Jill Jewell’s transformation from working in accounting and the legal profession to nursing was prompted by a personal health issue that prompted her to ask an existential question: “When I am no longer here, what kind of impact will I have made and will I have made any difference? That’s when I looked into nursing.”
Today, Jill Jewell, BSN, RN, PCCN is making such a difference in the profession that she was recognized with the University of Cincinnati’s Florence Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing.
Colleagues of the clinical nurse manager at The Christ Hospital in Cincinnati, where Jewell works as a clinical nurse manager, describe her as “heroic, positive, proactive, and forward-thinking.” One wrote that “Jill took on more in her first year as a manager than others will their entire career, and throughout it all she has remained calm and resilient.”
Although Jewell has a leadership role today, she initially planned to become a bedside nurse, so she empathizes with her team and is quick to share credit for her recognition with them. During the pandemic, she networked with many people outside her department as well, from the Hospital’s infectious disease specialist to answer questions from staff who were initially reluctant to get immunized to volunteers who helped facilitate communications between patients, families, and nurses.
During the pandemic, Jewell tells Regis College Assistant Professor Lawana Brown, “I sort of feel like nursing didn’t get a break. We had all this happen with COVID… we’re in the nursing shortage and I think everybody was reevaluating their life. People started leaving the hospital and travelling to make more money.”
Yet she also believes the experience has made her more resilient and optimistic about the profession. “When I first started interviewing, I started saying, ‘There’s a lot of negativity in nursing right now. How do you handle it?’ and I was surprised that a lot of them were like, ‘This is what I want to do.’ So that gives me a lot of hope in that even though people are leaving, there’s really strong, dedicated people coming up.’ There’s still great people coming and we’re still going to do great things in nursing. It’s just going to look a little different.”