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Veteran Nurse Educator Teaches High Standards with a Dose of Fun

Jackie, MSN, RN, has been a nurse for 30 years at El Camino Health’s hospitals. She started as a night shift nurse on the cardiac telemetry unit and eventually made her way to day shift where she worked as a staff nurse, charge nurse and unit educator. Jackie enjoyed the teaching aspect of being a nurse and frequently was a preceptor for new staff and student nurses. A believer in lifelong learning, Jackie returned to school to obtain her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

After receiving her bachelor’s degree, Jackie became a clinical nurse instructor at De Anza College and San Jose State University (SJSU) in addition to working at El Camino Hospital. Wanting to be more involved in the professional growth of her students, Jackie applied for the Betty and Gordon Moore Fellowship at SJSU where she was accepted into an accelerated master’s program. Upon completion of the program, graduates were required to work at a Bay Area nursing school and Jackie was selected by Evergreen Valley College to be a full-time faculty member. El Camino Hospital accommodated her teaching schedule, so that she could teach during the day, and work as a nurse on weekends and during school breaks.

Five years ago, Jackie returned to full-time nursing when a nurse education position became available at the Los Gatos hospital. Today, her nurse educator role spans both campuses and she serves as the student placement coordinator for student nurses and a site coordinator for the new graduate residency program.

Jackie has played a key role in developing the curriculum for the hospital’s new graduate residency program which began in 2016. This program was recently accredited by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) as a Practice Transition Program with Distinction. At the time of accreditation, it was one of only 40 hospital programs nationwide to receive this certification and the only one in the Bay Area to have it.

Achieving excellence and high standards is not new to El Camino Health. The Mountain View Hospital (El Camino Hospital) was the first facility in the Bay Area to achieve Magnet® designation of Nursing Excellence from the ANCC. It has received the recognition three times; a designation that less than five percent of hospitals worldwide receive.

“I love teaching at the bedside,” shared Jackie. “Seeing all these fresh faces and their excitement to make such a difference in the lives of others is the most rewarding aspect of my job.”

Beyond the walls of the hospital, Jackie also knows the importance of being part of the greater community and enjoys being part of the team. She participates in almost every fun activity the hospital sponsors, including staff celebrations or dressing up like a Christmas tree for local holiday parades. As one of nine children, Jackie learned how to make her own fun and brings that joy of making other people happy with her to work every day. “When you are happy at work, it carries over into other aspects of your life. Participating in community events outside of work with your co-workers allows you to see other sides of people and helps you develop close bonds with others,” says Jackie. She feels the family-like environment at El Camino Health has helped create cohesive teams where nurses feel comfortable sharing their voice in decisions involving patient care.

She is recognized throughout the hospitals as “Team Member Jackie” and it’s not unusual to hear people call out to her as she walks down the hall. Yet, she was still shocked to receive the Excellence in Nursing Award earlier this year from her fellow team members. “Being recognized for doing what you love was really overwhelming. I was flattered to be nominated, but truly blown away when I won. I love coming to work every day and this award validated the importance of what I do,” explains Jackie.

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