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Jocelyn’s Award-Winning Compassion Finds a Global Stage

Posted by Marc Costanzo Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2016

Nurse administrating a physical to a woman in South SudanNebraska Methodist College can’t train people to be compassionate. What NMC does is draw out those traits that are already within our students, giving them the chance to act on their most noble values by becoming nurses and practitioners of healthcare.

The teaching process, exemplified by our commitment to an education centered on holism, has led many of our students to prominent positions within healthcare at both a local and national level. Those same students have earned accolades thanks to their work.

Today, we highlight Jocelyn, an alum of Nebraska Methodist College who has been making quite a name for herself in the Omaha area. A cardiac nurse at Methodist Hospital, Jocelyn recently won the Nurse of the Year Award thanks to her positive attitude, work ethic and dedication to patients. And her compassion extends far beyond the cardiac unit. As detailed by Methodist Health, Jocelyn recently went on a trip to provide essential healthcare to the citizens of South Sudan.

Jocelyn truly exemplifies the Methodist spirit, and she was kind enough to provide some insights into her experiences at NMC and in the hospital.

A CNA Start

Like many future nurses at Nebraska Methodist College, Jocelyn’s first exposure to patient care came as a Certified Nursing Assistant, working in the very same cardiac unit she would later come back to as a nurse. She attributes much of her professional success to the skills she picked up as a CNA at Methodist.

“As a CNA, you learn almost I would say your most valuable skills, just with your patient care. Learning how to prioritize is very helpful as a CNA because you take care of a lot more patients than your nurses do. I would say that’s probably the best thing that you could do during nursing school.”

Jocelyn had gone to a couple other colleges before but didn’t find something that truly spoke to her. Their classes were too big, the education wasn’t a fit for her career goals.

It wasn’t until she experienced life at Nebraska Methodist College that she found a place to call home.

“I had the best experience,” she said. “I am so happy I came to school here and I’m not just being biased. Having a smaller classroom was really helpful, especially going from Lincoln where you have hundreds of kids in your class to…30 to 40 in a nursing program."

“Everyone’s super supportive here as well. Everyone wants you to be successful. If you ever needed to set up an appointment with your professor or needed some extra help, it was really easy to navigate through all of that. The relationships I developed with my instructors were amazing. I still have relationships with a lot of them.”

From Cardiac to Cardiac

Upon graduation, Jocelyn thought about travel nursing, but she had found a home in the Methodist Health System. She applied for and attained a job in the Cardiac unit at Methodist Hospital, the very same place she had worked as a CNA.

“I didn’t know if I was gonna stay at Methodist but I’m really glad I did, big time. I just know right now that I love what I do, I really do. I don’t plan on going anywhere anytime soon.”

When asked if it was slightly awkward coming in as a nurse on an equal playing field with the people she used to receive directions from as a CNA, Jocelyn admitted to some initial hesitation but explained that the people she had looked up to were incredibly positive about her evolution.

“My coworkers made that really easy for me,” she said. “I think that we have really good relationships not only at work, but outside of work too. The transition was actually a lot easier than I thought it was gonna be. I’m sure they had to develop some trust for me as a new nurse and everything, but the people that I work with were super, super supportive of my new role.”

Compassion Takes Jocelyn Far

Jocelyn explained how she had an innate drive to help people but that Nebraska Methodist College gave her the education she needed to become the best nurse possible for her patients.

“You have to have your heart in it cause, if you don’t, then nursing is going to be very difficult,” she said. “My instructors, the stories that they told and just reemphasizing all the time, you hear you have to be an advocate for your patient, you have to be passionate about what you do, don’t be close-minded, be open to everyone you’re going to be taking care of.

“A lot of times, in nursing school, you’ll hear you should give your patient just that extra minute or two. When you get into the real world, sometimes you forget that, but if you bring that back, that makes you that much more successful with your patients.”

This ability to connect with patients, which goes far beyond the technical aspects of the nursing profession, truly came in handy when Jocelyn traveled to the South Sudan with Dr. Joseph Dumba. While there, she played a critical role in setting up a clinic and dispensing healthcare to citizens for whom such treatment was a rare occurrence.

“In Africa, it is very hard to receive healthcare and, even if they do, it is not very reliable,” she said. “When we go, we are able to provide medication such as vitamins, parasite medicine, ibuprofen/Tylenol, among a few others based on diagnosis.”

“The hardest part about Africa is the cases where you know there is nothing more we can do because we just don't have the resources. It breaks your heart to look at the patient and realize they may not have very much longer to live and there are no more options.

“But, when we are there, we do not focus on just the medicine. We provide holistic care. Spiritual and medical. We hear that word a lot at Methodist College and I find that not only in Africa is holistic care important but it is important in the hospital as well. Sometimes medicine won't cure a person but we can really help a patient by caring for the ‘whole’ person.”

Nurse of the Year

It’s sentiments like that that earned Jocelyn the Nurse of the Year award. She actually won the award while in the South Sudan, without a way to communicate with people back home. She came in to work after weeks of going without email or phone and didn’t realize why everyone was congratulating her. It wasn’t until she opened her email that she discovered what happened.

“I just feel very honored and I feel so blessed. It means a lot to me that my coworkers would even nominate me for this. It’s been a very humbling experience.”

Jocelyn’s journey is reflective of the best of NMC. She has come a long way yet never loses sight of the fact that everything we do is about the patient. When asked to give a piece of advice to persons thinking of nursing, she had this to say:

“Figure out if it’s something that you want to do, because it’s easy to get defeated in our job. It’s hard work, but if you do have that passion to care for others, do it, because we need more nurses that have that heart.”

Jocelyn certainly has the heart, and we are honored to have her in the ranks of successful alumni of Nebraska Methodist College.

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Topics: nurse education, student achievements, alumni spotlight

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