CAREERS IN NURSING
LPN FINDS SECOND FAMILY: TUTTLE CARE CENTER
by Bobby Anderson – Writer/Photographer
Having a father with multiple health problems taught Carla Files, LPN, a lot of things.
She saw first-hand what multiple disease processes can do to an individual. She saw the toll it can take on a family.
But ultimately, through it all, she found her calling in life.
“He had a lot of health problems,” Files said unfolding the story of her father’s health issues. “At times we would do wound vacs at the house and IVs.”
Files learned how to start an IV even before she set foot in a nursing classroom.
By the time she even cracked her first textbook she had already had a crash course in nursing.
Files nursed her father through diabetes, a kidney transplant, open heart surgery and home dialysis.
It was through this process that Files decided she wanted to go into nursing.
Files received her nursing training at Platt College.
Tuttle Care Center is home to around 30 residents. It’s the only place Files has ever worked as a nurse.
Before nursing, she worked in a variety of jobs but never found that fulfillment she was looking for.
“I’m a late bloomer,” said Files, who entered nursing school at 40.
Entering nursing school, she found herself in a classroom with a lot of young girls. She never batted an eye.
“I graduated at the top of my class,” she said. “A lot of people I went to school with asked me to help them out. I caught on real fast. I had my family’s support and that’s one thing you have to have. If you don’t have it you’re not going to make it, especially if you have kids.”
On a whim, Files came into Tuttle Care Center one day and asked if they were hiring. The center was and she was encouraged to fill out an application.
Her interview was scheduled and she was hired on the spot by the director of nursing.
The Tuttle native embarked on 12-hour shifts for the first time and was trained by two different nurses over the course of two weeks.
She immediately went to nights and although she initially struggled, she settled into her new schedule. She even went to days and then came back to nights because she missed it so much.
One of the best parts is she lives only 10 blocks away.
“I like it. I really do. It just takes me a minute to get here and I don’t have to fight traffic,” she said with a smile.
Files grew up a Tuttle Tiger. She’s lived in the community since she was 11. She adores her role.
“I get to meet new people for one thing. I get to help them and I get to teach them,” she said. “I get to meet their families and get to teach them about the diagnosis and treatments.”
With barely 6,000 residents, Files is bound to run into patients’ family members. Working nights, she’s insulated to a point.
“We don’t have very many visitors (in the middle of the night),” she said with a laugh. “On nights, I’m the main boss. There’s no one overlooking me. I enjoy that position.”
That autonomy is another one of the perks she enjoys while working with a pair of CNAs at night.
Files is also participating in a unique study focused on aging.
Tuttle Care Center is one of four nursing homes in the state involved in a 12-week evidence-based fall prevention study organized by the Fran and Earl Ziegler OU College of Nursing.
The study, entitled It’s Not OK to Fall, is led by Diana L. Studevant, PhD, GCNS-BC, APRN and Teri Round, BSN, MS, RN, BC-NE.
Nursing is at the forefront of the study, which seeks to implement new ways to keep residents from falling.
It’s a proactive approach to falls prevention that center Administrator Lisa Childree feels could make a tremendous impact on nursing in our state.
Working her her father prepared Files for nursing in ways she never could have imagined.
Files’ father was diagnosed as diabetic at 37. She said he attended classes but never took care of himself like he should.
He passed away while Files was in nursing school.
“He had been sick so long. I’m just glad he’s not suffering,” she said.
Now she’s part of a staff that makes sure residents receive the care they need on a daily basis.
“The staff here is great,” she said. “They give 110 percent taking care of these residents. It’s family.”
And Files has been taking care of family way longer than the 10 years she’s been in nursing.