TMCC College News

Janice Peters: Nurse of the Year

Posted: Jul 23, 2014

Janice Peters Image

Janice Peters stands behind a congratulatory banner at Saint Mary's Regional Medical Center.

For dedication to her patients and caregiving excellence, Truckee Meadows Community College alumna Janice Peters, R.N., has received the Nurse of the Year award at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

Peters graduated from TMCC in May 2012. She then entered the competitive Transition to Practice program at Saint Mary’s that September. The program provides an additional year of classroom training and simulations to about 12 nurses accepted into each cohort.

She cares for cancer patients at Saint Mary’s.

“Whatever I’ve accomplished, I also credit the team of nurses who I’ve learned from and who are the best,” Peters said. “They’ve been an incredible source of support during the start of my career.”

Peters said she has learned much more than quantifiable skills from her teammates.

“As a nurse, you need to have empathy for patients and their families, and never show stress on your face,” Peters said. “You also think about a sense of good customer service.”

She emphasizes that nurses can continually refine the quality with which they listen to patients, striving to understand what they would like to communicate.

“Listen to patients to find out what they need most; whether they want to fight cancer until the end, or that they need to tell their family they want to give up the fight,” Peters said. “Patient advocacy is very important at the most difficult time in someone’s life and in the life of their family.”

When Peters attended the award dinner at John Ascuaga’s Nugget, she did not know that she had won the Nurse of the Year award until being called up to the stage. She was presented the certificate and stand-up plaque by the Chief of Nursing and the CEO of Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center. A large banner with her name is mounted on the raised walkway of the hospital’s outside fountain plaza.

Peters relocated to Reno to start a new life and become a nurse

Before starting at TMCC, Peters lived in the Bay Area. To enter nursing programs in California, students typically were picked by drawing, not academic qualifications, Peters said. She heard about the well-respected nursing program at TMCC, and was also assisted by the at the college.

Peters is raising a daughter, and her child is her first priority. Re-Entry supported her small family with services such as career counseling and finding quality child care.

“Because of the Re-Entry Center, I was able to go back for my degree,” Peters said. “Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to go back to school.”

College was challenging, but Peters found her life’s work

“It was a tough program, but my training absolutely prepared me,” Peters said. “My clinicals, the times spent in the hospital, were motivating. I learned so much from my clinical instructors. We did further research on the disease process, learned to understand complex lab work, and really got to know the patients; how they were feeling.”

Another skill Peters learned in TMCC’s Nursing Program was to react with accuracy, but without delay.

“You’ve got to think quickly on your feet and react to stressful situations,” Peters said.

Now that she has been a professional nurse for a couple of years, Peters recognizes to an even greater degree the strength of the program at TMCC. She also feels a sense of appreciation that she was able to find during her clinical studies exactly the area of practice she wanted to specialize in.

“TMCC produces very strong nurses,” Peters said. “I had the opportunity to do clinicals in the unit I was eventually hired into. I’m learning from the best and most experienced nurses for whom I could ever hope to be mentored.”

Most of her colleagues have between five and 15 years of experience in oncology care.

“We work so well together as a team and have a camaraderie,” Peters said. “I was hired into my dream job right out of school.”

Northern Nevada Nurses of Achievement

Peters won an award for clinical excellence as a second year nursing student at TMCC. But she didn’t expect to receive a Rookie of the Year award at Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center just 10 months into the start of her career.

The award is given by the Northern Nevada Nurses of Achievement, a committee of nurses from the region who formed the group in 1999. They have honored hundreds of nurses and awarded more than $114,000 in scholarships.

After nurses are nominated by colleagues at their facility, nominees write three essay-style responses to questions such as, “What makes you a role model as a nurse?”

The hospitals evaluate both the nominations and essays. After careful deliberation, the board at each institution decides on award winners in categories including:

  • Advanced Practice
  • Community/Behavioral Care
  • Education
  • Innovation
  • Leadership
  • Lifetime Achievement
  • LPN
  • Long-Term Care/Rehabilitation
  • Maternal/Child
  • Medical-Surgical
  • Nurse of the Year at each hospital
  • Office/Outpatient
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Rookie of the Year

The regional awards in Northern Nevada are celebrated during American Hospital Association (AHA) National Hospital Week in May.

Peters looks forward after developing rich life experiences

Peters’ next goal is to become an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN) by the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) in Biotherapy and Chemotherapy. The ONS offers the self-study program online. Nurses then complete an exam following the Web-based courses.

When asked about what is the most fulfilling part of being a nurse, Peters speaks philosophically about the depth and significance of the life cycle.

“There are nurses who are gifted with helping to bring people into the world, and nurses that are gifted to help people leave this world; a different transition of life,” Peters said.

More information about The Maxine S. Jacobs Nursing Program can be found on the .

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TMCC's Public Information Office
Telephone: 775-673-7087

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