CAREERS IN NURSING
NURSING IS PART OF EVERY ASPECT OF LIFE: FAMILY HEALTH CARE
by Traci Chapman – staff writer/photographer
For Kellie Carter, the life of service that is nursing goes far beyond work – it’s an outlook that touches everything she does.
That outlook began early on, Carter said, when she was a child who wanted to do things to help the people around her, to help ease even the minor pain she might see.
“I knew from the time I was in kindergarten that I wanted to be a nurse,” she said. “It’s funny because for a lot of kids their goal or dream will change, but mine never did – and I’ve never, ever wanted to do anything else.”
First, though, Carter started as a scrub tech. Working in surgery and labor and delivery for five years at Edmond Medical Center was “a dream,” she said – a chance to learn things beyond anything she’d known before, while also focusing on classes at Oklahoma City Community College that would allow her to fulfill her ultimate goal of becoming an RN.
She did that, spending a time honing her skills in places like Mercy Hospital, Integris Canadian Valley Hospital and OU Edmond, as well as working as a pediatric case manager at Preferred Pediatric.
But, then, fate intervened with her plans, she said. Married for 14 years, Carter and her husband had two biological children but then learned about fostering from a couple at their church. After adopting their youngest from Ethiopia, the couple decided to see if they could provide what foster children might need – it worked out so well they just last week completed the adoption of their last three children, three small boys.
“It’s such an amazing experience, such an honor, it’s just so many things, and of course having six children changes everything,” Carter said. “While I obviously use my nursing in every aspect of our lives, it was clear I needed to make a change in how I worked in the field – at least for now.”
That change came about last November, when Carter joined Family Health Care and Minor ER. A nurse practitioner clinic with locations in Yukon and Warr Acres, Family Health offered a mom with a newly expanded family a chance to continue the work she loved with hours more compatible with her new obligations, she said.
“They are really good to work with, they are a great team,” Carter said. “It’s a good place to work, and it gives you a lot of positives.”
Family Health has a different philosophy than many other clinics, still accepting SoonerCare patients when many facilities have stopped. That is a mindset that appeals to Carter, she said – the fact the clinic’s owners have the kind of priorities she always has lived by.
“It’s putting patients and care before dollars, and that’s what we’re supposed to be all about,” Carter said.
Among those are the chance to get to know patients who come back to the clinic on a regular basis – bringing their families with them, Carter said. It was a change from the hospital settings she knew so well, where contact was generally limited to just a few days.
“I really like that because we get to know them and they get to know us – we know about what’s going on in their lives and with their families,” she said. “It’s just such a nice atmosphere.
“We do a little bit of everything at the clinic, from rooming patients, taking their history, doing lab draws, giving vaccines and a variety of educational opportunities to help them stay in the best of health,” Carter said.
Another plus to Family Health is their work helping developmentally disabled adults, Carter said. Treating the most vulnerable of patients is both a challenge and a gift, she said.
“Our nurse practitioners are so wonderful, so patient and so kind, particularly with these patients, and it’s a great experience to be able to be a part of that,” she said. “We are very lucky that is a part of what we do.”
As her children begin attending Mustang Public Schools, Carter will also be performing a “side job” there at times, as she begins as a substitute nurse for the district, she said. It’s just another opportunity for Carter to do what she loves and what she knows she was meant to do, she said.
“I love caring for people and building relationships, getting to know people and knowing that I have maybe made their health or their day just a little bit better,” Carter said. “Being an RN has been very fulfilling in my life – there is always something out there to do in the nursing field and plenty of ladders to climb.”