Joined USJ: 2008
Her introduction to nursing came at the age of 10, when Kimberly Joerg entered a hospital to bring home her newly born sister. One glance at the nurse holding her new sibling, and a lifelong love affair with nursing had begun. That passion led to Saint Joseph as an undergraduate nursing student, starting what would become a three generation legacy, shared by her sisters, mother and daughter. She describes those years as pivotal in her professional development, vividly recalling that they made her the practitioner, and the person, she became. “This institution gave me the foundation for my future,” she observes, adding that the rigorous education, high standards, and faculty commitment to student success are a Saint Joseph hallmark, then and now.
Accepting the invitation to join the faculty in the midst of a standout career in pediatric nursing, with extensive experience at Connecticut’s leading pediatric care hospitals as well as in private practice, was “a leap of faith.” Joerg says she now has “the best of both worlds” - working daily to prepare and guide nursing students and as a nurse practitioner in a local pediatrics practice one day each week. It is a combination that she thrives on, and which benefits her students enormously. It also recalls her research, which has focused on childhood obesity - a topic that remains at the forefront of health care concerns.
“Students want to know that what they’re learning is real life. By seeing patients on a regular basis, I can share those stories and those experiences. It demonstrates to students that what they’re learning in textbooks really does matter in the real world.” Clinical placements, which provide students with an opportunity to experience a range of heath care settings, gives Joerg the chance to see students experience their “eye-opening moment,” when their education, training and experience come together to reveal their path forward. “It’s what makes my job awesome.”
“Nursing is not just administering medicine. It is sitting with patients, establishing relationships, noticing even a small change in a child’s health. It is the art of communication, and developing trust,” Joerg emphasizes. In the pediatric setting, that includes patients and their families. “To have individuals, when they are ill and most vulnerable, rely on you and trust you is remarkable, adds Joerg. “It is a privilege to take care of people.” That is an attitude and approach she enthusiastically shares with students, as she prepares them to provide the “best, safest care for patients” and experience the sustaining joy of “making a difference in people’s lives.”
D.N.P., University of Connecticut
M.S.N., Yale University
B.S.N., University of Saint Joseph