauren Hammer, RN.
Growing up in Blackwell, OK, Lauren was always interested in helping care for others. “When I was growing up, my dad seemed to have some major medical issues come up every few years. It seemed natural for me to help take care of him, no matter what the situation was. I just knew that I wanted him to get better. It was in the year 2000 that my dad discovered that he had cancer. He went through chemo and it was then that I had a real desire to take care of him; I didn’t think of any other career. I decided to become a nurse; taking care of my dad and others that needed me. My dad is in remission now and doing well. I guess you could say that my dad influenced me to be a nurse and I am glad that he did,” Lauren commented.
“I love being a nurse and I like working here in an ER setting. This is a fast-paced place and I like the variety of patients that we see,” she said with a smile. “Sometimes, I run into a bit of a challenge but I have always liked challenges, making sure I can reach my goal, doing my job the best way that I can. A challenge actually makes me try even harder to do the best job that I can and to me, that is very important,” Lauren added.
Lauren contributes her willingness to learn to several of her mentors when she was in nursing school. “Several nurses took me under their wing. They were always there for me when I needed a helping hand. I felt like there were several that went out of their way to keep me focused on the right path to follow. All of them were so helpful and I will always remember them for that. I feel like I learned how to be the best nurse I could be. I continue to try to learn a little more each day as I take care of the patients. I have plenty of compassion, something that all nurses need to have, along with being a great listener. I think a nurse needs to know that it is one of the most important qualities of a nurse; to listen to the patient. Really, listen to them,” she commented. “We also need to be compassionate with the patient’s families. We have such a big effect on them too and as we listen to them, we are building trust with them. Also, I think a nurse needs to be an advocate. We need to speak up for them when needed and be their voice.”
“Even though we are smaller than a hospital, we are big in teamwork. My co-workers are wonderful and we always have each other’s back, no matter what the situation. It is amazing how close we become to our family away from home,” Lauren said. “We see about forty patients a week and we stay pretty busy.”
“The most rewarding part of my job is when I know that I am helping the patients in such a way that we make them feel at ease; calming them down when they have an accident. I feel like a nurse has one of the most rewarding jobs around and I wouldn’t change it for anything. It is all worth it,” Lauren commented.
Lauren and her husband, Ricky have a little girl, Tynley who is five months old. Ricky is a high school baseball coach. Lauren and Ricky have a special way of celebrating their vacation every year. ‘We go to a major league baseball park. We are so much into baseball, that we named our three dogs with the New York Yankees baseball team in mind. There is a Great Dane, Bronx, a lab, Buddy, who looks like Air Bud and then a Chihuahua Pomeranian, Mendoza after Jessica Mendoza who was an Olympia softball player.