As part of our commitment to continuing education, our healthcare division offers clinical support to our working school nurses to ensure that they continue to learn and grow in an evolving work environment.
We provide each nurse with a clinical supervisor who collaboratively works with them to follow the most current school policies and procedures, stay up-to-date on changing documentation requirements, and develop new skills for career advancement.
We’d like you to meet our supervisor, Jewel Thomas-Carrington, RN, who has over 18 years of experience working in the nursing field!
Who are you?
I was born in Trinidad, but grew up living between the U.S. and the U.K. When I was 19 and living in London, I followed in my mom’s footsteps and started working at a hospital. I started off as a Nurse’s Aide and Aux Nurse. Eventually, my mom, who is a nurse, decided to move to the United States and be a professor at a nursing school. I decided to come two years later. My original plan was to go to law school and work in law, but when I came to New York, I got back into nursing. I decided to go for my Nursing degree, became a Nurse, and have been living here on Staten Island with my husband, three kids, and two dogs ever since. I like to think of myself as a bit of a world traveler. I’ve lived in three, very different places and each one has helped shape the person I’ve become today.
Who were your heroes / inspirations growing up?
I’m not the type of person to be inspired by strangers or celebrities. You never know what’s real and true with them. People you know, like friends and family, whose journeys and accomplishments you can see firsthand are the people who I think truly inspire and make an impact. And that’s why my mom is my major source of inspiration and my hero. Growing up, I saw her persevere through life’s hardships. She became a nurse her 40s, after a long career as a teacher. She continued studying and got her Bachelor and Master’s. This is a woman who had an upbringing with no electricity and was doing her homework by candlelight. Nothing about her would make you think she came from such humble beginnings. Because of her, I decided to become a nurse in my late 20s. I’m teaching myself new things every day because of her. All my drive and motivation came from her. She’s just an absolute superstar. And I think I need to tell her that more. What I took away from her is that you can do whatever you want at any time in your life, no matter your circumstances.
What is the most ideal lunch for a busy nurse?
Ideally, coffee. Tons and tons of coffee and that’s it. Ha-ha, let me stop. When you think of nurses, you might think of Grey’s Anatomy and them running for code blue. But nursing is so versatile. My last job was home-based, and I have also previously worked in administration. I didn’t have the “typical nurse” day, so I was never running. So, for a typical nurse, it would have to be something nutritious and hydrating. Also, something you can quickly snack on. Nuts and carbs are good. Salads are great, but they take some time to eat. Anything that is grab and go.
In your opinion, what would be the most ideal superpower for a nurse?
The power to heal! How could you not want that power as a nurse? We are nurturing and caring for people at their lowest points of their lives. If I had the power to heal, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally, I’d take that power. To be honest, I know we’d become redundant, and my career and the industry would be over, but hey, I’ll take it. Anything to speed up the healing process. That’s what I have to go with.
What music do you throw on in the morning to get you motivated for the day?
I’m going to sound boring, but I tend to throw on anxiety relieving music. I want to say something exciting, so maybe I should lie. I just need something help me focus and gather my thoughts for the day. Binary beats, delta waves, or meditating music. Sometimes I even listen to nature sounds or the sounds of water. Oh man, I know I sound so corny right now, but it really does help! If I listen to something too upbeat or commercial, it just jumbles my thoughts. So give me some peaceful flutes or sounds of the forest to start off my day. I’ll listen to the other stuff later!
What appealed to you about working for our company and with the DOE?
You want to know something funny? I’ve been trying to work for the company for so long! My mom works as a DOE Nurse, and gave me all this information about it, so I tried reaching out about potential opportunities and I guess the stars didn’t align. But one day I felt motivated and decided to reach out to one of my mom’s contacts directly. I was pregnant with my son, and I was reaching the point where working in-person was becoming difficult, especially during the pandemic. I asked her if there were any work from home jobs that the company was offering, and she said they had one that supervisory role. She told me about it and it was exactly what I was looking for. You know, some nurses would turn a job down if they’re not in the thick of things or working bedside with patients. Not me. I feel like I was meant for this role. Can I say one thing about this company? It’s one of the best I’ve ever worked for. I love every person I’m in contact with!
What’s a regular day look like for you?
I start at 8 in the morning every day. Between the hours of eight and noon, I’m usually handling all the texts and calls from nurses. Some need more support than others, so I do my best to help each one individually in the best way possible. I’m also simultaneously doing training throughout the week for all the nurses working for the DOE. I train them on what to do in the schools and how to deal with certain situations. And, of course, while I’m doing all this, I’m obviously a WFH mom, so that’s a whole different aspect to the workday. Working while raising kids during this COVID situation has been quite the ride, but us moms get it done. It’s all tough work, but I love it.
What is your guilty pleasure tv show to binge when you have some free time?
Anime! Anything anime-related! Yes, I know I am a grown woman, but it doesn’t matter. I truly love all the anime shows – Japanese anime preferably. But you know, anything that’s fantasy. I like shows like that. Reality is just too much sometimes, so it’s a good form of escapism. I think it’s necessary to have some of that in your life. Everyone should.
What’s the best advice for someone who wants to be a School Nurse?
Let’s see. If I’m telling someone what the benefits of being a School Nurse are, I always say, you work Monday to Friday and no weekends. [insert 30 seconds of laugher]. But seriously, I always tell them that you can’t have any of the typical expectations you’d have. You’re not running to codes or anything like that.
If you’re not able to deal with children or adolescents (especially preteens, teenagers, and all those issues that come with those stages in life), then maybe this isn’t for you. It’s a down to earth sort of parental role. But you also have to be comfortable and confident with yourself and your abilities as a nurse. At the end of the day, you’re mostly working on your own so the best advice I can give is to be confident and comfortable with yourself and your abilities as a nurse.
What’s the best slice of pizza in New York City?
I usually go for a plain cheese pizza or sometimes even a good broccoli slice. But my favorite spot is Frank’s on Staten Island. Their Buffalo Chicken slice, oh lord have mercy! It honestly might be the devil’s work because once you buy one slice, you just can’t stop eating it and you’ll need another soon after. It’s got the best buffalo sauce ever and is so cheesy. I love it. I try not to have it too much though, but it is that good!
What are your goals for the rest of 2022?
First and foremost, surviving whatever 2022 has to throw at us. But mostly being the best person I can be, especially professionally. One of my main goals is to finish up my Master’s Degree as a Nurse Practitioner so that I can be a better employee. I want to be the best possible guide for the nurses we employ and be an excellent resource for our company by extending my clinical knowledge.