CAREERS IN NURSING
KINDNESS MATTERS – RN MAKES DIFFERENCE IN PATIENTS’ LIVES
by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Julie Wheeler, RN, takes care of patients that are not quite sick enough for the ICU but are too sick to be on a regular floor.
Wheeler serves as a staff nurse and a relief charge nurse at the Progressive Care Unit at the modern state-of-the-art Pavilion at St. Anthony Hospital in midtown Oklahoma City.
After graduation from college in Florida Wheeler found her niche at St. Anthony 17 years ago. She has had opportunities to work in other hospitals but chose not to leave.
“I really do like it here,” Wheeler said. “Mostly it’s the people. I’ve worked with very good people and managers over the years. They’ve been very good to work with, very flexible.”
Her career commenced in cardiac telemetry before the unit transitioned to a step down unit. Half of the unit split into the step down unit.
“As the years progressed we became the Progressive Care Unit,” she said.
She has been with several of her coworkers for quite some time. They have established a cohesive synergy that has served patients well, she said.
“It’s awesome because they’ve seen my kids grow up. We’ve been going through life together. It’s like a family,” Wheeler continued.
Wheeler has five children. She and her husband are very involved in their church. She is originally from Canada so the family makes a lot of trips to Ontario.
She moved to the USA to attend school. Her sister was working in Oklahoma so her parents suggested that they live in the same state.
“I met my husband actually here at the hospital. He worked as a monitor technician at the time,” Wheeler said. “And a year later we got married.”
Her days at St. Anthony are spent working beside nurses who strive to take care of their patients the best they can. They care about their patients and that means a lot to Wheeler.
About two years ago, Wheeler learned that St. Anthony was going to build an expansive new pavilion. Her nursing team didn’t know they would be moving into the new addition at first.
“But when we learned we were moving we were very excited,” she said.
The four-story structure is complete with brick, stone, stucco with a glass exterior and a new roof-top heliport. It will connect at the northeast wing and through the existing east entrance to the hospital.
Services provided include a new emergency room, intensive care unit and step-down nursing units. The first floor is all emergency services. The second, third and fourth are a telemetry unit and critical care units.
The surface parking is located on the block between 8th and 9th Streets and Dewey and Walker.
The configuration of the St. Anthony Pavilion compliments the needs of patient care with easy access for physicians, nurses, patients and family members as well as related hospital staff. There are 48 critical care beds.
“It is working out. We are still learning a different flow of things because it is a different set-up,” Wheeler said.
The patients have a better experience at the hospital because of their closer proximity to the nurses, she added. Nurses can better observe their patients at the new Pavilion opposed to the one central nurses station of the past.
“We have these little nurses’ stations throughout, so we can literally be sitting in front of our patients and we like that,” she said of the 21 century design.
Most people who know Wheeler recognize she is devout in her religious faith. She remembers the Bible verse, “Some have compassion making a difference.”
“So I try every day making a difference in my patients’ lives,” she said. “If I’m taking care of patients on the floor or if I’m teaching one of our new nurses something new, my goal is to show compassion in whatever I do. That as my motto in life — it helps.”