Out of all of the nurses who provide patient care across North Carolina, only a small percentage make the Great 100 list. Jill McNeely, a clinical breast health nurse navigator at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, is one of them.
The Great 100 annually acknowledges North Carolina nurses for excellence in patient care and dedication to the nursing profession. McNeely was selected by the Great 100 based on her outstanding professional abilities and commitment to improving health care in Rowan County.
“Jill embodies the profession of nursing through her compassion, knowledge, commitment and advocacy for breast cancer patients in our community,” said Cora Greene, senior director and chief nursing officer at Rowan Medical Center who nominated her. “For years, The Great 100 has been known for being the most prominent nursing award in North Carolina, and I congratulate Jill for being included in such a notable group.”
As a breast health nurse navigator at Rowan Medical Center for the past seven years of her 42 year nursing career, McNeely is part of a rapidly growing field of patient advocates who steer patients through the confusing maze that is a breast cancer diagnosis. In her role, McNeely wears many nursing caps; sometimes all of them at once. She serves as a consistent care coordinator throughout each patient’s breast cancer journey; assessing the barriers and the physical, psychological, and social needs along the way. She also serves as a public educator on the early detection of breast disease, a public advocate for the needs of breast cancer patients, and as a nurse educator for other medical staff in understanding breast disease.
McNeely’s commitment to nursing does not stop at the hospital door. She’s proactive in the community as well, participating in community outreach and support groups. She has served as the county chair for the Susan G. Komen Pink Sunday, co-chair for the county Relay for Life teams, and currently serves as the nursing representative for the local Living in Pink Breast Cancer support group and facilitator for the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better program.
McNeely thoroughly enjoys her position as breast health navigator and cannot imagine her life without her breast cancer patients, but wishes with all her heart it was a role that was no longer needed. “I absolutely love being a nurse,” she said. “I try to treat all of my patients as if they were my own family members, and the more time you spend with them, the more like family they become.”
McNeely undoubtedly presents a positive, professional image of nursing and exemplifies what it means to provide exceptional patient care. She will be honored alongside the other nominees Oct. 14 during the 2017 Great 100 gala at the Concord Convention Center in Concord, North Carolina.