TYLER, Texas (PRESS RELEASE) – From UT Well being East Texas:
Ollie Flores at all times had a calling for serving to others, understanding he wished to work in healthcare from a younger age. However after a difficult few years working as a touring nurse in the course of the top of the COVID-19 pandemic, he was going through burnout and had began to consider leaving the occupation altogether.
However then his son, Teddy, was born requiring instant care within the UT Well being Tyler neonatal intensive care unit. Witnessing the NICU workforce’s expert, compassionate look after his son and their enduring teamwork reignited his ardour for the occupation, main him to not solely keep in a nursing profession however be part of the UT Well being Tyler NICU workforce.
Previous to that, nearly all of Flores’ work had been in crucial care. He met his spouse, JoEllen “Jo” Flores, whereas he was in nursing college and dealing within the emergency room and he or she was working as a bedside nurse within the cardiovascular ICU. After Flores’ crucial care residency at Parkland Memorial Hospital in Dallas, they determined to pursue journey nursing in 2018 to assist lower your expenses for his or her marriage ceremony and a home. They ultimately returned to Texas and had settled in Bullard when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and Flores returned to the touring circuit.
“These had been the sickest sufferers I had ever labored with, however my thoughts thrived as a result of I thrive in that crucial care setting,” Flores mentioned. “I used to be opening up part of my mind, and I used to be joyful to be concerned in interdisciplinary, team-oriented healthcare.”
Ultimately, his travels introduced him again to the Tyler space when COVID-19 was surging final summer season. The stress of the previous few years had begun to take its toll when he and Jo, who had confronted struggles conceiving, realized she was pregnant in December. Flores was on the verge of searching for one other occupation when Jo gave delivery by way of C-section on Aug. 18.
“I wasn’t positive what was alleged to occur, however after they pulled Teddy out, you would hear a pin drop within the working room. I’m going to take a look at him, and he was purple,” Flores mentioned. “He wasn’t turning pink, he was not a wholesome child. He sounded very junky in his lungs.”
Flores realized simply how precarious issues had been when he was instructed they had been calling a neonatologist, and Teddy was whisked away to the NICU, the place he was positioned on his abdomen and hooked to a CPAP (steady constructive airway strain) machine to assist him breathe.
“All I did for the final 12 months and a half was inclined my sufferers, so watching him proned on the CPAP was actually troublesome,” Flores mentioned.
Teddy continued to battle to maintain his oxygen ranges up, so the care workforce started discussing with the Floreses the opportunity of intubation.
“We didn’t know what to anticipate. If you intubate, there’s at all times the concern that you simply’ll by no means come off of it and I had simply gone by this with COVID. I intubated much more than I introduced off, and I can nonetheless bear in mind all of their names,” Flores mentioned. “We prayed. We had been actually defeated at that time, however then we stroll again into the NICU, and we see night time nurse Laura Ryan holding him and feeding him with no oxygen. He had turned a nook.”
Flores’ interplay with the NICU workforce sparked in him one thing the grueling years of COVID had virtually extinguished — the curiosity and fervour that drove him into nursing within the first place.
“At this level, the care that we had been receiving was so tailor-made to our wants, and everybody was so personable,” he mentioned. “I had by no means actually labored in a unit the place nurses had been capable of spend that high quality time with their sufferers. That they had rounds with all of us collectively, which was good to see as a result of in crucial care setting you don’t at all times have the power for nurses spherical with sufferers and their households.”
Sooner or later throughout rounds, he met Jordan January, medical supervisor for the NICU, which opened earlier this 12 months.
“I mentioned, ‘This could be an excellent state of affairs. You took care of my son so why can’t I do this for another person,’” he mentioned. She inspired him to use for the job, and he began within the NICU in mid-September.
“One thing was telling me this was the proper transfer. I at all times pray and say, ‘Shut the doorways that should be closed, and open those that should be opened,’” he mentioned. “Every little thing has occurred in my nursing profession the way it was alleged to occur. Every little thing labored out the way it was alleged to.”
Flores mentioned what he enjoys essentially the most about his new function is the power to assist different NICU mother and father who’re feeling as susceptible as he did when Teddy was born.
“What I like essentially the most is being there for the first-time dads as a result of I’m capable of put them comfy for what they’re going by. I inform them, ‘I used to be in your precise spot. My child was in Mattress 1. I’ve been the place you’ve gotten been,’” Flores mentioned. “I always inform them, ‘I’ve been there. It’s going to be OK, and we’re going to do the whole lot in our energy to ensure you guys graduate from the NICU.’”
Teddy graduated the NICU with flying colours, and on Nov. 29, two days earlier than he turned 15 weeks outdated, helped flip the change on the UT Well being Tyler Christmas tree, an honor given to a former affected person annually.
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