CAREERS IN NURSING: ENDURING COMPASSION WORKS WONDERS
by James Coburn – staff writer
Society does not have enough people defending the elder population, said Trina Carrell, LPN, Capital Hill Skilled Nursing & Therapy, located in Oklahoma City.
“Even with staffing shortages (across the state), there has to be somebody taking care of them,” she said. “There has to be somebody who is making sure there is a good quality of life for them.”
Her motivation to help people has gone from a being a CNA into the frontline of nursing. In December Carrell will celebrate three years as a licensed practical nurse. Being a nurse is something to celebrate, she said.
Carrell is a nursing school graduate of Platt College doing the night-time program because she worked full-time as a medication aide while attending school.
She wanted to be a physician while she was growing up. But life had other plans, she said.
Her infant son became very sick when she had her third baby. He was placed in a hospital’s intensive care unit. (story continues below)
“The doctor was really rude to me. This nurse who couldn’t have been more than 5-feet tall, she got in his face and said, ‘This woman — this is her third baby — she’s taking care of a sick mom. She has two toddlers.’ I mean she was the biggest advocate, and that’s when I was like, ‘I want to be a nurse. I want to be that voice,’” Carrell said. “She was amazing.”
As a nurse, Carrell set her course in geriatric care so she could advocate for the elder population. To this day she has never regretted finding her niche. She gave up a more profitable job as a truck driver to become a nurse.
She learned a lot by being a CNA when it comes to caring for others. Carrell makes sure her residents are cared for. Her preference would be for all nurses to spend time as a CNA before applying for a nursing program in order to learn the basics of care. Nurses depend on CNAs because they experience less time rendering hands-on care for each patient, Carrell said.
“The residents themselves — the patients — they teach you,” Carrell continued.
The nursing team takes a team approach. Carrell works seamlessly with the same certified nurse aide, Brandi Wolf, and her CMA Shae Driskell.
“Shae is punctual, she makes sure she’s on top of it for things that you need a second check with a person looking at stuff and saying, ‘Did you notice this?’ So, she’s absolutely brilliant. And then Brandi looks at the needs that is on the floor. She’s my second set of eyes. If somebody’s just slightly off, she’s like, ‘Hey, we need to go down here and look at that.’ So, if I started to assess somebody and something started to happen, she’s like right behind.”
Capital Hill Skilled Nursing & Therapy fits her schedule well while she works toward becoming a Registered Nurse at Oklahoma City Community College. The courses are challenging when working full-time, she said. But perseverance is one of her qualities.
She said that she doesn’t know where all her energy comes from. Her husband describes her as a workaholic, she said with laughter. Carrell is a self-defined early riser. Her mind in the morning is filled with ways to get things done.
“In medical, you think you’re going to have a smooth day, but the first thing you get hit with is, ‘Oh, this happened,’” she explained. “So, I just like to be here and get everything organized and on time. That way if that bump hits, I’m prepared for it.”
Carrell also works with Brandi’s twin sister. When Brandi leaves, Candi comes walking up and down the halls making sure everything is clean and in order.
Carrell said she is abundantly blessed at Capital Hill Skilled Nursing and Therapy.
“I can’t complain,” she said.
Working as a nurse in long-term care involves acute organizational skills at each shifting moment. Clarity is always a plus. Carrell said support from the administrator and director of nursing is indispensable.
“You have to have that support system. Everyone needs to be on the same page working as a team,” she said.
Driskell will pitch in when the assistant is busy. She’s seen the administrator, who is a registered nurse, pitch in on a need whether it’s answering a call light or taking out trash.
“It’s that kind of teamwork that makes things happen,” she said. “It makes life enjoyable. You’re not getting that constant stress of feeling like you’re carrying everything on your own.”
For more information visit: www.capitolhillok.com.