St. Anthony Hospital Vice President of Nursing Elain Richardson says the nursing staff keeps in mind that through the work they do, they reveal the healing presence of God.

St. Anthony manages to be a very large hospital that feels like a small community in a small town, said Elain Richardson, RN, vice president of Nursing and Chief Nursing Officer at St. Anthony Hospital in midtown Oklahoma City.
This sense of community is beneficial to both the patients and the more than 1,080 nurses who work at the hospital.
“People have worked here for a long time. There are multiple generations of folks,” Richardson said. “Myself included, my daughter who is entering into nursing works here. My mother who is going to retire here also is a nurse on the floor.”
St. Anthony is a home and family for the staff. They care about the people they work with as well as the patients they care for, Richardson said.
“We do that as a team and I think that it is the people here at St. Anthony that makes the difference for us,” Richardson said.
To celebrate, St. Anthony is recognizing National Nurses Week with a reception and gifts.
“We want to remind our nursing staff how much we appreciate what they do,” Richardson said. “The physicians are always involved in that as well and so they will be participating this year.”
A secret surprise has been kept under wrap but will be unveiled to celebrate the connection nurses have to health care, she said.
Research indicates every year that nursing is among the most trusted professions, Richardson said.
“Patients will tell us things that will help us care for them better,” she continued. “They will not be judged or ridiculed and they are not always that forthcoming with other providers. So I think that is a special gift we have as nurses – our ability to connect as people.”
People see the nurses as nurturers and caregivers because the nurses embody best practices with kindness and respect.
“I think it is very important for us to establish that trust with patients. So we accept them as they are – whether they need to improve or are doing everything they can. We just need to take that as our base.”
What Richardson appreciates most about St. Anthony nurses is their passion and commitment to their patients and the St. Anthony mission statement, “Through our exceptional health care services we reveal the healing presence of God.”
“I think that is a very meaningful statement for our nurses personally and professionally,” she said. “And I think it very clear what that means.”
“There are a lot of folks that are very close to nurses at the bedside. There’s not a lot of layer,” Richardson said. “That allows us to have a better connection with what’s happening and having an ear to the point that patients are receiving care.”
Richardson said she is blessed to watch nurses grow and thrive in their careers. Some of them were hired as nurse techs and are now going through their graduate work as nurse practitioners. They contribute to the community.
“So it’s wonderful to see that whole pathway and to know within the walls of St. Anthony, there is something for them to be part of this family no matter where they are in their career trajectory.”
St. Anthony’s community outreach includes “volunteen programs” exposing youth to health care. There are also programs for people in their early years of college to expose them to all the opportunities available in the medical field.
Several campaigns are conducted by the nursing staff to raise funds for community agencies.
“We also have a strong employee giving campaign where our employees give of their own money to the foundation,” Richardson said. “And the foundation goes out and finds guarantors who can match that money.”
The fundraising is used to enhance programs for the nursing environment. “We go out into rural areas and teach about early awareness of stroke, early symptoms of a heart attack, how to keep yourself healthy by doing the testing that is recommended so we don’t have folks diagnosed on their first colonoscopy revealing a stage-4 cancer,” she said.
This interaction with nurses in the community or within the hospital may be the spark to inspire a young man or woman to become a nurse.
Richardson said that at St. Anthony, nine out of 10 nurses would say they have a personal connection with a nurse that led them to a nursing career.
“They saw nursing as a way to be of assistance and find a greater purpose,” Richardson said. “That is so rewarding and it is so wonderful to know that people are so passionate about what they do.”