A mother sends her Best

Published 11:23 am Monday, May 13, 2024

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Mother’s Day is an important opportunity to celebrate the love, dedication and influence of women who help shape the next generation.

Bon Secours – Southampton Medical Center Nurse Manager Jenna Best is able to appreciate the impact of mothers in a special way because she and her mother, Jane Best, not only remain close — they both work in nursing at the same center.

“We’re two of five nurse leaders in Southampton Medical Center,” Jane said.

Jenna is the nurse manager of Intensive Care, Float Pool and Nursing Supervision. Jane is the director of nursing at the SMC for East Pavilion and Skilled Care.

Occasionally, mother and daughter are even able to collaborate on the job.

“If there are patients that are in skilled or long-term care that need to be admitted to the acute care side of the hospital, that’s kind of when Mom and I will develop plans,” Jenna said. “There are also times where we have to do outpatient blood transfusions after hours, and that will require the patient to come to the second floor.”

Jane also noted that if there is a medical emergency in the Skilled Care Unit or over at East Pavilion, “then we work together then as well.”

Jenna said, “With me being the ICU manager, I’m typically the one that responds to those codes or medical alerts that occur in skilled or long-term care.”

“We have done CPR together,” Jane said. “I’ve relieved her from doing compressions when she was too tired.”

Jenna reflected on that experience and noted that it was a memorable one.

“Being able to work with my mom on such a critical situation, we’d never done that before,” she said.

Jane, 55, has been involved in nursing for 27 years, and Jenna, who is 29, is coming up on eight years in the profession.

Jane noted that prior to taking her current position, she served as the clinical educator and infection preventionist at East Pavilion. She also spent 23 years in nursing education prior to coming to Bon Secours. 

“My responsibilities as the director of nursing are to oversee the nursing operations including resident care and to ensure that we have appropriate staffing,” she said. “I am responsible for the recruitment and retention of nursing staff, as well as quality improvement of nursing services.”

In a way, Jane has been a nursing recruiter for quite some time, because Jenna was informally one of her earliest recruits.

“I encouraged her through high school and tried to tell her the many opportunities that nursing afforded,” Jane said. “She was not interested in nursing at first, but she was interested in health care. So her first educational goal was she wanted to be an athletic trainer and was actually a student athletic trainer for Randolph-Macon College back in 2012 and 2013, for two years.”

Jenna also played college softball.

“And then at the end of (2012 and 2013),” Jane said, “she was like, ‘You know, Mom, I think I want to come back home and go to nursing school.’ So she was always kind of in that health care realm of interest, but (in) 2014 she came home and went to nursing school and graduated in ’16.”

Jenna, who was born and raised in Franklin, learned nursing at Paul D. Camp Community College and earned her bachelor’s degree at Liberty University.

Jane earned her master’s degree in nursing for leadership and management, and Jenna will be finishing the same degree this December.

Jenna came to work at the Southampton Medical Center in 2021. 

She noted that the responsibilities of her present role are to facilitate and coordinate the clinical activities of the nursing unit. She supports the nurses and promotes patient safety, which she said makes her role exceptionally fulfilling.

Jane came to SMC in January 2022.

“I kind of recruited Mom,” Jenna said.

Jane successfully communicated her values to her daughter, as they both cited similar reasons for wanting to work for Bon Secours.

“I came to Bon Secours in January of 2022 as a career change and have loved every minute of it,” Jane said. “The overall core values of Bon Secours align with my personal values of showing compassion, providing a valued service and having integrity in the workplace.”

Jenna said, “I chose to work for Bon Secours because I love their values and mission, and I see our nurses live them out every day by providing high-quality, compassionate service to those who are poor, dying and underserved.”

Jane described it as a true honor to work with her daughter.

“I think she is a wonderful leader,” Jane said. “She’s a natural-born leader, so it makes me very proud when I see her leading nurse council meetings or receiving awards.”

Jenna received the Top 40 under 40 Trailblazer honor from the Virginia Nurses Association and the Virginia Nurses Foundation.

“It makes me extremely proud that she’s growing and she’s reaching her goals,” Jane said. “It took me a little longer than her to get to where I wanted to be in my nursing career, but she seems to have a very level head, and she’s very determined. So who knows where nursing leadership will take her.”

Jenna said she thinks that she and her mother being in their respective nurse leader positions at SMC has helped strengthen their relationship.

“Because we’re able to bounce ideas off of one another,” Jenna said. “And since she’s fairly new in her leadership role and I’ve been in leadership for two years, she’s also able to come to me and ask questions. So I think we’ve just been able to work together really well and help guide each other in this leadership role.”

Jenna underscored that her mother has had a huge impact on her growth as a person and as a professional.

“My mom was my inspiration to becoming a nurse, so being able to work alongside her is such a blessing,” she said. “I deeply admire the hard work and dedication of my mom to the residents of East Pavilion, and I could not be more proud of her.”