At Akron Children’s Hospital, our nursing care sets us apart. In this continuing blog series, we introduce you to the Akron Children’s nurses who make a difference every day in the lives of our patients and their families.
Jessi Lees, staff nurse in the transitional care unit, has worked at Akron Children’s for 8 years. She joined the organization immediately after graduating from Ashland University’s School of Nursing.
“I never thought I’d want to work in a children’s hospital because I thought it would be sad,” she said. “But after my clinicals in nursing school, I discovered that pediatrics was my favorite, and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”
While the hands-on care she provides as a bedside nurse is a large part of her role, she also sees herself as an advocate for her patients and their families.
“I’m always communicating my observations with the care team to help determine what’s best for my patients,” she said. “I also serve as a sounding board and educator for parents and families.”
Working on the floor that houses the rehabilitation unit allows Jessi to observe the perseverance and resilience of patients who have suffered an injury or illness.
“One of the things that keeps me passionate about my job is seeing patients making progress and getting better. They inspire me,” she said.
Jessi values her downtime and sees it as a chance to recharge and unplug from work so she can continue to be the best nurse possible to her patients.
“It’s important to have a self-care routine that helps you deal with stress and avoid burnout,” she said. “Sometimes it can be challenging to leave work here, but it’s nice to be able to work 3, 12-hour shifts and have 4 days at home with my kids. It helps me maintain a work-life balance.”
Quick to praise her co-workers for making her job easier, she says she couldn’t imagine working with a better group of people.
“Everyone on our unit values teamwork,” she said. “A lot of patients on our floor require the nursing team to pitch in and help with things like baths and trach care. Knowing I can rely on my colleagues helps make my job less stressful.”
With health care technology always evolving, Jessi sees a bright future for nursing.
“Bedside nursing is a constant need that isn’t going to go away,” she noted. “However, there will always be new technology that will hopefully make our jobs better and that will lead to safer patient care.”
As a parent to 2 daughters ages 3 and 6, Jessi empathizes with her patients’ families.
“I strive to give the kind of care that I would want someone to give my children if they were in the hospital,” she said. “It’s something I think about a lot.”
With the nation’s worst nursing shortage expected to hit in the next few years, Akron Children’s is doing its part by supporting those interested in pursuing a career in nursing by offering several programs and services. Want to learn more? Visit careers.akronchildrens.org.