PASSION IN NURSING
HELPING TO NAVIGATE THE JOURNEY: COLETTA CANCER CARE CENTER
by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Part of Mercy Hospital is the Coletta Cancer Care Center, located at 4401 McAuley Boulevard, Oklahoma City, OK. It is the first facility in the Oklahoma City metro area to combine all cancer and breast services under one roof. One of the doctors at the Center is Craig Lee Reitz, MD, Oncology, and Hematology. His nurse is Jennifer A. Busch, RN. She has worked with Dr. Reitz for six and half years on the Oncology floor and has been his nurse since January of 2018.
Jennifer grew up in Seattle, Washington and moved to Oklahoma in 1997. She graduated from the nursing program at Rose State College in 2011. She has been a nurse for 7 years. She started out working nights as a nursing assistant on the Oncology floor. “It was a nice transition at the time. I learned from some wonderful nurses and am thankful that I got to learn from them,” Jennifer said. “Dr. Reitz is a wonderful doctor/teacher and is adored by our patients for good reason. I really enjoy working with him,” she comments.
Asking Jennifer what qualities make a good nurse, she replied, “I think a nurse is someone that listens well, pays attention to detail, can be objective and passionate at the same time and enjoys people, relating and connecting with them,” she replied.
The 3 words describing Jennifer would be, honest, compassionate and loyal. “I am honest almost to a fault, I genuinely care about people, I am very protective and fiercely loyal to those I love, respect and care about,” she explained.
Jennifer’s favorite part of being an oncology nurse is the bond that she forms with her patients and their families. “I am a part of the journey that they are on and I have the privilege of helping them navigate this scary, nightmare cancer diagnosis. I get to laugh with them, cry with them, hope with them and just be someone they can call when they have questions or need reassurance,” she said.
The greatest reward Jennifer receives as a nurse is the fact that she has made a difference in a patient’s life. “It is such a great feeling to know that I am able to help a patient, making a difficult time a little easier for them and their family.”
If Jennifer could change anything about her job, she said it would be to have more time to spend with the patients and not feel like she is being pulled in so many different directions. “It’s challenging sometimes to manage all of the responsibilities but that is when working with other nurses and team members willing to help out makes such a difference. In our clinic, we work together.”
Asking Jennifer if she is a leader or a follower, she said, “I can be a leader but actually, I prefer not to be. I think working as a team in healthcare is important for us as well as a benefit for the patient. We have a wonderful team here in our clinic. Our doctors, nurses, schedulers, and the list could go on. Everyone has an important role in the care of our patients and it works like a pretty smooth machine. I feel honored to work with all of my coworkers. “
Jennifer’s hobbies include reading and hanging out with her dogs. She loves watching college sports, especially football, women’s basketball and softball.
Growing up, Jennifer wanted to be a rock star or a teacher. “Not necessarily in that order! If I couldn’t be a nurse, I would have been a veterinarian. I chose NURSE.”
Jennifer describes her typical day as CRAZY! “When I get to work, I check my email, faxes, prescription refill requests; see patients in the clinic with Dr. Reitz, more email, faxes, etc. Then, there is always the phone to answer. The day flies by and it’s time to go home and come back and do it again! It’s very challenging but I enjoy it!”
Now, on the lighter side…I asked Jennifer if she had a funny story about her experience as a nurse. Yes, she did. “During my first semester of nursing school, I was getting ready to do my first finger stick on a patient. The patient was in their 80’s and quite the character. When I asked if she had a finger she preferred (to do the finger stick on) she flipped me the bird! Needless to say, I learned to pay attention to how I phrased my questions in the future!”