by Bobby Anderson, RN, Staff Writer
Music, teaching, medical assisting and nursing.
Karla Holland’s background is varied, but she tears up when she talks about that last one.
There’s a passion on display that not everyone in nursing is blessed with.
And it’s a fact the Integris Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Nurse of the Year knows all too well.
“The work we put in is good work,” she said, tearing up. “That’s why I keep doing it.”
Holland was a medical assistant, LPN then RN and is working on her master’s in leadership.
Coworkers will tell you she pours into her patients.
Halfway through her master’s degree, she’s continuing to pour into herself.
“It’s very beneficial because you have to look at the big picture. We aren’t just one unit it’s the whole hospital,” Holland said of how her studies and her job intertwine. “Every unit contributes to the whole hospital, the entire census and all the data.”
“I want to make a difference in healthcare. One person can make a difference but it’s better with a team.”
That word “team” gets referenced a lot when you you visit Jim Thorpe. It’s one of the reasons Holland loves her job so much.
Her former role was in pediatric home health. The move to rehab revitalized her.
“I love kids but I have kids of my own and I couldn’t do it anymore because it was so sad,” Holland said. “I did not want to be sad coming to work every day.”
“I enjoy rehab because you’re teaching people.”
The next fives years will likely yield a larger leadership role.
“I’ve seen other hospitals and that’s why I chose to work at Integris,” she said. “I like working rehab because we don’t have a lot of codes on this floor – I’m not saying it never happens – but you can actually see all the hard work you put in and see the miracles that do happen.”
Before nursing, Holland served as a pre-k music teacher at St. John’s Catholic Church in Edmond.
The move into healthcare was spurred by a need to make a difference and help others.
Since 1985, INTEGRIS Jim Thorpe Rehabilitation Center in Oklahoma City has been one of America’s largest and most respected systems for both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation needs. The team includes physicians, nurses, psychologists, therapists, dietitians, social workers, and case managers.
The hospital offers acute care therapy services, inpatient rehabilitation, and outpatient rehabilitation at convenient locations in the Oklahoma City area, as well as across the state.
Jim Thorpe provides state of the art specialty programs for limb loss, brain injury, orthopedic injury, spinal cord injury, stroke and transplant/LVAD, and also serve patients with a variety of other illnesses and conditions including cardiac conditions, pulmonary disorders, Parkinson’s disease, burns, neurological conditions, cancer and other debilitating diseases.
Holland has worked at both Jim Thorpe facilities in the metro. Working at Integris Southwest Medical Center’s Jim Thorpe, she learned a lot about rehabilitation with spinal cord injuries.
Her Integris Baptist experience has opened up her eyes to cardiac rehab, LVAD, and transplant patients.
She tears up when asked why she does what she does.
No two days are alike.
“You can never plan, ever,” Holland said. “If you plan it’s not going to work out how you planned so I’m just open to whatever happens and deal with it. If you’re a planner and try to plan it’s not going to work out. You have to be flexible. Patient safety and patient care is always first.”
“You’re always using the nursing process and seeing what’s most important.”
Holland has three daughters and a son who were there as she battled through nursing school.
“I don’t know how I did it but I did,” Holland laughed. “I was studying constantly and my husband was a huge help.”
Earlier this year she was named Jim Thorpe’s Nurse of the Year for 2018. That meant she was able to dress up and attend a ceremony with her family. “I’m proud of my mommy, I think she deserves it because she works really hard and is a great person,” daughter Danielle said of her mom’s award.
“She works super hard and I’m proud of her and she helps a lot of people,” daughter Bella echoed.
And daughter Makayla summed it up quite nicely: “I think it’s awesome that my mom is nurse of the year and I’m very proud of her.”
And that, too, brings tears to Holland’s eyes.