For Manilla local, Jackie Blackwell, healthcare was always the plan for her career path, but she never quite anticipated where she would be today.
At the young age of 14, Blackwell began her career in healthcare as an environmental aide at the Manilla Manor. After she received her CNA in 2006, Blackwell worked at the Manilla Manor for one year and then started working full-time at the Manning Plaza in high school during weekends and evenings.
“I liked getting to know the residents – you become close to a lot of them. I knew I wanted to be a nurse, so it was just kind of learning the routine of healthcare and connecting with the residents,” said Blackwell, RN, BSN, CPHQ, who now serves as the Compliance/Privacy Officer and Director of Quality, Patient Advocacy & Risk Management at Manning Regional Healthcare Center (MRHC).
After receiving her RN degree from Iowa Lakes Community College, Blackwell started at St. Anthony’s on the ortho floor, meanwhile continuing to work for the Manning Plaza as needed. In 2012, she started in the Med/Surg department at MRHC and later accepted the OB Coordinator position, eventually going full-time in UR and Quality. As Blackwell experienced various roles throughout the hospital, she grew to enjoy the management side of healthcare.
“I needed my bachelor’s to keep doing clinicals and advance into a management role, so in 2018, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. The hospital paid for that,” said Blackwell.
Blackwell has now found herself advancing in her career as well as her education once again – an accomplishment she attributes to the generosity and support of MRHC.
“Last summer, Linn [Block, MRHC CEO] asked me if I was interested in pursuing my MBA. I was, however, I planned on waiting until my kids were older. I figured I might as well do it now while my kids are young and not in many activities. Now I am in my first year at Nebraska Methodist and should graduate in December of 2023 with my MBA in healthcare. It’s an online program, and I can do my preceptors with Linn right here at MRHC. It’s been good,” shared Blackwell.
Even though Blackwell is a mom and works full-time on top of taking classes for her MBA, she says that the support she receives from MRHC makes it all possible.
“I probably wouldn’t have pursued my bachelor’s or master’s degrees if MRHC had not paid for it. That’s a lot of money upfront,” said Blackwell. She went on to add that “Linn and Michelle [Andersen, RN, BSN, MRHC Chief Nursing Officer] have been great in helping me advance in my career and helping me become a manager. Michelle mentored me a lot when I was on the floor, and Linn always asks how I’m doing in school. If I have a question, we’ll talk about it. All of the senior team really help – they take the time out of their busy days to sit with me and go through stuff so that’s helpful. I have a lot of support.”
Blackwell also credits some of her success to her co-workers as well as the positive team environment at MRHC.
“Everyone is super supportive of each other, and if we know someone has a busy schedule or a huge project that they’re working on everyone is always asking ‘what can I do, can I help you with anything?’ so there is a lot of support and checking in,” shared Blackwell. “Plus, healthcare is a challenge and changing every day. We all have to be adaptable, work together and trust that everyone is trying to do their best right now with things quickly changing, so supporting each other is huge,” she adds.
While healthcare is everchanging and evolving, one constant for MRHC in the past few years has been their leadership.
“Here at MRHC, not only do we prioritize employee satisfaction, recognition, appreciation, and retention, but we also have an ongoing commitment to training and developing our leaders,” said Linn Block, RN, BSN, MHA.
Blackwell is not only grateful to work for a healthcare organization close to home, but also one that prioritizes its patients, employees, and families as well.
“I live just eight miles away so it’s nice not having to drive and waste that time away from my kids,” said Blackwell. “[MRHC] is flexible with things like having a sick kid at home and adjusting your hours to a different day. They are a very family-oriented facility and organization, which is important.”
For a list of current openings or to apply at MRHC, go www.mrhcia.com or call (712) 655-2072 for more information.