Jamie Vander Kooi

Jamie Vander Kooi 2011 has known she wanted to be a nurse ever since she visited relatives in the hospital as a young child. Many years later, Morningside helped her get the job she wanted at that very same hospital.

Jamie works at UnityPoint Health-St. Luke's in Sioux City on a medical-surgical floor. This floor sees a wide variety of patients, including those who have just been moved out of the intensive care unit.

"I've always loved seeing something different every day," she said. "I also have always been interested in cardiology and cardiac patients, and we do tend to see more of those on my unit compared to other units of the hospital."

Just three years after graduating, Jamie was named the clinical nurse expert on her floor.

"I'm the go-to person for help," she said. "I do a lot of research and implementation of best practices for nursing for our unit as a way to improve our unit and our patient outcomes."

Jamie isn't sure exactly why she was chosen for this leadership position.

"I was always one to put forth a lot of effort on the unit," she said. "The professors at Morningside pushed you to take advantage of every opportunity you're given. That's how you're going to learn the best, and people are going to notice that about you."

Jamie is currently taking graduate nursing courses from Morningside, and she plans to eventually get her master's degree.

"Our professors pushed us to be leaders in our profession, to get involved in activities to make a change for the better," she said. "That's something I always liked about Morningside."