The Light Of Day

Nurse practitioner Jessica Day named to Professional Award by the American College Health Association

May 25, 2016
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It’s one thing to win a national professional award. That in itself is cause for celebration. But when you win a national professional award in a new industry sector, in a brand-new environment? You are definitely doing something right.

Jessica Day

WPI Health Services nurse practitioner Jessica Day was recently chosen for a New Affiliate Professional Award by the American College Health Association, to be awarded at the ACHA annual meeting.

Day was nominated in January by her supervisor, Health Services director Regina Roberto. “Jessica espouses the ACHA tenets of advocacy, education, and research to a ‘T’ … her passion and commitment for college health was evident from the start,” wrote Roberto in the award nomination letter.

Making the win more significant is the fact that previous to WPI, Day had never worked with younger people or in a college setting. And she has only been on campus since August 2014.

“I was floored,” said Day, after learning that she’d been chosen for the recognition.

A Rutland resident (and, along with her husband, new parents to an American Bulldog), Day earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Northeastern University in Boston. She worked in general medicine, solid organ transplant cardiology and cardiac surgery departments at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, UMass Memorial Medical Center’s University Campus in Worcester, and at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham, respectively.

It’s very enlightening to be engaged with a population so eager to learn.
Jessica Day

After earning a master’s degree in nursing, her education and career eventually led her in the direction of geriatrics, and she was certified as an adult/gerontological primary-care nurse practitioner.

That was until Day opted to shake things up a bit, and transition from working with older people to serving a younger population at WPI. “It has encouraged me to think outside the box,” said Day of coming to campus. “It’s very enlightening to be engaged with a population so eager to learn.”

Day feels she can have more opportunity for impact with younger people—especially in areas like prevention education—than she can with the older set, who tend to be more stuck in their ways. “I learn a lot from the students,” said Day, who said that a device designed to measure oxygen in hemoglobin, which she has used throughout her career, was created here at WPI.

“I learn things from them all the time. In medicine, there is nowhere to be complacent; you have to be innovative or you’ll be behind the curve.”

A nurse practitioner (a nurse with advanced training) can perform some tasks reserved for physicians. Day can write prescriptions and evaluate test results, for example, for WPI students. Known in the medical world as a mid-level provider, she is licensed independently, but under the terms of Massachusetts legislation, works under the supervision of a physician counterpart.

“Typically we refer to ourselves as a doctor’s office on campus,” said Day. Where students are urged to have yearly physicals with a primary care physician in their community, Health Services handles more urgent care type of matters, such as twisted ankles, rashes, flus, and colds, she said.

EDUCATIONAL ANGLE

Roberto said in her nomination letter that Day has done an exemplary job of serving as an advocate and educator at WPI—during her relatively short time at WPI, Day has

  • developed a capstone project on urinary tract infections to better educate students;
  • met with the new dean of graduate studies to advocate for health care needs for graduate students and student veterans, and has committed to being the graduate students’ and veterans’ liaison for health care services;
  • provided compassionate and thorough health care for international students;
  • taken part in weekly conference calls with the state’s Department of Public Health; and
  • volunteered to be part of a research study on intimate partner violence and sexual violence in college health.

Day will receive her award in San Francisco at the ACHA Annual Meeting, May 31–June 4.

– BY SUSAN SHALHOUB