As a child, Stephanie Mackinder, SON ’04, wanted to be a nurse. She imagined patching up injuries and improving the physical health of her patients, but had never pictured herself working with clients with mental health issues; now, she can’t imagine working anywhere else. Stephanie is the Nurse Manager in the Behavioral Health Unit at Crittenton Hospital and Medical Center.
She appreciates the ability to balance work and home life where she cares for her family, including three children ages seven, five and two. “Since no one can predict what the day will bring, organization and flexibility are key,” she says. Making lists and going with the flow has kept her mind sharp and nerves at ease.
Stephanie attributes much of her success to her Oakland nursing education, learning not only how to assess and complete all of the tasks that make up nursing, but the importance of being an effective communicator and establishing a rapport with patients.
“I truly enjoyed my time at OU. The SON made me the nurse I am today. I received a strong educational foundation and a wide variety of experiences through the program that I would not change.”
Every clinical assignment left its impact on Stephanie. It was during her sophomore year that she met with a recruiter from Crittenton Hospital. After interviewing, she was hired as a contingent nursing assistant and eventually moved into an RN position as Assistant Nurse Manager on the Med/Surg Ortho unit and then into her current role.
Stephanie admits that patients who suffer from chronic mental illness can be intimidating at first for some student nurses: “I try very hard to make sure the students coming to Crittenton for their psych-mental health clinicals feel comfortable on the unit. I answer their questions and help alleviate their anxiety and fears about working on our Behavioral Health Unit.
SON Professor Cheryl Riley Doucet was impressed with changes Stephanie has been making in the Behavioral Health Unit, adding, “I was most impressed by her tenacity and commitment to improving clinical experiences for nursing students, such as facilitating student nurse involvement in the development of activity groups for patients.”
Stephanie has never been fond of public speaking and did not like it when she was required to present to her professors and student peer group as part of her class assignments at OU. However, later she found that this part of her education helped her overcome her fear of public speaking and become more comfortable speaking her mind. She also believes the lessons she learned at OU have helped her in her administrative positions and in her role on the Primary Nursing Innovations team where she is one of the presenters at the Primary Nursing Practicum.
Stephanie loves her job as it allows her to embrace the many different facets of clinical nursing practice. Incorporating skills and knowledge of psychosocial nursing to her holistic health approach enhances her administrative role with her nursing staff and students. This is ultimately translated in improved care for patients. It’s hard for her to pick a favorite part of her day as she loves spending time communicating with and caring for her patients as much as she does working with nursing students working in their clinical placements.