Jan H. Pack, RN, BS, COS-C, CNOR, LNC is being recognized by Continental Who’s Who as a Lifetime Achiever in the field of Medicine as a Registered Nurse (Case Manager) at The Evangelical Lutheran Good Samaritan Society. At this time semi-retired, and loving every minute of it, doing what she loves the most, continuing to serve those in the communities she works in.
With over 48 years of experience as a registered nurse, Jan specializes in Administration, Rehabilitation, Surgery, Dementia, Wounds, and Home care. There are very few genres of nursing that Jan has not experienced, and enjoyed every moment of each, which is why it is so very difficult to put 48 yrs. in a nutshell, a brief description of job titles etc. is really non-essential at this time in her career, what she has done she has loved, no matter the genre, though, she must admit there are 2 areas where this was not the case, emergency room, and psychiatry, not her cup of tea at all. What has kept her in this career is her love of nursing, providing the needs to make sure all patients are individually cared for no matter the issue, this she has always made to make the difference in achieving her goals of being the best she can be in her field, whichever it is at the time.
Jan received her Nursing diploma from Addenbrooks Hospital Cambridge UK, starting in 1971, registering in 1974, LOL, no such thing as graduation, was Certified in Midwifery in Cambridge UK then moved to the US on contract in 1977. She graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration from St Leo University, Florida. Coming to the United States, Jan became a Certified Home Health Administrator, a Certified OASIS Specialist – Clinical, and a Certified Operating Room Nurse. She also works on occasion as a Legal Nurse Consultant, and uses this experience in her everyday work making sure all documentation she reviews, and audits of medical records remain legally written, and within all aspects of required regulations, educating as needed to all concerned.
To further her professional development, Jan is a member of the National Association of Homecare and Hospice, the Association of Operating Room Nurses, the Iowa Homecare Association, and the Iowa Association of Healthcare.
In her free time, Jan is involved with her community by baking non-allergic / vegan baked foodstuffs for the local farmer’s market which she calls ”Jan’s Delights”. It is amazing in the community that the perception of tasting foods that do not have the ingredients most thought of as essential to making it taste good are absolutely not required. The top 8 allergy foods are not found in her baking, this has been another joy in her life, and this comes from personal experience of developing an auto-immune issue where she is not able to tolerate certain foods any longer
During her 48yrs of nursing, Jan became a professional ballroom/latin dancer with her husband, Robert, on Holland America cruise line, and others, she did this for almost 6yrs, however, during this time she continued her nursing through agencies, and the nurses on board who turned to her whenever a pregnant passenger came on board, she also found when on the Windstar line, her expertise was often called upon by the physicians to assist in the smaller islands where healthcare was less available, such as shoving the chickens out from under a hospital bed when a passenger suffered a heart attack, the one and only cardiologist on the island was on vacation at the time, did she want to leave that patient, no, but unfortunately the ship was leaving port, so she had to, however, she does know that this patient did receive the care he needed, and was life-flighted to the nearest US port. Many stories can be told on being in the right place at the right time to help as needed, so Jan does not feel time spent in this time of her life had any deterrent to her continuing education as a nurse. After all, again, what is a nurse? There are probably at this time in history several different thought processes in this arena.
Jan dedicates this recognition in loving memory of her mother, Hazel Guest, and her aunts Maisie Glover, and Connie Warlow, who were both nursing auxiliaries, nowadays known as nursing assistants, She also dedicates this to her high school English teacher, Mr. Chris Smith, without whom she would not be where she is today, as Jan attributes his persuasion in staying in high school, and continuing her education to receive the required needs to enter Addenbrooks Cambridge, she cannot thank him enough for this. My greatest professional inspiration has always been Florence Nightingale, though knowing her history, and the issues she dealt with personally, Florence will be the influence in which she takes this career so seriously, but also with a sense of humor that can only reflect on how she views what a nurse is all about. It was a pleasure a few years ago to visit her burial site, a small, country village in the south of England, where the only thing on her tombstone are the letters simply of FN.
I will follow in the first person, feeling that this is important in order to express my concerns, and wishes to make sure that nurses of the future are ready for whatever comes next. With the shortage of nursing instructors, mainly because it does not pay well, and you need a Master’s Degree to teach, if I had one, I would be there in a shot! Nurse’s today desire to become Nurse Practitioners, and Nurse Anesthetist, because they can earn more, there is a shortage of “acute nurses”.
First and foremost I am a very strong advocate for the nursing environment. My legacy if there is such a thing is to make sure nurses of the future are educated to the best they can be in today’s world, this is a difficult thing related to the continuing education that emphasizes theory over practice. What a shame that nurses today leave university with a degree in nursing, but need at least 6-12 months of mentoring in order to understand the most important role of a nurse, critical thinking, and assessment skills, however they are not getting what they need to be nurses. One thought is that related to generational thought process, it doesn’t mean the same to them, so very sad on my part, Nurses are not the nurses of the past, and unfortunately never will be again. I will always recommend any new nurse to start in a hospital setting in order to acquire these skills that cannot be taught; only experience can bring these to the fore front of being able to continue in any field of their desire. I was astounded recently when visiting a friend in the hospital to hear to nurse, when asked for assistance to the bathroom, “oh let me get you an aide” Excuse me, but we are holistic, we care for every part of our patients. Most important statement is, no matter how busy you are “is there anything else I can help you with, I have the time” Nursing is still a customer service.
We are going to experience a severe nursing shortage in the next few years; this will make a huge impact on all communities, one which we may never recover from related to the massive generation retiring, with not enough to cover those positions. Baby Boomers cover 70% of the workforce, and they will retire in the next 10-15 yrs. There will not be another as huge as this ever again, which attributes to the incapacity of being able for the healthcare field to manage, care, meet needs, or for that matter provide the healthcare’s increasing needs related to this.
Quite honestly, I could go on for a long time on the good, bad, wrong, right of nursing today. Not going to, it is a different world now, I am one of the “excuse me” honored few left educated the “can’t say correct”, but will say the best way I think necessary to bring nurses to the level they need to be in order to provide the most special, most honored, most heart-feeling, totally fulfilling career they can ever have. I know, this statement will hopefully create positive arguments, or even negative, but let them come, I am more than willing to bring all the experience, wisdom, and just being me that I can bring to this forum. By the way, anger will not be accepted; this is not a professional image you want to portray only those who are willing to learn listen, and want to improve how they care for all they serve I never stop learning, my goal of learning something new every day never fails me.
I welcome all comments, and discussions from this article that may arise. Perhaps I am just old-fashioned, but I don’t think so. Nursing is indeed an art; it takes a special person to perform these tasks, these I see on a daily basis, we hold the lives of our communities in our hands. Let’s keep the art of Nursing forever in our hearts.