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A career in caregiving

Helping those who can't help themselves

Article by Teresa Bond-Mason

Photography by Michael McRuiz

Originally published in Tulsa City Lifestyle

As Mr. Rogers once said, “All of us, at some time or other, need help. Whether we’re giving or receiving help, each of us has something valuable to bring to this world.”

John Lewis, who works as a caregiver for First Call in Tulsa, has found his niche with a company that provides health care professionals for both long-term nursing facilities and home health care.

Lewis, who has been with First Call for two years, has always had a soft spot for geriatrics. “My grandparents helped raise me and it’s always been important to me to return the favor in some way.” At the age of 16, Lewis enrolled in a CNA program to begin his journey into helping others. “From an early age, I had a lot of real-life experience to make certain this was my calling,” says John. After some time, he took more classes to become an LPN and today is enrolled in school to become a registered nurse.

Long term care has most often been thought of as nursing home facilities, but Lewis is quick to point out that there is an array of circumstances where people find they need such care. “It’s really meant for people who can’t meet their needs on their own,” explains Lewis, who adds that someone may just need a place to rehab after a surgery or they could be someone facing end-of-life issues.

 “People are not my problem, they are my passion.”

Challenging is just one of the words used to describe Lewis’ work. And, what most of us refer to as challenging, Lewis prefers the word interesting. “My career requires different skill sets depending on where I am working,” says Lewis. “My first goal is to maintain the reputation First Call has built over the years. I want to set an example.” Figuring out how each facility or residence operates quickly is an important facet to his job so he can focus on patient care.

Getting attached to patients may be considered a pitfall to many, but Lewis deems it as a necessary part of offering the best care he can give. “I never view it as a burden, but rather a privilege to become a part of the patients’ lives. We see so many people who are isolated. They have no family around to oversee their care and it’s an important part of our function to get to know the patients as people first,” stresses Lewis. “I’ve met some fascinating people along this journey. Everyone has a history, and I feel responsible for that,” adds Lewis.

While health care in general is one of the fastest rising careers in America, it does come with a fair amount of stress. “I learned early on that while I’m on the job, I give it my all, but once I’m done with my shift, I am careful to take care of myself as well,” says Lewis. Gardening, cooking, caring for his family and taking scenic drives are just a few of the things that keeps Lewis sane.

And, while he sometimes is teasingly referred to as Doogie Howser, Lewis feels honored to be a nurse caring for those who need a little extra help. “I’m so proud to work in an industry and for a company where caring comes first.”

First Call can be reached at 918.665.1011 or online at My-Firstcall.com.

  • Licensed Practical Nurse John Lewis making rounds.