by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
Sometimes, when we least expect it, our loved ones experience Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia. Dealing with the effects of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementia related impairments can be difficult to handle. At times, it is hard for the family to understand what our loved ones are going through, along with finding a place for them to be cared for. It can be extremely challenging for families.
A highly qualified facility is Heritage Point of Oklahoma City, located at 12000 N. MacArthur. Here, you will find Rashelle Reed, LPN, one of the charge nurses for the forty residents. “I go by Ray,” she said. “It’s easy to remember and it’s like a ray of sunshine. I feel like I am a ray of sunshine to these residents or so they tell me,” she said with a smile.
Being the charge nurse at Heritage Point has given Ray more responsibilities. Caring for forty residents can be difficult at times but Ray loves her job and wouldn’t want to do anything else. It takes a special person to work with Alzheimer patients and Ray is one of those people; full of love and concern and knowing the needs of each individual. “Of course, some of the patients are very confused at different times, but we just have to get to their level and that is how we communicate the best,” she commented.
After Ray graduated from high school, she was unsure what she wanted to do with her life. She tried cosmetology for a while but soon found out that cosmetology wasn’t the job suited for her. She soon began working in a nursing home in Ardmore, OK; doing housekeeping and laundry. Being around the residents, she began to relate to them, feeling a real sense of compassion. She continued to work there, becoming a CNA and then CMA. Now, Ray was twenty-five years old. This was the year that her mother passed away. Before her mother died, she had asked Ray to promise to become a nurse. Ray knew what she must do. She attended Canadian Valley in El Reno, OK, becoming an LPN. This was just the beginning of the path of stepping stones that Ray would follow. “Now, I feel like there was a reason for me to become a nurse and I plan on continuing my education, becoming an RN. I will keep my promise to my mother, caring for others. “I just want to continue to learn a little more each day. I have set a goal and I will reach that goal,” she added.
Asking Ray what her favorite part of her job was, with a quick response, she said, “It is the interaction with the residents that I love.” “When I am with the residents, they are like walking and talking history books. They have such interesting stories to tell. Not only does it help them by sharing their stories but it is fascinating to me. Now, I know for a fact that nursing chose me. My calling is definitely nursing.”
Ray believes that going into the medical field opens a variety of opportunities to anyone seeking a job as a nurse. “Nursing is the security of employment, even when relocating. Plus, there are so many different fields that one can go into. “I like working with the elder people; everyone needs to find the field that interests them. We will always need nurses,” Ray stated.
One of the most important qualities about Ray is the fact that she sets goals and follows through with each one. “I even have a check list that I use to write down my goals and check them off as I go. It helps me stay focused on opportunities that come my way. I am a hard worker and driven to do my best and I watch for doors to open in the medical field.”
Asking Ray what her biggest contribution to the residents at Heritage Point was, she replied, “It would be my time. That is by far, the most rewarding gift that can be given and received,” she said with a smile.
When not working, Ray enjoys spending time with her son and her two grandsons, Kane and Clarke. “I love my little babies,” she said. Her hobbies include traveling when she gets a chance.
If you were going to sum up your life in one word, what would it be? With a bright smile, she replied, “Blessed.”