Julie Jackson – May 2009

May 2009 Outstanding Alumnus – Julia Ann "Julie" Jackson

Summit Healthcare Medical Center employee Julia Ann Jackson was honored as an Outstanding Alumnus at the May 19th meeting of the Northland Pioneer College District Governing Board.

Jackson, better known as Julie, is a cardiac rehabilitation nurse. She says of her occupation, "It's the best job I've ever had. I worked in labor and delivery for 10 years and that was wonderful, but this is the best ever!"

Jackson says that the relationships she develops with her cardiac rehab patients are the reason. "The patients come in, afraid and confused, uncertain about the future. I work with them for 10 to 12 weeks to educate them and help them understand they can live normal, healthy lives again. During that time we get to know each other and we just develop fabulous relationships."

Lynda Klinger, Jackson & Susan OlsenThat was the case with one of Jackson's patients. Lynda Klingler, (left in photo) a longtime NPC employee who retired last year, recommended her for the Outstanding Alumnus Award based on her first-hand knowledge of Jackson's nursing skills. In her letter of nomination, Klingler said, "After suffering a heart attack in 2006, I was put in the rehabilitation program under her and her staff's competent care. She was so professional and caring, a real credit to NPC and the nursing program." Joining Klinger in congratulating Jackson, center, is Susan Olsen, Silver Creek Campus Manager and coordinator of the Alumnus Awards program.

Born in Phoenix, Jackson lived for a time during her teens and early twenties in Ventura, California. But in 1981, she and her husband made the move to the White Mountains after deciding it was a great place to raise a family. They now have two daughters, ages 26 and 18, and three grandbabies that Jackson says she doesn't get to see often enough.

Perhaps it was not getting to spend a lot of time with those grand kids that stirred a passion in Julie. While her nursing responsibilities consume much of her life, she says she has a dream of writing children's books. "It's my goal. I just know I can do it ... if only I can find the time."

Even as a child Julie always had a desire to reach out to others and help people, and felt nursing was the natural expression of this need. She was admitted to the young NPC Nursing Program in the early 1990s and was a member of the second graduating class of the program in 1995. It took her three and a half years to complete her studies since she was working and being a new mom during those years as well. Since then she has taken advanced courses from NAU in nursing, and this fall will be completing studies for her bachelor's degree through Grand Canyon University.

While most of Jackson's duties are at the MedicalCenter, she also undertakes professional activities beyond the hospital's walls. In 2008 she was the Eastern Arizona representative to the state chapter of the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation. She also performs hospital-sponsored outreach in the community by presenting lifestyle education classes for local groups and area high schools. The classes are noted for a unique holistic, stress relieving exercise based on what Jackson calls Sign Chi Do, a relaxing combination of balance and hand motions and the soothing words of an ancient Irish blessing.

She also takes the time during her sessions at the schools to encourage students to consider careers in healthcare. "It's an awesome field for young people to consider, there's so much diversity in care settings and there's just a growing need for so many different health services."

Her pep talks must work. Her daughter, who is graduating from Blue Ridge High School this month, will be entering NPC in the fall to begin her nursing program prerequisites. Jackson thinks it is smart decision. "The NPC Nursing Program has an extremely high NCLEX (the national nursing license exam) pass rate and the cost is reasonable. It's a great stepping stone."
Jackson is well-deserving of the Outstanding Alumnus Award as an example of how NPC improves lives, not just her own, but the lives of the many others that she has touched.

As an Outstanding Alumnus, she receives a three-credit-hour tuition gift certificate, a $25 bookstore gift certificate and a pass to NPC Performing Arts events.

The Outstanding Alumnus Award Program honors NPC students for being examples of lifelong learning or are using their education to improve their communities. To nominate former NPC students for the award, complete a form online.