This archived article was written by: Jessica Barton
“Technical skill, clear instruction, encouragement, demonstrates compassionated nursing care and inspires that in her students,” words used by CEU student Ann Hribal to describe her nursing clinical instructor, Jennifer Decker or, as she likes to be called, Jenny.
Hribal describes Decker as one of the best instructors she’s had, yet, this is Decker’s first teaching job. Although she’s had years of experience instructing others at various nursing homes throughout the Salt Lake Valley. She also teaches crocheting and is a primary and Sunday school teacher. In her work at the nursing homes, including working as the director of staff development at Rocky Mountain Care in Bountiful and the assistant director of nursing at the Bountiful Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, she discovered a love for providing Alzheimer’s care because every minute was different with every patient.
She has helped many a patient through her work. She has worked as an RN in the Castle Country Clinic and the Castle Country Care center in Price, as well as several flu clinics, Christus St. Joseph Villa and the Logan Nursing and Rehabilitation Center. She has also been involved with running health fairs and used her crocheting talent to help with the Hyperemesis Research Foundation through Joshua Blankets, in which she formed a support group for new moms by making over 60 baby blankets, and by making bereavement blankets for mothers who have lost a baby. She likes a challenge.
She has found a challenge at CEU as the newest addition to the nursing program staff teaching nursing 1030 and nursing 2030. She says she, “learns more and more everyday” and she is a little insecure about being challenging enough, but loves being with her students in a classroom enviroment.
She has already learned plenty and has earned her associate of science in nursing at Weber State University/Utah State University cooperative in Logan, Utah in 1993. She then went on to earn her bachelor of science in nursing at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah in 2001.
When she is not teaching students how to perform various medical tasks, she loves being with her family; a husband of 13 years who brings her lunch to her office, and her five children. Her oldest son just turned 13, who babysits the others, at 10, 5, 3, and 1. She’s got a full house with them and her talking birds, two cockatiels and a parrot, who laughs and tells the other pets, a dog, a turtle and some fish to “shut up.”
Between home life, teaching and trying to earn her master’s degree in nursing education at the St. Joseph’s College of Maine, Decker hardly ever has time for herself. But when she does, she loves to curl up and escape into a fantasy or a mystery novel.
She also likes to watch the X-Files, Star Wars, the Harry Potter movies and Pirates of the Carribean while indulging with some delicious chocolate. Her favorite activity is creating mastepieces with her crochet hook and yarn. She relaxes to both new age and old fashioned music such as Yanni, Kenny G and Styx.
Of course sometimes she can’t get away and does things with her family. They travel to her hometown of Logan and took a trip back East to the Illinois and Missouri area. She likes to travel and even hitchhiked once.
Gone are the days of old, crabby nursing teachers. Young 34-year-old Decker is here to make her students into the finest nurses in Carbon County. Decker explains that nursing is a great profession to go into. It has a high salary rate and there will always be a need for nurses-which also means there will always be a need for someone to train those nurses. And if they are all as lively and have as much of a love for teaching as Decker, then the future of nursing is a bright one.