LAKE CITY - In the state of Iowa, there are over 57,000 nurses, and each year a very small percentage of them are recognized as one of Iowa's 100 Great Nurses.
Kari Jones, of Rockwell City, is now recognized as one of those great nurses. Jones is the director of nursing at Stewart Memorial Community Hospital in Lake City and said she feels humbled by the 2013 nomination.
"It's a great honor to be recognized," said Jones.
A career in nursing has been a life long aspiration for Jones who began caring for patients after she took her nursing assistant course at SMCH while in high school and then worked at SMCH through college.
"I was inspired to be a nurse by my mom, aunt and grandma who all had careers in nursing. They encouraged me to be a nurse and I can't remember ever wanting to do anything else" said Jones.
Jones, mother of Tori, Tyler and Madison, graduated from Rockwell City-Lytton High School and then attended the University of Iowa, earning her bachelors of science in nursing. Early in her career, Jones worked in Des Moines, but after four years, she and her husband Steve returned to her hometown community. She then joined SMCH as a nurse on the medical/surgical floor. She later worked in the Homecare and Hospice department, where she was promoted to the director of the department in 2011. In 2012, Jones took on a new role as director of nursing for SMCH.
In her years of experience, Jones has had many memorable experiences, one of which involves a horse. "We had a patient at SMCH that was in Hospice care and he wanted to see his horse during his last days. Our staff made arrangements for his beloved horse to be brought out to the hospital so the patient could pet the horse and spend time with him. It's that kind of compassion that gives purpose to my job and keeps me going," said Jones.
"When we work together to improve the way we care for patients, it has a profound impact on the health of all our patients. That is the greatest reward for me as a nurse," said Jones.
Jones was nominated for the award by Cindy Carstens, vice president of nursing and ancillary services and the staff in the Homecare department. In the nomination application, several of Jones' professional accomplishments were outlined including her commitment to excellent patient care and leadership abilities.
Jones is one of only four nurses in Calhoun County to ever be selected as one of Iowa's 100 Great Nurses since the program was started in 2005 by the University of Iowa College of Nursing. A reception to honor the 100 Great Nurses of Iowa will be held on May 5 in Des Moines.