November 2011

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workWith Me Training Today's Nurse When it comes to training new generations of health care professionals, experience with patients is key. Today, Madison boasts the Center for Nursing Excellence, which offers simulation labs with high-fi delity mannequins that give medical staff vital hands-on experience for real-life work on patients. Just another reason why Madison is tops for health care quality. Marcia Jewell How work in the ER gave this nurse a whole new life Many nurses say they've entered their fi eld not because it's a job, but because it's a calling—and for Marcia Jewell that was no different. It just happens she didn't hear the calling until an age when most women are counting the years until retirement. "I never knew what I wanted to do when I grew up," the 59-year-old admits with a laugh. Now in her third year as a full- time nurse at St. Mary's Hospi- tal, Jewell is a long way from any profession she's had before. Th e UW-Madison graduate spent decades pulling triple duty, rais- ing three kids and working on her family farm while also balancing a job as a number-crunching accountant. If that's not enough, she also had a stint as a real estate agent. But once her kids began their lives out- side the home, Jewell was ready for a fresh start of her own. She scoured degree pro- grams looking for that perfect occupation that would also fulfi ll a simple goal: "I wanted to be able to help people," she says. Nursing fi t the bill. Decades after earning her fi rst degree, she re-entered school, pushing herself to not only fi nish her associate degree but to work in one the most adrenaline-charged units of a hospital: the emergency room. "[I wanted to work in the ER] because it has that [fast] pace," she says. "[Th e work] is never the same." While Jewell feels confi dent in her scrubs today, she admits that some challenges of the job never get easy. As in any ER, there are some patients who don't make it. "You have to get in the right mindset, so you can keep going," she explains. "But at the same time, you [feel] the humanness of that." On both good days and bad, Jewell says the hard work is made easier by the sup- port her colleagues offer each other. It also helps her keep a smile on her face to re- member that no matter how long it took to get here, every day she's achieving her mission. November 2011 33 Photo by Shanna Wolf

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