Jessi Nowak, BSN, MA, RN-BC is a staff nurse on the adult inpatient surgical unit and surgical step-down unit at New Hanover Regional Medical Center in Wilmington, North Carolina. She is the former chair of the Nursing Congress, having led four shared governance committees and overseen the unit-based practice councils. She co-authored a chapter about her organization’s experience in Shared Governance: A Practical Approach to Transforming Interprofessional Healthcare, written by Dr. Robert Hess and Diana Swihart. Jessi is currently a registered nurse with more than 15 years’ experience on medical-surgical, same-day surgery, adult psychiatric, and addiction units. During this time, she also had a dual role as a clinical instructor for students and a preceptor and mentor for recent graduates.
Jessi is certified as a medical–surgical nurse through the Academy of Medical Surgical Nurses. She most recently graduated with a master’s in clinical psychology from Wheaton College and also earned bachelor’s degrees in nursing from Chamberlain College of Nursing and cross-cultural studies from Toccoa Falls College, Toccoa, GA.
Her involvement in shared governance stems from her love for learning and flexibility to change practice, if it is evidence-based and leads to quality improvement. Her projects have included:
• revising an alcohol protocol
• improving the education for all staff nurses on the disease of alcoholism with the goals of reducing the use of restraints
• suicide education along with updating the screening tool to help maintain the safety of patients
• improved insulin-pen identification and scanning in the electronic medical record
• restructuring and improving the mentorship program for new graduate nurses.
Jessi was honored to be nominated and chosen for the Great 100 Award for North Carolina nurses for 2020.