Oliver finds home at EAMC-Lanier

Published 6:49 am Thursday, May 7, 2020

Growing up, Katelyn Oliver knew she wanted to be a nurse, and an experience with her grandfather confirmed that desire.

When she was a teenager, her grandfather fell ill and needed someone to help take care of him. Oliver was one of the people in their family that helped take care of him. Throughout her teenage years, she took care of him until he died while she was in nursing school.

“I always told him ‘I’m gonna take care of you one day,’” Oliver said. “With him being sick, I knew I wanted to be a nurse and wanted to take care of people who need help.”

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After graduating from Beulah High School in 2011, Oliver went to Southern Union to get her associate’s degree. In October of her second year at Southern Union, she started working at EAMC Lanier as a nursing technician.

She graduated from Auburn in Montgomery in 2017 with her bachelor’s degree in nursing, while still working at EAMC. During that time, she moved around the hospital working in different departments, including the ICU, detox and rehabilitation and obstetrics.

About a year after graduating with her bachelor’s degree, EAMC merged its surgery and progressive care unit. At the time of the merger, Oliver was working as a Patient Care Coordinator, but the merger changed her position’s responsibilities, so she started to figure out a different floor she could work on.

After a little nudge from a co-worker, she gave the emergency room a chance. Originally, she had some trepidation about making the move to the ER.

“When you’re a Med-Surg nurse and when you work in ICU, you have a little bit of time to think,” Oliver said. “I’ve always been really good at managing my day, so when you get to work on a Med-Surg or ICU unit, you know what patients you’re getting. In the ER, you can’t really manage your day. You just have to be able to critically think really fast, and I just didn’t know if I had that capability.”

After a year in the ER, Oliver loves it.

“It’s great and I feel that I’m really good at it. I get along with everybody that I work with down here. We’re basically like a family,” Oliver said. “It’s the best floor. I’ve been on since [I started]. I love it.”

Oliver is currently pursuing her masters’ degree in family nurse practitioner from the University of Auburn at Montgomery. Working in the emergency room has helped her in her studies and she hopes that she can continue working in the emergency room after graduating.

Oliver will celebrate her eighth year at EAMC Lanier in October. It has been the only hospital she has worked at, and she hopes it is the only one she will ever work at.

“People here are really family you know, and I love this hospital. I don’t know if I’ll ever change hospitals,” Oliver said. “I’m pretty sure I will have a name on one of the parking spots when I have 35 years so I can park in front.”

Working in the ER can be stressful, especially since COVID-19 started to change everything worldwide.

“We go from being this fun, bubbly group to wear a mask on our face, and you can’t see our smiles. You can’t see that we’re still happy to be at work,” Oliver said. “We’re working a lot of people up and trying to make sure that anybody who is having severe symptoms is getting seen right away. We’re making sure that they get the quality care that they need.”