BY LEANN DILBECK –
Being an effective nurse requires not only a very special skill set, but a heart that is motivated by compassion and a discipline to always put the patients’ needs first. No one would argue that the field isn’t demanding, both mentally and physically, and is best served by those who believe that they’ve been called to the profession.
For Doris Hastey of Mena, her road to the nursing profession started at a young age, growing from treating dolls and stuffed animals to caring for actual patients, “I was drawn to nursing from a young age. I had a nurse kit when I was probably 8 or so that included a stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and candy pills. I think someone decided candy pills might not be a great idea. I treated all my dolls, stuffed animals, and any family member sitting for longer than a minute.”
Doris explored a few other fields before realizing that her heart was being a nurse, “After working in clerical jobs in banking, universities, temp agencies, industrial, and dentistry, I discovered I still wanted to be a nurse. So I began that journey.”
While her husband, Ken, worked for Northwest Airlines, she worked part-time and attended school, “I’ve worked in long term care, medical-surgical, rehab, women’s services, and psych from Minnesota to Georgia to Arkansas with a short stent in Mississippi. When I returned to Mena in 2003 there was an opening in the geriatric behavior unit and it was here that I found my niche. I obtained my Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Arkansas Tech in 2009 and considered pursuing an administration position. However, after managing our geriatric unit for 12 years I realized I wanted to maintain direct patient contact but with more autonomy. Becoming a nurse practitioner could provide that contact, while challenging me professionally. I graduated with my Masters’ from UAMS in May and completed my Psych-Mental Health APRN certification in July.”
Doris is particularly looking forward to her new role as a board certified Psych-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner at Mena’s Cedar Haven that will begin September 11.
So many times in life, our career choices are influenced by pivotal events in our life or by people themselves. For Doris, her mother had more influence than she probably realized at the time. She said her mother had always been interested in the nursing profession, but instead committed to making a home and caring for her family, “She had a home medical book that she referenced when we were ill. She always seemed to know what to do and when it was worthy of a doctor’s visit.” She also had a friend that directly exposed her to nursing and may have been what exposed her to the satisfaction and fulfillment that a career in nursing can deliver, “I also had a very good friend who was a home health nurse in the Vilonia area. She let me ride “shotgun” to some of her visits and I was hooked. I loved the interaction with the patients and they were comfortable in their home environment and valued their nurse.”
Like so many families of this time, Doris works to keep the balance between work and her family that she is incredibly proud of – husband Ken, as well as their two children, Kalen, age 22 of Fayetteville, and Brooke, age 20 of Mena.
Doris is a member of Mena’s Christ Community Fellowship and said she is looking forward to becoming more involved there now that she is not in school. “I am interested in mission trips and giving back to our community and other communities in need. I used to be involved in a drama team at church years ago and I would love to be involved in that again as well. Drama is a non-threatening way to relay a powerful message.”
Nursing, like many careers, has its challenges but for Doris, she’s more than ready and is more focused on the satisfaction that comes with it, “Probably the single most challenging aspect of nursing is spreading yourself between the needs of your patients, providing high quality care, and meeting governmental requirements for documentation. One of the most satisfying is feeling you have advocated and empowered someone in such a vulnerable position, and impacted them in a positive way.”