Even on the gloomiest of days, or during the most challenging of times, you can count on a big smile and a cheerful, “Good morning sunshine!” from Jessica Colon, Nursing Administrator at Life’s WORC.
Jessica is a bright and enthusiastic example of Life’s WORC’s mission. Having spent her career in support of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, she began as a Direct Support Professional over 18 years ago, and her passion and dedication to help others led her to pursue nursing school. She joined Life’s WORC in 2013 as the RN educator, teaching and developing all medically related training curriculums to the direct support staff, bringing her full circle in her journey.
Jessica’s interest in the nonprofit world and working with people with disabilities is a family trait, with many relatives and her own mother also working in the field. Her motivation and drive led her to be promoted to Director of Nursing in 2015, and then Nursing Administrator in 2020. She is responsible for regulatory compliance of the entire nursing department, oversight of all treatments, documentation, medication, and compliance of medical systems throughout the agency’s 45 residences.
“Nursing isn’t just about the technical help we can provide, it’s about the compassion we show serving as a person’s advocate in any way that we can,” she explains. “Assisting in stabilizing a person, medically or psychiatrically, so that they can live a quality life is my greatest joy.”
Jessica’s passion for making a difference and offering the highest possible care to each and every person Life’s WORC supports is a quality that is recognized by others as well, most notably her colleagues. “Jessica is not only a skilled and talented nurse and leader, but her energy and positive attitude are contagious,” says John Pfeifer, Life’s WORC Assistant Executive Director of Residential Services. “Her attention to detail and expertise are of critical importance to the agency, but her passion and commitment are what truly make her an asset to Life’s WORC.”
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020, the nursing team faced numerous challenges, one of which was gaining access to enough pulse oximeters to ensure that each home had at least one on hand in case any residents came down with the virus – a tool that was in high demand and incredibly hard to come by. Jessica reached out to the agency’s pharmacy and was able to not only secure the pulse oximeters needed, but had them delivered directly to her home. She then personally delivered each and every one to make sure that they went directly to the nursing staff.
For these and so many other reasons, Jessica was recently nominated by her colleagues to be recognized as Nurse of the Month by the Long Island Nurses organization. We are proud to say that not only did Jessica win this meaningful award, but she was recognized in May, just in time for Nurse’s Week. We cannot think of a more deserving nurse for this honor.
In addition to her role as Nursing Administrator, Jessica is also a part of the New York State Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disability Nurses Association and the National Developmental Disability Nurses Association, broadening her reach as an inspired and passionate advocate for people with special needs.
As she puts it, “This isn’t just a career for me, I’m a lifer!”
We would like to thank Jessica for her commitment, leadership, and the care she extends to each and every person at Life’s WORC.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Life’s WORC, we will be sharing the stories, people and events that have made Life’s WORC the organization it is today, along with our goals and vision for the future. Thank you for celebrating with us!