That extra touch – Hospital goes
above-and-beyond in specialized acute care
story and photo by James Coburn, Staff Writer
Patients who have been in another hospital but their insurance is running out and they still need care and rehabilitation may come to Select Specialty Hospital in northwest Oklahoma City, said Jenny Stone. Select Specialty Hospital is a long-term acute care hospital.
“If they’re too critical for rehab or to go home they come to our hospital,” Stone explained.
Stone earned her nursing degree at OSU/OKC 12 years ago. She worked at Select Specialty Hospital for two years as a nurse tech while attending school. She has been with Select Specialty ever since. Her loyalty to Select Specialty Hospital continues today.
“It’s smaller,” she said. “It’s not such a big hospital. We are all family here. That’s what I like about it,” Stone said. She has had opportunities to work at other places but Stone likes the type of nursing she does and the patients she serves.
“One of the reasons is the people I work with. A lot of them have been here a long time with me,” she continued.
The patients she cares for may have complicated issues of co-morbidities that impact their health care needs. So she is grateful to work in an environment where she can witness the fruits of her labor when people are restored to their personal best in life. Stone said it’s nice to see her patients return home, go to rehab or be well enough to go to a skilled facility.
Many of the patients received at Select Specialty Hospital are on ventilators when they arrive with respiratory problems. Patients include individuals with traumatic brain injury, dialysis patients, COPD and other serious ailments. A team approach to patient care enhances the nurses’ response.
“Everybody is friendly,” she said. ”There are some places where you have bad apples, but everybody pretty much gets along here. They want to help and step in when needed.”
Among the essential qualities needed in her profession are good time management skills, she said. The work load can become very busy at times, so the nurses must stay on top of their charting and patients’ needs, Stone said. Helping the patients to succeed synchronizes with team work like a well-oiled machine working day and night around the clock with the needs of each patient in mind.
Nurses are busy and are on their feet a lot. But they take home with them personal gratifications that they gave their all for the welfare of humanity.
“Once I go home and I know that someone coded and they came back and you’ve saved someone’s life, it makes you feel good,” Stone said. “Sometimes our patients will even come back and visit us. When they’ve been on the ventilator here and were doing really poor, and they come in the door walking, it makes you feel really good that you’ve made a difference in somebody’s life.”
Patients are generally in Select Specialty Hospital for 28 days or longer which is more than enough time for the nurses to become attached to those persons they assist in getting better. A thank you will go a long way in adding momentum to a nurse’s day.
“We get a lot of cards usually saying, ‘Thank you for your help’ or ‘It was great,’” Stone said.
The age population of the patients at Select Specialty Hospital is comprised of all ages. Perhaps the youngest patient Stone has known has been 18 years old, she said.
“Mainly when we get the younger patients like that it’s from car wrecks and they have a traumatic brain injury,” Stone said. “So we do get younger.”
Patients will typically get rehabilitation through physical therapy and occupational therapy on Mondays through Fridays. Walking is a good method of strength training.
“Usually before an occupational therapist, a physical therapist or a speech therapist goes into action, they will check with a nurse to make sure the patient is not having an issue that day such as low hemoglobin so they won’t pass out from walking,” Stone said. “They’ll consult with a nurse to ensure they are stable to work with.”
All of this talent did not happen overnight for Stone. Her sister went to nursing school and Stone followed in her footsteps.
“She is the one who originally got me the job at Select,” Stone said. “We started out at Deaconess with a floor there before we had our own building. We had a floor at Baptist, too.
“I like it. Nursing interests me with the different diseases. Through Select we will have classes every once in a while that we have to take to remain updated. And recently I started last spring getting my Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree because Select came out with a program through the University of Kentucky. I got selected for that and I have started working on it.”
Stone is married and has two children, a boy and girl ages 6 and 9.
“I’m usually busy. He plays football and my daughter dances,” she said. “But I’m usually hanging out with my family. We go to the lake in the summer.”