Nurses’ Week: Jennifer Newman - An Honor to Serve
Throughout National Nurses’ Week, Lake Regional Health System and the Lake Sun will celebrate the nursing profession with profiles of exceptional nurses working at the health system.
Jennifer Newman, R.N., woke up on the morning of March 7 with a feeling of excitement. She was about to help lead Lake Regional’s largest COVID-19 mass vaccination event. Newman had already spearheaded multiple vaccination clinics, but the March 7 event at School of the Osage was going to be double or triple the size. Her training in critical care nursing helped her feel ready.
"As a critical care nurse, you are trained to think quickly, prepare for the worst and effectively implement interventions with your team," Newman said. "I leaned heavily on these core skills and applied them in this larger, new environment."
Newman has always felt passionately about helping others and was drawn to health care at an early age. She was inspired by her mother, who was a respiratory therapist and a role model for being an empathetic caregiver. Newman feels grateful to work with team members who share her deep-rooted values.
"Throughout this pandemic and our vaccination effort, we have always been determined to meet the needs of our most vulnerable populations," Newman said. "We studied other vaccination plans, saw the long lines and people struggling to find vaccination opportunities. We learned from this and always made patient safety and quality our highest priority."
Safety required thinking through the challenge of vaccinating high volumes of people — many of whom needed extra assistance with paperwork or walking — while also adhering to social distancing guidelines. Staffing the events required dozens of team members ranging from security to pharmacists, with as many team members behind the scenes as out in front.
"This was a demanding task and many of us were already taxed from months of stressful care giving, but we never lost sight of what was important –– our patients and community," Newman said.
The March 7 event presented the biggest challenge and required the most collaboration and cooperation with community partners. In one day, more than 1,900 people were vaccinated.
"It was an amazing experience to be part of the mass vaccination event, as well as all of our vaccination clinics," Newman said. "It felt really rewarding to be able to give hope to our community after months of suffering."
And the community was grateful. Several who received vaccinations at the community clinics called or sent emails or cards expressing their appreciation, not just for the delivery of the vaccine but also for the warm welcome they received. One wrote: “Like many people our age, we haven’t been out in a year and being greeted that warmly was heavenly. It was as if you were all happy to see us. Everyone did a great job, and we can’t thank you enough.”
Although processes, roles and treatments might change over time, Newman wants people to know that one core value will always remain the same for nurses and health professionals.
"What has not, and will never, change is demonstrating to patients how much we care," Newman said. "Nurses must be champions and companions to whomever they are serving."
To explore nursing job opportunities at Lake Regional, visit lakeregional.com/careers.