Amy Jackson has been taking care of babies ever since she can remember. For her, playtime was work time, nursing her baby dolls back to health and covering their “boo-boos” head-to-toe with Band-Aids. She remembers proudly announcing to family, friends and even strangers at the grocery store that she wanted to be a doctor — more specifically, a fetal surgeon.
Today, Amy is ecstatic to finally live out her lifelong dream of caring for babies — real ones, and not just dolls — as Akron Children’s newest certified nurse practitioner at Akron Children’s NICU at St. Elizabeth’s Boardman Hospital. Though the babies Amy cares for are ex-utero, the mom of 3 spends her days doing what she always knew she was destined to do: provide intensive care to sick and premature newborns suffering from lung, heart, intestinal and other serious health problems.
Why did you choose to come to Akron Children’s?
Honestly, I first chose Akron Children’s because of its close proximity to my home and a comfortable commute. Today, after being with the organization for 7 years, I am proud to be a part of a system putting family first.
What is your role at Akron Children’s and what do you hope to accomplish?
My role at Akron Children’s started out as a registered nurse in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at St. Elizabeth’s Boardman Hospital in 2014. About a year later, I joined the transport team until just recently when I took the role as a Neonatal Nurse Practitioner in the same unit.
What is your area of expertise and why did you choose it?
My area of expertise is Neonatology, and I chose this area of expertise because taking care of babies has been a lifelong dream.
Do you have a favorite instructor or mentor?
I loved the entirety of my educational experience, as well as the many people I have met along the way. My instructors, CNPs Liz Sharpe, Stephanie Sykes and Jodi Ulloa at The Ohio State University Neonatal Practitioner program prepared and supported me throughout my journey. Today, I am excited to work alongside my colleagues and learn from each and every one of them.
When did you decide to become a provider and why?
I don’t recall a particular moment that I decided to become a CNP. If I had to choose a defining moment, it would be when I applied for the Jane F. Lamb Scholarship for Neonatal Nurse Practitioners and was chosen as a recipient. That decision allowed for a childhood dream of mine to come to fruition.
How does your personality fit your role?
My personality is one of little expression. I tend to show little emotion, which can be challenging in a relationship. However, due to my lack of emotion, I’m able to remain calm and controlled in high-stress situations. So, my personality is a great fit for my new role as CNP.
What do you think is the hardest part of your job?
One challenging aspect is being a new CNP in the same unit where I served as a registered nurse. It’s often difficult to transition my thinking into the new provider role and express a need. For example, the simple tasks of needing equipment or medications, as a nurse I would always just run and grab them. Now, I am learning to combat those initial reactions and instead, utilize others for assistance.
What does success mean to you?
Success to me means always doing your best and putting forth your best effort no matter the task at hand, as well as learning something new each day.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Lima, Ohio, with my parents and younger brother, Matt. My uncle and aunt lived next door, and both sets of my grandparents lived nearby and were very involved in my childhood.
Who makes up your family including pets and their names?
I am married to Jeff and we have 3 daughters: Ellie, Maddie and Lily, along with two dogs: Molly and Lacy.
As a child what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I wanted to be a doctor, but not just any doctor. I specifically wanted to conduct fetal surgery. As a young child, I would verbally express my desire to operate on babies inside their mommy’s tummy. Sometimes I would even express this desire in public places, such as in the grocery store checkout line! According to my mother, I garnered many awkward stares, but I had quite the obsession with pregnancy and babies. All my baby dolls had Band-Aids to cover their boo-boos and were always sick. My mom was thrilled to see me grow up to become a NICU nurse and now a CNP.
What is one thing about you that most people don’t know?
I grew up vacationing in Wyoming. It was there that I learned to fly fish and survive without running water, electricity or a flushing toilet! Ha!
The story goes, after my grandfather returned home from World War II, he took off on his Harley and headed west, stopping at fishing spots along the way. He stopped in a small town in Wyoming at Soda Lake, where he caught the biggest brown trout. He returned to that lake repeatedly, eventually taking his wife and 2 sons.
My father continued the family tradition. My first trip out West was at 6 months of age, and we continued going almost every summer until I got married.
As a child, I frequently traveled out West in a motorhome with my grandparents, ahead of my parents, to spend the whole summer fishing. Actually, grandpa fished and, according to my grandma, my time was mostly spent playing in the cold water. I loved the mountains, but fishing was not my passion. When I started dating my husband, I asked him if he knew how to fish or owned a fishing pole. When he said no, it was love at first sight!
What is your favorite vacation spot and why?
Today, my favorite vacation spot is Emerald Isle, NC, thanks to my husband for expanding my horizons and introducing me to the ocean. We have taken our girls on many trips to Emerald Isle, and I have enjoyed watching them grow up over the years playing in the ocean and basking in the sunshine. Watching the sun fade into the ocean is one of the many vacation highlights.
Though Soda Lake still holds a special place in my heart, the ocean is something to take in. Plus, on these vacations we have running water, electricity and flushing toilets! To me, anywhere with family is special, especially if there is a body of water.