Written by: Kedrick Nettleton, Staff Writer
Jennifer Butler has always been committed to making a difference in people’s lives through kindness, compassion, and quality care.
She’s currently working on completing her BSN degree through Oklahoma Wesleyan’s Adult and Graduate Studies program. At the same time, Butler is working at Jane Phillip’s Medical Center, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, and is looking forward to a management position with the nursing staff after her graduation this December. It’s one of many achievements in Butler’s nursing career, which she says began when she was very young.
Her family, ironically, was not made up of healthcare providers, save for one grandmother who worked as a nursing assistant. Most of Butler’s family were bankers, but that profession never held much appeal for Jennifer. For her, it was always nursing.
“I knew that I wanted to do something in ministry and something helping people,” she said. “Something just always drew me to nursing.”
There was also an aspect of home-town pride in Butler’s decision, as she grew up in Bartlesville and felt a strong calling to minister to its people. “I love our community, so I want to make a difference in the people who need healthcare in [it].”
Butler got her CNA certification at 16, and she’s never looked back, eventually taking classes at Roger’s State University to earn her RN. After some work at St. John’s in Tulsa to get some experience at a bigger facility—and spending some time with an agency as a travel nurse—Butler felt it was time to come home, taking a position with Jane Phillips.
When she was offered a chance to take on a supervisory role, Butler felt a calling in a slightly different direction: administration. She currently works as a clinical supervisor, helping to organize the nursing staff and to provide assistance as needed through the hospital. Butler knew that this was a fit for her skill-set and giftedness, and she wanted to advance further. Not only that, but her bosses had her tapped for a management position. She would need to continue her education.
“I knew that I wanted to do something in ministry and something helping people. Something just always drew me to nursing.”
One Step at a Time
Enter OKWU and its extensive AGS program. Butler received information about the program from Kelli Croucher, AGS Enrollment Services Manager, and enrolled in courses. Between the scholarships she was able to receive from OKWU and the education stipends Butler received from her work, she will graduate this December completely debt-free.
“We came out free and clear. Bachelor’s degree for free,” Butler said. “It really opened that door for me to climb up the ladder.”
And this is well-deserved. “Everything Jennifer puts her hand to is done with excellence,” Croucher said. “Jennifer has never wavered in her commitment to her family, her career or her education, bringing several fellow nurses along with her to complete their BSN as well.”
As already mentioned, the best part of nursing for Butler is her ability to make an impact on someone’s hospital experience for the better. “Smiles are contagious. Being kind is contagious. The best thing about being a nurse is spreading kindness and showing compassion,” she said. “The more compassion you show, the more that others show.”
Long term, she plans to continue her education, preferably at OKWU. But for now, she plans to continue in that singular mission: to show simple kindness, even as she continues climbing the ladder in administration. “I will always find a way to be on the floor,” she said.
Butler doesn’t worry about the future, and that’s her advice to other students—especially those students in the AGS program who are juggling their career and their education. “Just take it one step at a time,” she said. “One step at a time.”
“Smiles are contagious. Being kind is contagious. The best thing about being a nurse is spreading kindness and showing compassion.”