CAREERS IN NURSING: TEAMWORK IN THE ER: ST. ANTHONY’S HOSPITAL – SHAWNEE
by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Brandi Parsons, RN stays busy as she works as the ER Clinical Coordinator at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Shawnee, OK. In the past, Parsons has worked in different areas in the hospital but she found her calling was in the ER. “I love my job,” she says.
Parsons received her nursing degree from Seminole State College and went to nursing school at St. Gregory’s in Shawnee, OK. She gives a lot of credit and praise to Dr. George Newhouse and Nina Kirk, who were two of her mentors while she was in school. “I had a lot of speedbumps along the way and they got me through some tough times. I will always be grateful to them for helping me along the way. They were both so encouraging to me,” she states.
It was in 2002 that her grandmother had several heart issues. Not much later, her grandmother passed away from a sudden cardiac arrest. “This was the first death in my family that I had ever experienced,” Parson said. “It was life-changing for me in so many ways. There was a special lady, my grandmother’s nurse, Violet that stood in the gap while I was dealing with the loss of my grandmother. It was at that time, I knew I wanted to be a nurse, just like her. I set out to be the best nurse ever and I still aim for that,” she said with a smile. “I feel like I am honoring Violet in a special way,” she added.
“What do you consider to be your biggest asset?” I ask Parsons. “I think it must be compassion. I really feel for the patients. It makes me feel good to know that I make a difference.” Co-workers describe Parsons as driven, creative and fun-loving. “That’s nice to hear,” Parson replies.
Parsons’ doesn’t have a typical day at the hospital. “Working in the ER, each day is so different,” she says. That is because we get patients from 5 counties plus some from Oklahoma City. “I am so thankful that here at St. Anthony’s, we have a wonderful staff, excellent doctors and nurses and excellent techs. We all work as a team and we are a strong team. That is so important in patient care,” she adds.
Asking Parsons if there is anything about her job that she would change, she replies, “I would definitely make more time to spend with the patients. One of the main things that I would like to share with others is about teamwork. Working as a team, we always have an extra set of hands. Being on a team is critical, especially in the ER. It’s like a clock gear. Each piece has its own job and when we work together, everything runs smoothly. In the ER, each moment counts! It is up to us to take care of each patient the best we can. We see our results when our patients leave the hospital, knowing that all of us have done our very best. Even to this day, I get thank-you cards from patients that I had 4-5 years ago. I appreciate each one of them so much,” Parson said.
When Parsons is not working, she spends much of her time with her husband, Shawn, who is a police officer. They have 2 daughters, 24 and 22, and a son, 11. Both daughters attend Rose State college. Both girls are following in their parents’ footsteps. One daughter is going into nursing while the other one is going into police work. “Our son is into sports, mainly baseball.” Parsons also is a party planner and loves birthday parties. She is also in charge of the annual toy drive at St. Anthony’s. She collects toys throughout the year and gives them to the children in Pediatrics. The hospital makes their day a little brighter. “Children are so scared when they come to the hospital. It is amazing what some little stuffed animal or a small toy will make everything seem okay for them,” she said.
“What inspires you to come to work every day,” I ask Parsons. “Oh, that’s an easy question,” she says. It’s the people and our team; we save lives. That also includes sitting with the patient and holding their hand when they are told about their diagnosis. It’s patting their back and encouraging them when they need it the most. It’s being there to listen even though you’ve heard the story a dozen times. It’s a brighter day with just a smile. What inspires me? Saving lives.”