Danielle Hodges, LPN, plans to become a registered nurse after the COVID-19 pandemic passes.

by James Coburn, Staff Writer

Danielle Hodges has a lot to celebrate as an LPN working nearly 11 years at Golden Age Nursing Home in Guthrie. She began her career there as a certified nurse aide, and has never looked back, except by being grateful.
“They did the training here, and I started as a CNA and became a CMA and just worked my way up to LPN,” Hodges said. (story continues below)

Central Oklahoma College

Central Oklahoma College seeking Nursing Clinic Instructor

The clinical nursing instructor is responsible for oversight and instruction of Practical Nursing Students during clinical rotations on Thursday and Fridays each week.
Hours are approx. 6:30am-2:30pm.
Applicants must hold  a valid unencumbered license to practice as a Registered Nurse in the State of Oklahoma, have a minimum of 3 years FT clinical nursing experience.
Must have BSN or in process of obtaining BSN. Application Email: mpugliese@centraloc.edu

She earned her nursing license in October of 2019 after graduating from Meridian Technology Center in August of that year. Golden Age was close to home and offered a lot of flexibility for a mother with children in school.
“It’s pretty family oriented and is kind of like my second family,” Hodges said.
Every learning opportunity is one she embraced. Having worked as a CNA was an in-depth experience in getting to know the residents, she said, by spending a lot of time with them. One inspiration led to another. Her former Director of Nurses would always ask her when she was going to start nursing school with each evaluation.
“My mom remembers I wanted to be a nurse when I was really little. And I had a doctor kit — I was always playing doctor with my dolls and said I’m going to be a nurse someday,” she said. “I started out of high school and life took different routes and I started back to school 24 years later.”
She learned about treatments and assessments in LPN school. But being a long-term care nurse and working in a skilled unit also takes a lot of patience, Hodges continued.
Hodges currently works on the skilled unit where she gets many of the new admissions. Her patients there have conditions such as hip fractures, broken bones or heart failure. Anyone recovering from an injury or serious illness will often transfer from a hospital to be rehabilitated before returning home or assisted living. They may also be admitted to the nursing home when needed. Her life is often touched by the challenges that she and patients fight to endure. Currently there are not any COVID-19 patients at Golden Age, but Hodges said the pandemic is one of the toughest experiences she has been through. She was a new nurse when the pandemic began spreading throughout Oklahoma in 2019.
“It makes you realize that you don’t take things for granted. Hug your loved ones close because you don’t know what tomorrow brings,” Hodges said. “That was tough. You had to give extra love to people because their loved ones weren’t able to. You were all they had. I don’t ever plan to go anywhere. This is my home.”
She loves everything about her patients, especially taking care of the elderly. She loves that all it takes is a smile on their faces to brighten the day.
Hodges loves that the nursing staff keeps each other going. When somebody is in self doubt wondering if they can endure, they learn from their co-workers they are built to endure.
“We’re going to go through this together,” is a phrase she has heard. “We are going to help each other out,” have been helpful words.
If someone is having a bad day, there is always a helping hand to pick-up the slack, she said.
Golden Age states that it continues to take all necessary steps to protect residents and staff by reducing the risk of spread of COVID-19 in compliance with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Centers of Disease Control and Prevention and CMS. The facility is currently operating in Phase 2 of the OSDH re-opening plan.
“While we are yet unable to fully re-open our doors to the public, residents may safely reunite with their loved ones using our indoor visitation area, Welcome Window or virtual methods,” Golden Age explains.
Family members are allowed to come inside to see a family member on hospice services by wearing personal protective equipment, Hodges said.
While working in the skilled unit Hodges always asks a patient about their goal. She works closely with the therapy department about how to achieve the personal best for each patient.
She said it’s a heart-felt moment to see a patient return home knowing they will have their quality of life continue outside the skilled unit.
Many former patients come up and hug her at the grocery store or right her letters of thanks.
Hodges is on her feet a lot and loves her family time with her husband and three children, and four grandchildren. Another grandchild is on the way. She also has goats at home she attends to.
“Yard work for me is relaxing,” she said.