We all know that moms wear many “hats.” When one of the “hats” is being an essential worker — especially over the last year — that mom deserves to be recognized and celebrated. “Hats off” to Jennifer DiGeronimo, mom of Bella, 13, and Mikey, 9, and nurse manager obstetrics at Lake Health, this month’s Northeast Ohio Parent profile.
Tell us about how you got into the medical field:
I attended Kent State and studied nursing right out of high school. I always knew I wanted to be in nursing. From the start of my career, I have always loved obstetrics. My dream job was in labor and delivery, which I did when I worked at University Hospital (UH). I then became a charge nurse at UH and 15 years ago, I moved to be part of the team at Lake Health. I have loved being part of the nursing team, serving the community. I have had wonderful, strong women as role models who have guided and inspired me. Six years ago, I received my master’s in nursing administration.
Give us a glimpse of a day in your work:
I am in charge of the obstetrics department at Lake Health, essentially overseeing everything that is happening on that floor. It is a lot of administrative work, as I work with a team of 60 nurses, nurse aids and lactation consultants. A major part of my role is ensuring that policies and procedures are up to date, coordinating professional development for our team, and of course, ensuring the safety of our patients. I am proud to routinely meet with physicians and the quality team with a focus on outstanding care and operations.
What lessons has work life taught you?
Time management, organization (I may be organized to a fault), and to appreciate the time I have at home with my family. My career has been a blessing and has taught me to share joy.
Are there any new lessons based on being an essential worker during the last year?
It’s been very nice from a nursing professional standpoint to feel as valued as nurses have this last year. It has been amazing to see my team of nurses come together and to be so supportive of one another. We have developed new policies and procedures over the last year. The “curve ball” of COVID has made me realize that you are never done learning.
Tell us about maintaining balance and finding joy through this last year:
We went back to the basics when it came to our family. When the kids were home during COVID, we played games, cooked and watched movies. We were able to get back to some of the things we weren’t able to do as often. We were not upset about that time, but embraced it and it made us closer. The kids enjoyed doing things differently and trying new things like kayaking and rock climbing. It felt good to slow down. Through all this, I continued to work in the hospital. That did not change and my continued job responsibility helped the kids to grow up and become more responsible, as well.
What advice have you been given that is so good it is worth sharing with others?
Do something that you truly love in your life as far as work goes. Find that passion. Find that key thing in your life.
Describe a perfect day:
You’d find me relaxing with my family, on a beach near the ocean, listening to the waves and enjoying the sunshine and good food (sushi and steak!).