by James Coburn – Writer/Photographer
Hilary Scanlan says she has always known she wanted to work in a geriatric setting. The LPN serves as a charge nurse at Willow Creek Health Care, located in Guthrie. She is upwardly mobile as a nurse.
“I’ve always been interested in caring for them in giving them the best possible service that I can,” Scanlan said. “I’m really interested in Alzheimer’s, stroke patients and the neurology side of aging. And I believe working in long-term care gives me a very good insight to that process.”
Scanlan is also the first nurse in her family. Even when she was younger, she had a motherly persona and looked out for all of her friends.
“I really paid attention to what they needed,” Scanlan said. “I feel like that was what I was meant to do — to be a nurse.”
She became an LPN in 2014 after graduating from Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech Pathology from Oklahoma State University.
Scanlan is also currently pursing her RN degree at Rose State College in Midwest City. Her aspiration is to become certified in both neurological nursing, long-term nursing and geriatric nursing after she graduates in April of 2017.
“I just decided that nursing was what I wanted to do,” she said.
Scanlan also works in the ER department of Stillwater Medical Center, where she does patient reconciliation by updating patients’ medication and monitoring how and when they take it. She is now on call at Stillwater ever since she accepted her full time roll at Willow Creek in January. She joined Willow Creek as part time status in May of 2015.
At Willow Creek, Scanlan works with providing insulin and other medications. She performs peg-tube feedings, wound care, breathing treatments and basically monitors her patients’ well being.
“I make sure no one falls. If someone doesn’t feel good, I make sure that they get medication and are tended to how they need to,” Scanlan said.
She also loves the nursing staff. They are also attentive and good at performing patient centered care, she said.
“My perspective is if you’re going to work in long-term care, you need to treat the people you’re working with as if they were your family,” she said. “They are someone’s family, and you need to look at it as if this was your family member, and if you didn’t work here, and you come in to see the condition they are in — what kind of condition do you want to see them in?”
The staff takes pride in making sure the residents are cared for to the best of their ability, she said. They make sure their rooms are clean, their beds are tended to and the residents are in good condition, Scanlan continued.
“They just really treat them with respect,” she said. “They don’t ignore lights. They make sure that family members are kept in the loop. When something happens to one of the residents — they call them and let them know. They notify their physician immediately.”
“They’re just good and very resident centered.”
Some people might say being a nurse is for the great hours and pay. Such is not the case for Scanlan, she said.
“It’s taking care of somebody that can’t possibly take care of themselves,” she said. “It’s making sure that they know that I am here for them. For whatever they need, I am their servant. I am here to help them and serve them in whatever way I can.”
Everyone feels their calling as a nurse from pediatrics to the emergency room.
“Mine is long-term care,” she said of her future. “I love the work every day. I found my calling when I was doing master’s work for speech pathology.”
One of her clients at the time lived in a nursing home and when she would provide speech therapy, she recognized her need to enrich the lives of others through long-term care, Scanlan said
She enjoys educating residents about the importance and use of new equipment meant to help them. She shares her passion with her fiance, who also works at Willow Wood while providing restorative and physical therapy”
“I like to go home and relax with him. We make dinner together. It’s something we do every night,” she said. “We have a lot of animals that we play with at our house. We watch movies together and play video games.”