Jessica has been a Nurse Manager in the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program at UC San Diego since 2005.
As Nurse Manager, Jessica has 24/7 accountability for the Adult Cystic Fibrosis Program including patient care oversight, personnel, budgeting, strategic and operational plans. She provides education on cystic fibrosis to health care staff, patient, families and members of the community.
Why did you decide to get this MAS degree?
“I decided to pursue a MAS in Health Policy and Law after experiencing many frustrations within our health care and current reimbursement systems. Our patients living with cystic fibrosis are faced with many challenges including difficulty obtaining insurance coverage, expensive medications, discrimination, disability, and living with advanced disease.
After years of my own frustrations and mixed results with patient advocacy, I recognized the need to position myself in a way to best assist our patients and staff members. I reviewed several different graduate schools and programs and it was clear that the Health Policy and Law program was the most ideal fit for my needs.”
What did you like best about the program?
“The interdisciplinary nature was one of the most valuable aspects of the program. My colleagues were from both the medical and legal professions and included many different professions such as physicians, nurses, lawyers, clinical researchers, and more. The learning that occurred through both formal and informal discussions was greatly enhanced by the shared experiences of my colleagues.
The dual institution educational opportunities allowed access to expert resources from both UC San Diego and Cal Western School of Law. This greatly enhanced research efforts and networking.”
What skills are you applying in your job that you learned in the program?
“I benefited greatly from the program and it definitely helps me on a regular basis. One of the skills I learned was effective advocacy which I have used regularly, both within the health care system and the state. I learned how to identify advocacy opportunities, identify stakeholders, formulate and deliver an effective advocacy plan. Previous efforts in advocacy have led to my selection as one of 6 members of a national committee on public policy in palliative care. Participation on this committee provides an opportunity to share knowledge gained through the health law program with other health care providers in the United States and gives me a voice in national policy and advocacy in palliative care.
I also learned how to better navigate the health care and reimbursement systems through participation in the Health Law program. Although I had worked within these systems for many years, I did not possess the in depth level of understanding that I do now. This has helped me to guide patients as they navigate complex systems and has benefited our whole team.”
How did this program impact you in your decision to pursue a PhD?
“My decision to pursue a PhD was cultivated during my time studying with the Health Policy and Law Program. My initial interest began simply as a realization that there was more I wanted to learn and research. I was greatly impacted by Dr. Mary Devereaux and her support of my ISP, and encouragement in my research and writing. As I was working on my ISP, I realized how thoroughly I enjoyed research, and I also developed an appreciation for the vulnerability of the patient populations I was interested in, both cystic fibrosis and palliative care. Because of this vulnerability, I felt a responsibility to attain further training in conducting ethical research in vulnerable populations and in qualitative research. The PhD program in palliative care that I am now in best met these needs.”
What would you like to tell someone who is considering the program?
“I greatly encourage anyone considering the program to apply. I suggest reading over the curriculum and speaking to current students or graduates of the program to see if it will be a good fit, recognizing that one of the greatest benefits of the program will be gained through the shared experiences of your fellow students. When I was considering both this program and another local graduate program, I read through both curriculums and the Health Policy and Law Program generated a lot of excitement for me, while the other did not. I have not regretted my decision any step of the way and would choose it again.”
What do you like to do in your free time?
“My free time is limited so I try to make excellent use of it. I spend quality time with my husband and especially enjoy walking on the beach. I am also training my 6 month old lab to be a therapy dog and we spend a lot of time “working” together.”
Jessica’s Capstone Project: “Special Considerations in Cystic Fibrosis palliative and End-of-Life Care”
• MAS (Health Policy and Law): California Western School of Law – UCSD (2012)
• Bachelor of Science in Nursing, San Diego State University, 2010
Graduated with Distinction
• Currently a PhD candidate in Palliative Care at Lancaster University, UK in the Division of Health and Medicine
• 2003 – 2006: Case Manager, Children’s Program, San Diego Hospice and Palliative Care
• 2001 – 2003: Inpatient Pediatrics, Kaiser Permanente, Zion, San Diego
• 1997 – 2001: Pediatric IMU, UC San Diego
Cystic Fibrosis chapter, Nursing Care of Children with Life Threatening Conditions textbook, Hospice and Palliative Nursing Association, co-author with Patty Pian, published 2012.
End-of-Life Care Challenges in Chronic Lung Disease, California Thoracic Society Quarterly Semi-annual publication, summer 2012
Obstacles to Palliative Care in Cystic Fibrosis, North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference Supplement, Pediatric Pulmonology, 2012
The Role of the Multidisciplinary Team in End of Life Care of CF Patients, North American Cystic Fibrosis Conference Supplement, Pediatric Pulmonology, 2011
The Cystic Fibrosis Patient, a Nursing Challenge Met. UC San Diego Medical Center Journal of Nursing, spring 2011