Western Iowa Tech Community College

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Wednesday, April 28, 2021

RELEASE: Jill Arp Honored as one of Iowa’s Best Nurses

Manning Regional Healthcare Center’s (MRHC) Jill Arp, RN, BSN, was honored as one of Iowa’s Top 100 Nurses after being nominated by several MRHC coworkers and fellow community members. 

“Jill is the type of coworker that you find filling in wherever she could be of service because of her team player mentality,” said Jen Morris, PharmD, MRHC’s director of pharmacy who has worked alongside Jill for 14 years. “While her primary area of responsibility involves setting our patients and facility up for success by preventing infections or educating and creating processes to improve safety, Jill has a servant heart that lends itself to helping others.” 

This honor recognizes Jill’s contributions, not only as a nurse but also as an active community member. The 100 honorees are commonly recognized with a banquet; however, this year the event was held virtually on May 2nd.

Nursing Wasn’t Always the Plan

When Jill graduated from high school (MHS 2000), she attended Morningside College for two years heading into elementary education. She worked nights, weekends and holidays for extra income.

“I thought I wanted to be a teacher and after working at the Plaza with the people, it changed my mind. I thought maybe I should go into nursing,” said Jill.

She ended up changing her major to nursing.

“At that time there was such a long waiting list to get into any two-year nursing program, I decided to stay at Morningside for four years. I had already taken all my prerequisites so that allowed me to work and take nursing classes,” Jill explained. “I graduated in 2006 with my bachelor’s degree in nursing.”

The Next Step 

Jill was encouraged by Lori Lenz, director of nursing, to apply at the Manning hospital. Jill worked on the medical/surgical floor, along with the ER from 2006 to 2010. She then worked for Carroll Area Nursing, providing home health care for two years.

“The reason I worked at home health was because of my husband Kyle’s job at AGP. I couldn’t work nights at the same time he was because we were trying to raise our family,” Jill said.

Jill remembers crying when she resigned from the hospital, stating, “I loved my co-workers and loved what I was doing, but I loved working home health, too.”

The Perfect Opportunity 

In 2012, her current position opened at MRHC, and Michelle Andersen encouraged her to apply. The job is two-fold; infection preventionist and employee health. Part of her role as an infection preventionist is working to prevent infections within the hospital and in the community. Administering flu shots, for example. In the fall she contacts local businesses and goes into each business to vaccinate their employees.

With time, she has taken on other duties such as disaster planning and credentialing (keeping record of all the doctors and visiting doctors’ certifications). Most recently, Jill was charged with a significant role in overseeing MRHC’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, serving as a liaison between Carroll County Public Health, and vaccine distribution.

“On any given day she may be answering a call light on the medical surgical floor, helping do postoperative nursing care in the surgery department, giving influenza vaccines at businesses in the community, or leading an education class at the substance abuse center,” Morris said. 

Her position has also allowed her a lot of flexibility to help in the ER, in surgery pre-and post-op.

“It allows me day shift hours plus I get to do a little bit of everything. I love doing patient care and would go back in a heartbeat if I could work Monday through Friday 8:00 to 4:30 pm,” Jill said.

Community Impact 

However, time away from the hospital is very important to Jill as she and Kyle are actively involved with their three daughters and their activities: Karlee, age 13, Kendra age 9 and Kimber, age 7.       

Kyle coaches youth softball, and Jill coaches volleyball. The girls also play basketball. Karlee and her team play in AAW basketball and volleyball which involves Jill.

She is very involved in her church, Zion Lutheran in Manning. She sings with the Praise Band and does the music for Sunday School children. She has also served on Main Street Manning and is a member of the Manning Rotary.

“Jill is someone who has a ‘can-do’ attitude when it comes to supporting others,” Morris shared. “She plays a leading role in the adopt-a-family endeavor at Christmas and is always seeking out volunteers to join her making a float for the community Homecoming parade. Whether putting together an event to promote small businesses in our town, organizing an AAU volleyball tournament or Relay for Life bake sale or volunteering to work the concession stand for the school foundation, Jill does so with a smile. She understands the end benefit - it helps her town thrive, the school grow, or the local volleyball program succeed.” 

Jill’s “Why”

When asked what she enjoyed about her work as a nurse, Jill replied, “The people; the people by far are the best part about being a nurse. You meet somebody once, doing one little thing for them, and they will always remember you. You make such a bond with them,” she stated. 

“Some people don’t like to do nursing care in their community, but I think that is one of the best things. You may have known people all your life, and you get to help them and take care of them. I think that is so great,” Jill commented. “I don’t think I would raise my children anywhere else. I am just lucky that this job came open and I had the opportunity to work here. We are just so fortunate to have this hospital in Manning.”

It is safe to say that Jill’s co-workers, family, friends and fellow community members feel just as fortunate to have Jill in Manning. 

“What epitomizes Jill’s caring, nursing heart is that she warmly greets the elderly man after church who wants to know about the COVID vaccine or the young mom at the grocery store with a quarantine question, and she makes each of them feel supported and educated. THAT is a great nurse,” Morris said.

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