From the time she was a little girl, Michelle Evans, BSN, RN, remembers being drawn to the hospital nursery to see newborns wrapped in their blankets, as she peered through the glass. Michelle enjoyed these trips rather frequently, as her mother was a nurse in the Cath Lab at Hillcrest Medical Center. “I would always ask her to go to the baby floor,” Michelle recalls. She watched the nurses feed and care for the babies and knew someday that would be her. “I love the idea of caring for newborns.”
Today, Michelle is on the other side of the glass as a NICU nurse at Hillcrest South, holding baby Carter. Caring for newborns comes naturally to her, not only from her training, but also as a mother. Michelle’s daughter was born March 8, 2013. “Since I’ve had my little girl, I feel I’ve become a better nurse,” she adds. “It was the best day of my life. However, for any of us who have had babies, we know it is an emotional roller coaster. I think it is important to show new parents it will be fine and give them encouragement, not only on how to take care of their baby, but also to take care of themselves and get some sleep.”
Her dream of becoming one of the nurses in the nursery came true, as well as another dream she hadn’t planned on – becoming Mrs. Oklahoma. “A friend encouraged me to sign up,” Michelle says. Only 7 weeks until the competition, Michelle, who has never competed in a pageant, thought it was a good idea. With a high profile competition as Mrs. Oklahoma, the opportunity to share the platform she had only held within her family and friends convinced her to overcome any anxiety about preparing for the competition.
“My brother passed away from a prescription drug overdose in 2010,” Michelle shares of why she felt it was important to participate in Mrs. Oklahoma. “I could use that, share my story and help others.”
A friend and pageant coach helped Michelle with everything she needed to do to be ready – wardrobe selection, fitness and talent training and interview coaching. Though there were times she wondered what she had signed up for, Michelle says she stuck with it for her brother.
March 6 and 7, 2014 at the Guthrie Scottish Rite Theater, Michelle and the other Mrs. Oklahoma contestants showcased their best through a fitness competition, evening gown, opening number, and on-stage interview. Day two was just as rigorous as day one’s private interview in front of six judges. “They can ask you anything they want,” Michelle adds.
The day before her daughter’s first birthday, Michelle was crowned Mrs. Oklahoma. Since then she has been busy sharing her message of prescription drug abuse speaking at schools and organizations throughout the state. She prepares for Mrs. America August 29 in Tuscon, AZ. Depsite her schedule, she is not, however, too busy to care for Hillcrest South’s youngest patients.