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The Winner of the DiversityNursing.com $5,000 Education Award is Jacqueline M. Wooters, MSN(c), RN, NE-BC from San Diego, CA!! Jackie is thrilled about being the recipient of our 5th consecutive $5,000 Education Award as it will help her focus on achieving her PhD.
Jackie grew up in St Louis, MO. As an adult, Jackie’s aunt told her when she was a little girl; she talked about being a Nurse. It was already a dream for her then. She went to Metro High School in St Louis, MO which is known as one of the best high schools in the country. The school required all students to have 80 volunteer hours a year. She volunteered at Barnes Jewish Hospital and loved it. She had such a wonderful experience; she decided she wanted to be a doctor. Jackie learned and saw so many different things in the ER and she said, “they didn’t sugar coat anything in the OR or the Recovery Room”. Jackie knew right then her life was going to be something in the medical field. By the time she graduated in 1984, Jackie had the most community service hours of anyone in the high school – over 500 hours!
Jackie went to Stephens College in Columbia, MO and majored in Biology. In her sophomore year, because of a rare genetic defect, she had surgery to have a kidney removed. The nurses were terrific as they helped her recuperate. The nurses were so kind and they had a huge influence on Jackie. From that experience, her mind was made up — she knew she wanted to be a Nurse. After recovering from the surgery, she worked and was home for a while. In 1989, she entered the Lutheran Medical Center School of Nursing diploma program and graduated in June, 1991. Around the same time, she had her 1st of 3 children.
She worked at Alexian Brothers as a Nurse’s Aide and eventually went to work in the ICU on the 3-11pm shift at $11.45/hour with a $.30/hour shift differential. She discovered Incarnate Word Hospital in St Louis offered 12 hour shifts, which was just becoming an option for nurses. She jumped on the opportunity so she could spend more time with her 2 babies.
Jackie worked all the time and eventually ended up in open-heart surgery and recovery at Deaconess Hospital, a teaching hospital in St Louis. She also did transplant work and somewhere along the way, managed to give birth to her 3rd child. Jackie stated she “feels lucky she gets to live out God’s will for her life everyday”. She was always given the difficult patients because of her diplomacy with her patients. She remembers helping a woman who received a liver transplant from her sister. The patient was rejecting the liver and Jackie coached her through a very difficult time. She received a nice card from the sister. This was an epiphany for her because after 10 years in Nursing, she seriously considered quitting the field. She was getting sick of the doctors and felt the patients weren’t being treated right.
She knew she needed a change – the opportunity to do something different. While reading a nursing magazine, she saw a small ad stating there were numerous opportunities in AZ. She didn’t know anyone there, but in 2005, she moved her 3 children to AZ and applied for a staff position in an ICU. While interviewing at Boswell Memorial Hospital, they wanted her to take a leadership position as Nurse Manager. This was her first interview in front of a panel and they wanted her to run a unit. She decided she had too much going on raising 3 children in a new state. Jackie got her children settled and got to know everybody at the hospital in the role of House Supervisor and later took the management position. She said, “OK I’m ready”. During this period Jackie obtained her BSN with honors from Grand Canyon University and was inducted into Sigma Theta Tau the International Nursing Honor Society.
Jackie was part of a great team at Banner Boswell Hospital that got the hospital certified as a Joint Commission Primary Stroke Center. She managed over 100 people and learned so much about what she was capable of and what she still needed to learn to make her a great manager. She was nominated Nurse Leader of the Year. Her units were very diverse. In her Manager role, she looked at the culture of the unit, the patient populations they serve and hired appropriately.
She worked with Neurosurgeons & Neurologists. She stated “they have to deliver devastating news to people”. Because of her patients’ dire situations, she knew she had to be honest and compassionate with her patients. She helped co- teach a patient satisfaction class. She always tells her Nurses “your role is to advocate for your patient.” Jackie advocated for her patients. She believed her role as manager was to serve and support the nursing staff so they could focus on the care of their patients. Jackie thought about becoming an NP, but she wanted to reach more patients by being able to mentor mores Nurses and decided the best way to do that was to stay a Nurse Leader full time.
She is very proud of her time at Boswell. After they got JC Certification, it was 2010 and time to move again. Jackie set her sights on San Diego, CA and worked at Sharp Memorial Hospital. Jackie is now going to school full time at the University of San Diego. She is 3/4 way through her Master’s and will continue on in school full time until 2015 when she’ll receive her PhD. She loves USD because the professors really support her. Her dissertation is about cultural competency related to pre-licensure nursing students.
Jackie’s 3 children are now young adults living at home, working and going to school and …“they are awesome”! She does a lot of community work with various organizations including the American Cancer Society. Jackie stated “the $5,000 Education Award will help tremendously with my continuing education”. With all she has on her plate, she hopes she won’t have to work so she can focus on her studies. Congratulations to Jackie Wooters — 1 remarkable woman who managed to raise 3 children, work full time, mentor numerous Nurses during her career, and is on the road to her PhD. We salute you!
Jacqueline M Wooters, MSN(c), RN, NE-BC