College of Nursing graduate Jessica Dickman has taken leadership and quality improvement skills learned through her clinical scholarship project to her role as Saint Louis University Hospital’s stroke coordinator.
Jessica Dickman spent her first year as a nurse as part of a small pediatric unit at a community hospital.
One day, she was tending to a patient when he had had an adverse reaction to medication and was having difficulty breathing. Dickman was not initially sure what was going on, and the patient’s mental handicap prevented him from communicating clearly.
She called for an emergency nurse response team, and they ultimately called in a physician to give the order for medication to reverse his breathing difficulties.
That near-death experience galvanized Dickman to get back into education.
“In that moment, even though the patient didn’t die, I felt that I’d never know enough because the patients rely on me to always continue my learning,” she said. “I would have to be an eternal student in the nursing profession and obtain an advanced degree so that I can be the person who makes the judgment calls and saves lives while improving patient’s lives on a holistic level through compassionate care.”
Dickman has since earned a master’s in nurse leadership, and in August, she completed a DNP from the University of Missouri–St. Louis College of Nursing.
The doctoral program integrates leadership with clinical practice. For her clinical scholarship project, Dickman helped implement a telehealth program for Veterans Affairs St. Louis Health Care System. The experience leading the project gave her skills and knowledge that she’s continued to apply to similar quality improvement projects in her current role as stroke coordinator at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital.
Dickman’s interest in veterans’ health grew out of her connection to The Jonas Philanthropies, a foundation devoted …