Diana Haley is proud of the teamwork and care at OHI

When young nurses, interns and residents need questions answered on the fourth floor of Oklahoma Heart Institute, they will often turn to one person: “Mama Di.”

Diana Haley, 68, started working at Hillcrest Hospital in 1974 as a nurse’s aide while enrolled in the Hillcrest School of Nursing. After graduation, she became a registered nurse, focusing on cardiology. Outside of six years of managing the cardiac catheterization lab, she has been a mainstay in the Heart Telemetry Unit at Oklahoma Heart Institute.

During her 47 years of nursing, Haley has seen many changes around the hospital.

“The biggest changes involve the new technology, medications and procedures we use to better care for our community,” Haley said.

“Even though the level of acuity for patients is much higher than when I started, patients are able to go home much sooner than they used to. We are also incorporating research protocols into inpatient care, which greatly helps our research programs.”

Patients and Families

Haley’s fondest memories involve the patients and families she cared for during these many years.

“Today we are seeing critically ill people survive and live much longer, which is so different than when I started,” she said. “I have learned so much from the cardiologists who practice here, and to this day they are still teaching us.”

Some patients stand out in Haley’s memories, especially those who survived against the odds.

“Just last year a young mother arrived at the emergency room during a “widow maker” heart attack that involved her main heart artery,” recalled Haley.

“It was fully occluded (clogged) and she appeared to be dying in front of our eyes. Now we’ve been using balloons and stents in arteries for 20 years, but with a case like this, we would normally send her upstairs for emergency bypass surgery. We were running out of time, so our cardiologist worked quickly to put a stent into the vessel there in the treatment room. Ten years ago that probably wouldn’t have happened, but today she is almost back to normal because of our cardiologist, the technology and the good nursing care she received.”

Haley has also seen the number of both heart patients and cardiologists rise over the years.

“Oklahoma has one of the highest numbers of heart disease cases in the nation,” Haley said. “Our cardiologists are excellent. They're easy to work with, their patients love them and the staff loves them, especially when teaching us the latest information. They are all top-notch.”

“We are well known around the state as the place to go for heart care. I’m just so proud to be a part of this team.”

Mama Di, we are so proud to have you on our team as well. Thank you!