We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Jocelyn Shaffer ’24
Associate of Science in Nursing program
For more than 12 years, Jocelyn Shaffer has worked in various roles in the health care field, including as a psychiatric assistant, unit secretary, nursing assistant, recreation therapist, activity director and compliance officer. She has especially enjoyed working with the elderly and with those with dementia and currently works full-time as the Health Center’s Activities Supervisor and Compliance Officer at Cornwall Manor, a retirement community. She recently obtained her Certified Dementia Practitioner certification from the National Council of Certified Dementia Practitioners. This busy single mother of two daughters, Natalie (age 11) and Annabelle (age 9), is also enrolled part-time in our Associate of Science in Nursing program, on track to graduate in May 2024.
“I chose PA College because of its part-time, evening/weekend program. This schedule allows me to continue working full-time to provide for my two daughters. Additionally, PA College’s guaranteed clinical nursing hours were attractive to me. I have been pleased with the caliber of the professors here and feel I have learned so much from each of them. The professors have been knowledgeable, helpful, and friendly. The College and its resources are state-of-the-art, attractive, and valuable. I am amazed by the support the school offers, including success coaches, counseling, free computer applications, fun events, tutoring and so much more,” Jocelyn shares.
After earning her associate degree, Jocelyn aspires to work in a supervisory role as a nurse manager in a nursing home. She adds: “Educating staff on how to provide excellent care and a home-like environment for our elders is very important to me. I hope, in some small way, my influence will make a difference. Dementia care can be a continuation of a patient’s earlier life—still full of hope, goals and meaningful experiences.” Jocelyn plans to continue her education on day and would especially like to pursue certification as a Nursing Home Administrator. Ultimately, she hopes to earn either a master’s degree in nursing or a law degree.
Jocelyn draws inspiration from her health care hero – her sister Lindsay Shaffer. “She is also a single mother; during the pandemic, she worked as a registered nurse in Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s COVID ICU,” Jocelyn explains. “She was extraordinarily courageous and worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic. In addition to saving lives, she recently earned her master’s degree in nursing and works as a Nurse Practitioner for Penn State Hershey at Masonic Village. My sister is knowledgeable and compassionate and is a perfect example of an extraordinary nurse!”
Jocelyn lives in Elizabethtown, PA. She loves to garden, organize and do home projects. She also enjoys jigsaw puzzles, card games and board games. She notes: “My parents finished their college degrees when I was a child, so I remember watching them work hard to care for their children while pursuing education, just like I’m doing now.”
Jamie Johnson ’10, ’13, ’20, MSN, RN
Nurse Manager, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital
Jamie Johnson – a three-time PA College alumna – began her educational journey in the Associate of Science in Nursing program. Following graduation, she immediately began pursuing her bachelor’s degree (completed in 2013) , while working as a staff nurse in an observation unit at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital. After approximately 10 years in this role, Jamie decided to pursue a leadership track. She took on a number of leadership roles in her nursing unit before becoming the Assistant Nurse Manager on the obvervation unit in January 2020. That spring, Jamie earned her third PA College degree – graduating from our Master of Science in Nursing program.
Two years later, Jamie was invited to take on an interim nurse manager position for 5 Frederick Bariatric Surgery & Complex Wound Management, and has now held the position permanently for the past year. Jamie says that she’s still learning and developing, but realized right away that she could take on more responsibility. “This past year on 5 Frederick has taught me a lot about myself and how I lead my team. My leadership mentality is that I work for my team and don’t believe that my team works for me! Leadership is a privilege. When you are in a leadership role your influence may affect the trajectories of someone’s entire career and often their lives (Leadership First.) Rose Sherman once said ‘In leadership the toughest person you ever lead is you. Great leadership starts with self-leadership,’” Jamie explains.
Reflecting on her sixteen years at Lancaster General Health (beginning as a patient care assistant, and later unit secretary at Women and Babies Hospital), Jamie can easily articulate why being a nurse matters. “Being able to establish such a close connection with our patients is one of the most fulfilling aspects of a nursing job,” she shares. “Even though we frequently encounter challenging situations—being present while individuals deal with catastrophic illnesses or injuries, seeing the moment of birth, or being present at the end of life—we get to know our patients and have the chance to make a significant difference in their lives.”
Jamie got married this past summer and she and her husband are huge Phillies baseball fans and enjoy watching games whenever they can. Jamie has an eight-year-old daughter who just began second grade. She has followed in her mother’s footsteps as a soccer player – Jamie enjoys watching her play in on a travel team, and mother and daughter like to watch Major League Soccer together (they are big fans of Lionel Messi). The family also loves spending weekends at the beach in Cape May, New Jersey and at their cabin in Bradford County.
Seeking People of PA College
Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!