Jackie Ross, RN, is known to many in her role within the walls of SSM Health St. Francis Hospital as an emergency department nurse. On Jan. 4, she began stepping out from behind those walls as the hospital's new Community Resource Nurse.
Ross is excited to be in her new outreach position. As Community Resource Nurse, one of her primary duties will include health education, providing educational programs such as smoking cessation and wellness programs.
"I can also help set up health screenings and classes such as CPR and first aid," Ross said.
Navigation and advocacy (assisting community members in finding their way through the healthcare systems) and referral agent (finding resources and making referrals to agencies, organizations and support services to improve quality of life) are also some of Ross' new duties.
Emergency patients will continue to see Ross in the ER as she will remain on a weekend rotation. She noted that her emergency coverage provides her with an extraordinary perspective.
"I have the unique opportunity to view patients in the ER and see the consequences of unhealthy lifestyle choices'," Ross explained. "As a personal trainer, I experience people who are trying and willing to maintain or improve their health. I really do get to see both sides, a very unique situation to be in."
This experience played into her decision to take on the Community Health Nurse role. "I would prefer to see more people preventing illness instead of waiting until they are sick and being sick the rest of their lives," said Ross.
Two key areas where Ross will be given some additional focus are heart disease and obesity. The hospital's community health needs assessment process identified these as top concerns to be addressed for the next three years.
"The hospital wants to reach out and encourage wellness and disease prevention in the community," Ross concluded. "Any way I can help do that, I want to do it."
For questions or to make an appointment with Jackie Ross, call 660-562-7945.