by James Coburn, Staff Writer
A career as an ER nurse is never the same two days in a row. That is why Mary Randall likes it, she said. Randall is a registered nurse and the clinical nurse manager for the emergency department at INTEGRIS Health Edmond.
Sometimes two hours in a row is a completely different job,” Randall said. “You don’t get those relationships that patients taking care of people long-term get. We don’t get that in the emergency room. We see people for a brief period of time in their life, a brief period of time in their hospital stay.”
“So we get to make a big difference and get people on to a different route somewhere in a short period of time.”
She said the relationships people develop working in ICU, medical surgical settings as well as long-term care is too emotionally difficult for her.
“So I like the less time. You get the intense emotion, but not the investment,” she said.
A graduate of Redlands Community College in El Reno, Randall has been a registered nurse since 2004. She began working for INTEGRIS in the emergency room in 2003 at INTEGRIS South in Oklahoma City as a nurse extern in nursing school. When she earned her degree she worked at INTEGRIS Baptist Medical Center in the ER until 2011.
“Then I left the emergency room and went to the surgical admitting unit, pre-op at Baptist,” she said. “And I worked there for four years.”
She picked up shifts at INTEGRIS Health Edmond during her last year at INTEGRIS Baptist before serving the ER department full time in 2015.
Randall said she wants to make each patient’s visit as good as possible at INTEGRIS Health Edmond. ER nurses see people in extreme situations. Each patient admitted to the ER always brings a surprise, she said.
“Like when I worked in surgery. Those people who had catastrophic things — they had some time to prepare before they came to us,” Randall continued. “So people in the emergency room, if it’s a devastating event, or a family member that’s having a devastating event, it’s certainly surprising, shocking, and sometimes one of the worse instances of a person’s life.”
So Randall said that’s more reason to make their experiences as good as they can be. She has a talent for making people laugh, especially in grave situations. Randall said patients take comfort when seeing somebody else who is at ease enough with their jobs to make a joke.
“Like if somebody fell at their granddaughter’s college graduation like I had two weeks ago,” Randall said. “Here she is. She came all the way from Memphis and she crashed and burned at her granddaughter’s graduation. I said that is just not the place you want to fall where you’re the center of attention at your granddaughter’s graduation.”
Making people comfortable with laughter is something she plays by ear. But she likes to make people laugh to break the tension at times.
And INTEGRIS is a good place to do so in one’s career, she said.
“I just think that a lot of their policies are head and shoulders above other facilities’ policies. They really want to take good care of patients,” Randall said.
The nurses care about the quality of care they provide. They don’t want to be mediocre, but to excel at a hospital that helps them achieve their personal best. Quality staff is what makes an emergency room succeed in patient care.
“We have a sense of humor that’s darker than most,” she said. “Most people would call it black. But in a moment of somebody being really sick, or really hurt, everybody comes and everybody has a part to play in taking care of that person.”
Randall knows excellence happens in health care a lot. But with the ER staff at INTEGRIS Health Edmond, the scope is deeper and broader.
“The things that we do in a very short time can make a difference in a person’s living or not living,” Randall said.
Not all injuries are serious, she said, but they need to be taken care of in a quick and precise way.
All emergency room nurses, the doctors and staff surrounding them, are always a good team.
“But this team is like the cream of the crop,” Randall said. “We’re not just good emergency room nurses. We’re like the best.”
And when she’s not being a nurse, Randall is liking her nine horses and her three dogs.
“I have two adult children. So what I do when I’m not here is basically — I’m outside riding the horses,” she said.