Registered nurse understands seniors’ needs
by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Hannah Goodspeed, a registered nurse at Baptist Village in Oklahoma City chooses long-term care because the senior generation of elders has a good outlook on life, she said.
“They are easy to care for and are appreciative most times. They are just gentle and sweet and I really like caring for them,” Goodspeed said.
Goodspeed has been a registered nurse for nearly three years. She was a licensed professional nurse for a year before transitioning to an RN. She was living in Elk City when she engaged in an online LPN to RN program at the Western Oklahoma State College. She had studied to become an LPN at Western Technology Center.
Two years ago Goodspeed accepted a nursing position at Baptist Village where she immediately had an affinity with the staff and residents of the retirement community that has a continuum of care from independent living to long-term care.
“I’ve worked in long-term care for eight years now and the administration and the people here genuinely care for their staff members,” Goodspeed said. “That is not always easy to find.”
She found the nursing staff to be not only task oriented, but compassionate professionals dedicated to their mission. Nurses are detail oriented so rarely does anything go unnoticed. There is always someone to pitch in.
“They are genuinely caring towards their patients,” she said.
In order to serve at Baptist Village the nurses have to be attentive, punctual and trustworthy, Goodspeed explained. Timeliness is a key factor.
She did not always want to be a nurse. Goodspeed said she did not have a career in mind when she started out as a dishwasher in the Corn Heritage Nursing Village in Weatherford. She also cooked for a brief time and did housekeeping.
“I started to see the nurse aides working on the floor and I kind of admired them,” she said. “So I was a nurse aide for a long time and then I decided to further my nursing career into being a nurse.
Nurse aides have a tremendous quantity of patients to care for during their careers. The patients have needs that need to be recognized quickly, Goodspeed said.
“You learn this person needs this at this time and this other person is going to need this at this time,” she continued. “You definitely learn how to manage your time very well.
“You also learn that just being kind makes people’s outlook on life a lot better.”
She also meets a lot of kind residents with interesting stories that makes it fun for Goodspeed to listen to what they have to say. At times she meets people when they are down and depressed about their lives. They just want someone to talk to, she said.
Goodspeed learns about history by first-hand accounts about having served the country in the Vietnam and Korean wars.
“It’s not very common anymore in this time, but they’ve been married for 50 or 70 years. It’s so long and I like to ask them ‘What’s your secret?’ They just basically say you just have to work through your fights and don’t give up on each other.”
She has also has retired nurses for patients. Goodspeed said you would think they would be non-compliant patients with everything they know.
“But that is not the case,” she said. “They are actually very helpful. They’ve had some experiences over the years. So it’s interesting to listen to their take on care.
“They’ve learned some different ways that are not always taught but are effective. So it’s interesting to listen to what they have to say about care.”
Nursing was different years ago. One of Goodspeed’s former bosses told her about the time when a nurse was not on staff during night shifts. A nurse would be home on call and if something happened a nurse would go to work.
“Nowadays that is definitely not how it works,” Goodspeed said.
Today’s long-term care centers have more of a reputation for living life to it’s best. It is not a place where people go to die. They live life to its fullest.
“It’s a better quality of life,” Goodspeed said. “Long-term care has definitely made a turn for the better. They have made better measures to increase the quality of care.”
It takes a lot of strength to sell your house and move to a place with new people to meet and also to rely on people to care for your health.
“But most of them have a really good outlook on it, especially given the circumstances,” Goodspeed said.
Goodspeed said it makes her hopeful that there are so many medical advances to help people age more gracefully. Many of the people she meets in skilled nursing are in their 90s. These people continue to be mobile and are able to care for themselves at home, she said.
“That’s a great advancement. Twenty years ago, that wasn’t the case.”