PASSION IN NURSING
SAFETY IS PARAMOUNT: THE FOUNDATION OF EVERYTHING WE DO
by Vickie Jenkins – Writer/Photographer
Meet Kelli Peters, RN, Emergency Department Team Manager at Integris Deaconess Hospital. Kelli attended Oklahoma City Community College and has been a nurse for nine years. “My first job was working as a Staff RN and then a Supervisor for the Surgical Specialty Unit at OU Medical Center,” she said. “I’ve spent the last four years at Integris Deaconess.”
Kelli’s father was a missionary and Kelli spent her childhood growing up in Japan. “When I was thirteen years old, my family moved to Oklahoma where I have lived ever since.”
What qualities make a good nurse? “A GOOD nurse must have authentic compassion and empathy. A GREAT nurse communicates those qualities with their behavior,” Kelli replied.
Kelli says that the biggest reward she receives from being a nurse is watching other people succeed and teaching them something new; making a difference in the lives of others.
What is your biggest challenge? “As Team Manager, there is one answer and that is STAFFING,” she said with a laugh. “Personally, it is finding that work/life balance. It is easy to get caught up in the needs of work. Healing a person isn’t always easy but helping a patient and their family get through a surgery, illness or a medical emergency is a privilege. It’s an honor and a calling,” she answered.
The person that influenced Kelli more than anyone was her grandmother. These are the words that she shared with Kelli. ‘Everyone has their own strengths and things they are good at. We can all serve God, country, humanity in our own way.’ “My grandmother told this to me constantly and that is the reason I am a nurse today. Caring for others is my passion.”
During Kelli’s clinicals, she had several mentors. “I was lucky enough to get paired with an RN on the adult Surgical Specialty unit at OUMC. I had such a fantastic time and learned so much from watching her take care of others and that is when I knew that was where I wanted to work. I was lucky enough to be hired on as a Nurse Partner during my last year of nursing school and those nurses taught me more than I could have imagined. They taught me how to be my best professional self but it was also okay to let my humanity show. They taught me how to laugh and cry with the patients and their families. They taught me that while it was important to master time management it was also vital to take the time to sit down next to our patients and just listen,” Kelli said. “I will always admire those people that helped me.”
“About 18 months ago, I was approached about becoming the Safety Coach Champion for the hospital. I was vaguely familiar with this program but my interest was immediately sparked because of my love for safety. To me, safety is paramount; it’s the foundation of everything we do. We practice medicine and we practice nursing. A lot of what we do now is because of mistakes and lessons others had to learn. Now, we have the Safety Coach Program. I knew that we needed Safety Coaches from every single department in the hospital. Safety Coaches reinforce safety everywhere all the time. So, we armed these volunteer Safety Coaches with information and tools to use on how to approach people, how to communicate, how to be more effective, and how to influence others, making safety a priority in their department. Suggestions were approved and improvements were made. The more our Safety Coaches felt listened to, the more involved they became. More people began to volunteer, holding the position of Safety Coach. Our ideas grew. One voice, one safety concern changed things for the entire hospital. I love this program and safety is my passion, by working together and keeping safety in the center of what we do, we can make best practices into common practices,” Kelli stated.
What daily words do you live by? “What is the safest thing you can possible do?” Kelli replied with a smile. “If you are ever in a situation as a nurse and you are not sure what you should do, ask yourself that question and the answer will reveal itself,” she added.
Kelli is an outstanding nurse with a great personality. She was fortunate enough to receive the 2018 Oklahoma Hospital Association Spirit award for spirit of passion and dedication in December for Integris Deaconess.