Did you know that El Paso, Texas, located at the far west corner of the state, averages approximately 302 days of sunshine a year? It’s nicknamed “Sun City”. El Paso boasts a lively culture – one filled with fantastic authentic Mexican food, robust outdoor activities, close proximity to lakes and mountains and more. It also ranks as one of the top 10 safest large cities in the U.S. All of these factors are a huge draw for the almost 700,000 people that call El Paso home, including Jena Petry, NNP-BC.
Jena graduated with a degree in nursing from the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) and practiced in the NICU. She received her Master’s in nursing education and taught nursing for a stint at UTEP. But her entire nursing career, she knew she wanted to work in the neonatal field as a nurse practitioner. She recognized that dream in 2008, graduating with her nurse practitioner degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB). Jena joined Pediatrix Medical Group in 2009 and has been with the practice ever since.
While Jena speaks enthusiastically about El Paso, her true passion lies with her practice. Through ups and downs, the care team directors have stood strong to support their team. For Jena, helping babies and families keeps her going, but the feeling of home and family fostered in her practice keeps her coming back. She explains, “You spend your life in books and reading, but every day, it unfolds right in front of your eyes. Being a nurse for 32 years, I’ve seen a lot but every day I still see more. The clinical work truly brings me joy.”
Further solidifying Jena’s feelings for her practice and her home city was the addition of a new medical director. In May of 2018, Greg Welch, M.D., joined the practice to temporarily fill in. Originally from Rhode Island, Dr. Welch served as a neonatologist in the U.S. Army for 26 years, before joining Pediatrix Medical Group in March of 2017. Dr. Welch quickly fell in love with El Paso and decided to shift from temporary to permanent placement.
Make the move
Jena’s advice to those considering a career as an NNP is “don’t put it off.” Working for MEDNAX has been very impactful for improving patient care. The value of the research that comes out of a national healthcare group is immeasurable. The practice takes an evidence-based approach and is team oriented with everyone working towards a common goal. What really sets them apart as a practice is communication. A strong expectation for communication has brought comfort, stability, confidence and consistency to the whole team. They provide a service to the community and don’t take that responsibility lightly.
Start your career now
Many nurses are now progressing to advanced practice positions earlier in their careers. There is a need and availability to put them directly into the workforce. For the first time, Jena’s neonatology practice has hired a pediatric nurse practitioner straight out of school. This type of collaborative team care allows Jena to focus solely on her scope of practice. The expanded team and capabilities allow the neonatal nurse practitioners to accomplish more during a shift and to focus on the more acute cases. This change in approach has yielded beneficial secondary gains for Jena in her role through a higher level of job satisfaction. Pediatrix Medical Group is actively looking for additional NNPs to join Jena and her team and contribute to the outstanding work they do in El Paso, Texas, on a daily basis.
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