by Vickie Jenkins, Staff Writer
When you go to Oklahoma Center for Orthopaedic & Multi-Specialty Surgery (OCOM) you will find a staff of professionals doing what they love to do, caring for their patients. One extraordinary nurse, Sonia Barbour, RN, can be found working in the joint replacement area. Advances in technology, medicine, and pain control have created a world where joint replacement procedures can be done better, safer, and more efficiently than ever before. (Story continued below)
Sonia always had a desire to care for others. When she was a little girl, she was amazed at how things worked and she was fascinated with science! “When I was little, I always thought it would be fun to work with animals. I wanted to be a taxidermist! Apparently, I changed my mind when I was a little older. I remember being at school, in the fifth grade. The teacher gave us an assignment; What I wanted to be when I grow up? Since I had always enjoyed caring for others, including all of the animals I could gather, I shared the wish that I want to be a nurse. Sure enough, I never grew out of that one,” she said with a laugh. “My mom still has my school paper of me wanting to be a nurse, after thirty years, “ she added.
Growing up in Oklahoma, Sonia went to OSU-OKC for her nursing degree. Some of my favorite classes were Biology and Science. Sonia has been a nurse for seven years. She previously worked at Mercy and McBride. “My favorite part of my job here at OCOM is the closeness that I feel with my co-workers. We are like a big happy family. We all get along well and we even have dinner together every Wednesday evening. This is a nice place to work,” she stated.
Asking Sonia what qualities she thought made a good nurse, she replied, “I think one important quality a nurse should have is compassion. A nurse needs to think quick and handle emergency situations, be able to listen to their patient, really listen and be able to talk to the patient, making them feel comfortable. I really like to get to know the patients, from their first visit. The patients like to get to know their nurse too. Nurse and patient, we are good for each other,” she said with a smile.
“My biggest reward of being a nurse is the friendships that I have formed with my patients and my co-workers. Everyone here is so nice and friendly. If someone needs help with anything, there is always someone available. My absolute biggest reward is when the patients tell me thank you for taking care of them. Sometimes, the patients bring us little gifts or homemade cookies.”
Do you have any challenges here at work? “It’s not really a challenge but sometimes, I feel like I am the BIG SIS. I’m older than some of the nurses because I started my nursing career at a later time. I feel like a lot of the nurses come to me with questions. If a new nurse comes in, I am the one that usually trains them. It actually makes me feel good to be the one they ask for advice or to help them along the way,” Sonia commented.
Sonia stays busy as she works full-time nightshift. When not working, Sonia likes to spend time with her husband, Steve, of twenty-five years. “We have three sons, twenty-four, twenty-two and twenty,” she said. When it comes to hobbies, Sonia loves to ride her bike. “I usually go ride fifteen to twenty miles. It gives me a chance to get out and get some fresh air. It is great way to unwind and get rid of all that stress. Plus, it is great exercise! I also like to garden and I love caring for the many foster animals that seem to come my way, “Sonia added.
How has the coronavirus changed your life since the pandemic began? “I know it is hard on everyone but hopefully, it will be coming to an end soon. I know that I have missed spending time with my friends and family. I miss socializing and going places. I know it makes me appreciate all of the simple things that I took advantage of. Sometimes, it seems very hard to handle, yet, I know that I have to stay positive for the patients, my family and for myself.”