Destined for Greatness
Growing up in a family full of nurses, it’s understandable why Cheryll Jones became passionate about the profession at a very young age.
Described by many of her former instructors as a “star”, Jones (BSN ’69) wasn’t always sure what she wanted to do once she earned her degree. A public health class changed all that.
“My public health rotation changed what I wanted to do in my nursing practice,” she explained. “I have spent my career in the public health arena and have never regretted it.”
She recently took time to talk about her educational experience at UI, why she initially went into nursing, as well as her current efforts to advance health care for children and rural communities.
Describe the moment you knew you wanted to be a nurse?
I had wanted to be a nurse as long as I can remember. I had three aunts who were nurses and they encouraged me to follow my dream.
Why did you choose the University of Iowa to pursue your education?
One of my aunts had a Masters in Nursing—a rare thing in the 1960s. She told me that if I was going to go into nursing I needed to go into a BSN program. I took her advice and applied to Iowa and got a great education.
What do you remember most about your time as a UI College of Nursing student?
I grew up in a small town and found that the university offered many diverse experiences. I met so many incredible people and I have countless, fond memories of my fellow students.
Was there a particular class or instructor that stood out?
My public health rotation changed what I wanted to do in my nursing practice. I had never considered public health before that class, and once it was over I knew that was what I wanted to do with my career.
How are you currently involved in the nursing profession?
I am a practicing Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. I work for Child Health Specialty Clinics and see children with special health care needs. I’m also involved in advocacy for children, rural health issues, and nurse practitioners.
Do you believe your educational experience at UI enhanced your preparation for entering the profession?
Yes, I definitely do. The message I heard loud and clear was “we will provide you with a strong educational base for your nursing degree. What you do after you leave here is your choice. You will be the kind of nurse you want to be, no more and no less. The choice is yours.”
As a nurse, what has changed the most in the field over the course of your career?
The profession has adapted to many technical changes, and the nurse practitioner role has opened many doors for nurses. Nurses have also become more involved in advocating for their profession and for their patients.
What words of advice would you give to current or future nursing students?
Nursing is an exciting and demanding profession. It can be challenging, but there are many great opportunities in the field. The profession requires commitment, compassion, and critical thinking. Involvement in professional organizations is also very important.
What’s next for Cheryll Jones?
I will probably be looking at retirement in the next couple of years. I never thought that day would come, but guess it eventually does for all of us. I will continue with advocacy for children and the nursing profession, indefinitely. Personally, I will continue to enjoy spending time with my children, grandchildren and my husband.
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