The 100 Great Iowa Nurses program annually recognizes the state’s outstanding nurses whose courage, competence and commitment to patients and the nursing profession stand out above all others. Throughout the year, the IHA blog will be profiling Great Iowa Nurses for 2012.
Courage, competence and commitment are three characteristics recognized in those honored as Iowa’s 100 Great Nurses each year. Jill Petersen lives each of these attributes in her work every day, but she also brings one other critical asset that makes her stand above others: compassion.
Jill has served as mentor, preceptor and coach for behavioral services at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids for nearly 15 years. She has mentored almost every one of the unit’s 39 employees, helping many different nurses in various roles in her department. Her gift has had a measurable impact on every nurse and mental health worker in the behavioral health unit. She demonstrates how to intervene to keep patients and staff alike safe. She teaches by example. Her supervisors and co-workers agree that she has been an integral part of the leadership team that has managed to go three years without a seclusion or restraint event on an in-patient crisis stabilization unit.
Jill’s most significant contribution to nursing has been as a role model educating, inspiring and coaching new nurses. Her command of medications, physiology and interventions makes her an ongoing resource for patients, families, staff, the hospital and the community.
She is also a very strong patient advocate for the underserved vulnerable patient population. She is passionate about access to mental health services for those with psychiatric and chemical dependency diagnoses. There is a significant stigma surrounding mental illness and psychiatric nursing. Jill works relentlessly to tear down those barriers. She will go directly to county commissioners if she must to personally plead the case for a patient who has been denied ongoing services.
Jill also consistently tackles new opportunities such as case management, clinical care coordination and now home health. Her can-do attitude is contagious. She sets stretch goals for herself and inspires others to do so as well.
Her compassion shows in her tenacity in providing the best possible care for each patient. She gives these people hope when they are feeling hopeless. She challenges the system when the system is reluctant to pay for their care. She attends their funerals and supports their families when they have lost the fight for wellness.