Leading with Experience and Empathy

Photo provided by UC Health


Jennifer Jackson, RN, DNP, chief administrative officer at University of Cincinnati Medical Center, uses her experience and expertise to set a solid example for her team.  Jennifer Jackson is in charge of more than 1,300 nurses, responsible for nursing operations across all inpatient medical and surgical units, including cardiovascular services and the neurosciences.

“My philosophy for leading is to never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn’t do myself,” says Jackson. “I also tell my team where we need to head with the realization that each person might take slightly different paths to get there. All that matters is for all of us to end up at the same destination and shared goal.” 

UC Medical Center is a fast-paced environment and Jackson challenges her team to be proactive rather than reactionary. Her advice comes from lessons learned in her career, including more than 12 years in leadership roles  at UC Medical Center. 

“I have empathy when a care provider is having a bad day, because I understand what that means,” says Jackson. “I’ve worked the bedside and I know what it’s like to have a need and not be able to get it.” 

The desire to make a difference, no matter how big or small, is at the core of Jackson’s passion. Becoming a leader gave her the opportunity to ensure nurses have everything they need to provide life-changing care for patients. 

Healthcare changes each day and Jackson’s mission is to navigate her team through those nuances, helping them embrace what future inpatient and outpatient procedures will look like. 

“A lot of care, which used to only take place in hospitals, patients can now receive as outpatient procedures and go home the next day,” says Jackson. “I want to mentor the next generation of leaders and inspire them to do what I do and keep looking ahead.” 

In her roles, Jackson says an underlying component correlates to Theodore Roosevelt’s quote, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Jackson says sometimes healthcare providers try to articulate everything they know to a patient and that often isn’t the most useful approach.

“People want to know that you care about them and especially about their loved one in the bed – that you will do absolutely everything you can for them,” says Jackson. “No matter the eventual outcome, they will know you truly care. If we live by that philosophy then healthcare will be in a good place.”

University of Cincinnati Medical Center is located at 234 Goodman Street, Cincinnati, OH 45219. For more information, call 513.584.1000 or visit their website at www.UCHealth.com/