BANDON – On an unusually quiet day in the Emergency Department at Southern Coos Hospital & Health Center, Katie Witt, a registered nurse, has a few minutes to talk. It’s not usually that way. The ED is one of the busiest departments at the hospital.
Witt was chosen as clinical employee of the month for July at SCHHC. She started working at the hospital in June 2020 as an RN in the Med/Surg Department. Witt was nominated because of her dedication and focus on excellent patient care, which is evident every day.
“Her energy, smile and ‘can-do’ attitude creates an atmosphere of compassionate support which her team members admire and respect,” the nomination states. “She is a real team-player and helps anyone who asks for guidance.”
Witt also has been cross-training in the Emergency Department and as a result has now transitioned to an RN in the ED, where she’s been working and training for the past four months.
Witt describes her job duties in the ED as triaging patients, assisting the physician with any procedures, stabilizing and shipping patients out if they need to, discharging patients and going over instructions and answering any questions for the patient and their family.
She also still assists in the Med/Surg Department and with the charge nurse.
“I do a little bit of everything and work with all the other departments, including Radiology and the Lab,” she said. “It’s kind of a group effort.”
Witt landed on the South Coast when her husband John O’Brien was offered an employment opportunity in the field of logging. She grew up in Montana, then moved to the Sweet Home area in the Willamette Valley to be closer to family. The couple has lived in Port Orford for the past six years.
Witt began her nursing education with Southwestern Oregon Community College through remote classes on the Brookings campus. She earned her degree and gained her RN following testing and certification with the Oregon State Board of Nursing.
“I have kids so it took me a little while to get around to it,” she said. “When my littlest was 6 months old, I got into (the nursing program). I had a good support system.”
Keeping busy with children takes up much of Witt’s spare time. The couple has two sons, ages 5 and 12, and they are raising Witt’s niece, who is 14.
The daily variety is what Witt loves most about nursing.
“I love the acute care aspect and just all of the growth and learning I’ve experienced since I’ve been here,” she said. “It’s always different circumstances and I’m always learning and it’s always a little chaotic … and I like that.”
Of her co-workers, Witt gave accolades to Kristina Campina, an RN also in the ED.
“She’s been training me and she’s awesome,” Witt said. “She just inspires me to be the kind of ER nurse I want to be. She’s just really great.”
Witt said everyone in the ED is a “team player.”
“Julie (Buck) and Amanda (Wallace) (CNAs in the ED) do everything,” she said. “If you ever feel like you’re drowning, they’ll be there. And Melanie (Collins, ED Manager) is the one who fought for me to come to the ED from the Med/Surg Department. She knew that’s what I wanted to do and she approached me about a job opportunity and helped me transition.”
On her days off, Witt enjoys “just hanging out with my kids and doing household projects.” She also likes to paddle board when she has the chance.
“I don’t have much time for anything other than family and work,” she said.