Meet our students: Jax Hermer

Meet our students: Jacquelyn (Jax) Hermer

Jax HermerHometown: Seattle

Year/Program: 2019/DNP – Community/Population Health

Research/Areas of Interest: I am interested in expanding the strategies nurses utilize to prevent and alleviate health disparities. I am particularly interested in focusing on programs and policies that reduce trauma exposure and increase strong attachments in the early years of life.

Scholarship: This year, I have received the Marguerite McAlpin Scholarship from the School of Nursing (SoN), the King County Nurses Association (KCNA) scholarship, and the Foundation for the National Student Nurses’ Association (FNSNA) Promise of Nursing for Washington Faculty Fellowship. Last year, I received scholarships from the SoN Nursing Scholarship Fund, Sharma Nursing Fellowship, and the Pamela Waechter Endowed Fellowship.

Why did you choose nursing? After my first Bachelor’s in Health and Environmental Justice, I was working as a community organizer and landscaper. My dad introduced me to Dr. Paul Farmer through the Tracy Kidder’s Mountain Beyond Mountains. Afterwards, I read Farmer’s Pathologies of Power and was inspired to gain more strategic tools that I could use to dismantle systems of oppression that were keeping people ill.

I started taking pre-med classes and one day, while walking to school in the snow, my next-door neighbor picked me up to give me a ride. At the time, she was a professor in Community Health Nursing at UW and told me about the program. The next quarter, I was taking pre-nursing courses. I was advised to get my BSN and then return to get my DNP after having a deeper understanding of the field.

What has been an unforgettable experience during your time at Nursing? Last Spring and Summer, my adviser, Dr. Betty Bekemeier, asked if I would help her facilitate the editing of a white paper being written by all the Deans and Directors of Schools and Programs of Nursing in Washington State. The paper was a proclamation committing to better integrate population health concepts into undergraduate and graduate nursing curriculum.

Throughout the process, Dr. Bekemeier demonstrated her support for me by giving me challenging tasks that reflected my passion, intelligence, and interests. She supported my leadership development, helped me build new connections with nursing leaders, and provided me personal insight into the opportunities available after graduation.

I feel so lucky to have had this experience. It was an incredible opportunity to work with brilliant nurse leaders and help influence future nursing education and practice. I had the unique opportunity to build a close relationship with a mentor who enthusiastically helped expand my assessment and evaluation skills. She soon will be helping me fulfill an academic goal as we work together to write and publish an accompanying paper this winter.

How has your experience at nursing helped you with your career trajectory?  After five years as a Public Health Nurse in the Nurse Family Partnership program at Public Health – Seattle & King County, I returned to UW.

I loved that work immensely and wanted to gain more tools to work on a systems levels to influence policy and practice changes that could improve the lives of young, vulnerable families. Through my work with Dr. Bekemeier on the white paper, current role as a research assistant at the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, role as a Lactation Consultant at UW Medical Center, and courses across nursing, health services, business, and social work, I am gaining a vast set of tools that will enable me to reach all my professional goals.

I am still not yet sure exactly what I will be doing after I graduate, however, I trust that I will leave here with the connections, tools, and knowledge necessary to be a transformational nurse leader implementing innovative, evidence-based, and trauma-informed health care solutions that interrupt patterns of structural inequity.