Jessie Blanchard says nursing is a rewarding and intriguing career
She also said her coworkers have become an extended family.
ALEXANDRIA — Jessie Blanchard has worked at Alomere Health since 2009. She started as an licensed practical nurse and then in 2010, after finishing her degree at Alexandria Community and Technical College, she moved into a registered nurse role.
She then completed her bachelor’s degree in nursing online from the University of Texas Arlington in 2012. She worked as a surgical floor nurse and nursing supervisor for more than 10 years. For the past two and a half years, she’s worked as the med/surg/peds floor manager.
In 2017, she was trained as a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner and will see patients in the emergency room when needed. She also educates nursing and law enforcement students at the Alexandria College about sexual assault response.
She said she has been married to her “unbelievably supportive” husband, Bill, since 2014. They reside in Alexandria with their two “sweet little dogs,” she added. The couple are sports enthusiasts, enjoy concerts, gardening for bees and butterflies, and being a part of the amazing community they both grew up in.
To celebrate National Nurses Week, Blanchard answered the following questions about her profession:
Q: Why did you become a nurse? What drew you to the profession?
A: I entered into health care in my late 20s almost accidentally thanks to my best friend who encouraged me to take a job as a PCA. Once I had a few months of experience, I realized that this truly is my calling. I enrolled in nursing school at ATCC and have never looked back. Making personal connections with my patients, constantly learning about medicine and the human body, problem solving and helping those around me to grow their own nursing careers and working to restore my patients health have proven to be extremely rewarding and intriguing at the same time.
Q: What do you love about your job?
A: I love the fast pace of working in acute care and not only providing support to patients but also to the entire team of nurses, doctors and various co-workers across all departments that I come in contact with every day. They have become extended family over the last 14 years. Much of the appeal for me at Alomere is that no two days are ever the same, which I find challenging and exciting. Every day I return home knowing that I have done something to improve someone's life and take away fulfillment from the encounters that I have with both patients and coworkers.
Q: What are the challenges of your job?
A: Healthcare has changed vastly in the last several years and adapting to those changes has proven to be difficult. It has tested many of our strongest nurses and healthcare providers but as we have acclimated to what our "new normal" is, there is a sense of achievement knowing that we have weathered the storm thus far. There will always be challenges in healthcare but when we face them head on and choose to grow and learn along the way, we become better versions of ourselves.
Q: What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about becoming a nurse?
A: What we do as nurses is not easy. It tests our minds and our bodies. But at the end of the day, it is far more rewarding to know we have positively impacted others' lives and that they in turn have impacted ours. Nursing is a calling, not just a job. We need to be vested 100% in what we do and in turn we get back exponentially what we have given.
Q: What would you like the community to know about either your job, specifically, or the nursing profession as a whole?
A: As nurses our goal is to help and heal. In a hospital setting this is often achievable and we joyfully celebrate that success with our patients and their families. And still, there are times when it is not. We do our very best to serve those who are often at their most vulnerable and even in the face of tragedy and loss we strive to maintain dignity and compassion. The connection that we create with those we care for is at times unbreakable. So thank you former, current, and future patients for allowing our profession to share that bond with you whether it is in heartbreak or jubilation. We are honored to be a part of your lives.