Nursing alumna, OR nurse followed in family’s footsteps
Monday, November 11, 2013

Name: Jennifer Ortega
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, ’06, and currently pursuing Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Family Nurse Practitioner program
Occupation: Registered Nurse in the operating room at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City.
Residence: North Liberty, Iowa

Map of Iowa highlighting Johnson County

North Liberty is in Johnson County, Iowa, which includes:

23,923 UI alumni
2,154 UI-educated teachers and school administrators
588 UI-educated physicians
132 UI-educated dentists
223 UI-educated pharmacists

Additionally, last year an estimated 63,016 Johnson County residents received services through UI Outreach Specialty Clinics and UI Home Care, a visiting nursing program.

Source: UI Outreach site

Jennifer Ortega knew growing up in Cedar Rapids that she wanted to attend the University of Iowa. Five older half-siblings all attended the UI—and so did her mom, who graduated with a master’s degree in higher education.

“I guess you can say that being a Hawkeye is in my blood,” says Ortega.

And how. Not only did Ortega complete a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing at the UI in 2006, but she’s currently pursuing a doctorate of Nursing Practice in the UI Family Nurse Practitioner program with the goal of completion in May 2017. Today, she’s a registered nurse in the operating room at Mercy Hospital in Iowa City.

She says she has so many good memories about her Iowa experience that it’s hard to narrow them down to a few.

“Fond memories include the many friends I have made from the dorms and classes, and attending the Capital One Bowl, where the Hawkeyes won in the last second,” she says. “My employment with the Admissions Visitors Center and Orientation Services at the University of Iowa helped establish leadership and communication skills that I use on a daily basis as a nurse.”

She says she was also involved with lots of extracurricular activities as an undergraduate that helped develop her time management skills she’s now using in graduate school.

“I am grateful for my experiences at the University of Iowa, where I was provided the tools to be successful in my community and career,” she says.

In addition to working a full-time job while attending graduate school, Ortega is passing along her love of nursing—and of the university—to aspiring and recently graduated nursing/science students as a mentor through the UI’s Women in Science and Engineering program, as well as to undergraduate nursing students.

Previously, she was a member of the Iowa City/Coralville Jaycees and volunteered at the Iowa City Free Medical Clinic.

“When I do find time for fun, I play competitive tennis and softball and participate in local road races,” she says. She can also be found cheering for the Hawkeyes at football and basketball games.

For Ortega, though, Hawkeye spirit is about more than sports.

“There is prestige that is associated with graduating from one of the top nursing schools in the country, and I am proud to say that I graduated from the University of Iowa,” she says. “Being a Hawkeye also means having passion for the school and bleeding black and gold!”

Did you know? University of Iowa College of Nursing alumni work in all of Iowa's 99 counties.

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