Cheney Bird grew up knowing that three generations of the Bird family before her were Northwestern Oklahoma State University graduates, so when Cheney approached high school graduation, the choice to enroll felt like a given. Both Cheney’s parents, her grandfather and great grandfather were taught on the same campus in Alva, Oklahoma. In fact, her father, Allen Bird, serves as CEO of the university's foundation, where he works to fund scholarships and endowments. So it is certainly safe to say the Bird family are dedicated rangers.
"I know the great reputation of the nursing program at NWOSU was a big part of how I stood out in interviews and got my first job."
Today, Cheney works as a labor and delivery nurse in Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center. She accessed the network of professionals and instructors she encountered during nursing school to find job prospects. “I know the great reputation of the nursing program at NWOSU was a big part of how I stood out in interviews and got my first job.” Cheney chose nursing early in life. One day, a trusted teacher in high school described the job of his loved one who had worked in labor and delivery for years. Listening to those stories was her “ah-ha” moment and her future was solidified that day. “I have always felt a caring, maternal instinct, so nursing made sense to me. It wasn’t complicated, it just felt right immediately so I pursued it pretty quickly,” says Cheney. Small class sizes in the program allowed for lots of one-on-one training. Cheney says the relationships she built there made a big difference in the quality of her education. While the program collaborated with each NWOSU satellite campus, her core group of classmates was made up of 10 other students who worked together to study and take clinicals. Cheney enjoyed a lot of support from having the same advisor from day one of her nursing program. The two became very close over those four years. During the more challenging parts of the nursing program, Cheney had someone in her corner.
“Early in the program I barely passed a test I had studied hard for and I was so upset. I went to my advisor and told her I don’t know what I’m doing wrong and we talked about how I was struggling and how I could improve. She was so helpful! I felt good that I could lean on someone who knew the program so well,” Cheney said of her advisor.
Developing close relationships to those in her program translated well to life as a labor and delivery nurse. Today Cheney Bird spends her work days with patients on some of the most special days of their lives. Her patients' lives are transformed during the time she spends with them, and many of their stories stick with her.
"Seeing people who wanted a baby for so long finally hold their child was so magical. I’ll never forget it."
“One of the most special moments was helping a surrogate mom who delivered during the peak of the COVID-19 outbreak,” Cheney remembers. “Out of caution, the biological parents were not able to be there for the birth. I called and talked to them in their hotel room, and they were so nervous and excited. After the baby was born we got to see them come in and meet their baby for the first time. Seeing people who wanted a baby for so long finally hold their child was so magical. I’ll never forget it.”