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Jen ZellerJENNIFER ZELLER

DIRECTOR, ADVANCED PRACTICE PROVIDER SERVICES AND GENERAL SURGERY NURSE PRACTITIONER

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND ST. JOSEPH MEDICAL CENTER

After joining the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center in 2020 as manager and general and thoracic surgery nurse practitioner, Jennifer Zeller, DNP, CRNP,  was named director in January.

She previously worked for nearly eight years as a registered nurse at Mercy Medical Center and a general surgery nurse practitioner for six years at the University of Maryland Medical Center. Zeller holds a master’s and doctorate degree in nursing from the University of Maryland School of Nursing and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Villa Julie College.

What led you to go into your health care field? Was there a specific life experience?

It may sound cliché, but I have wanted to be a nurse since I was a little girl. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be a nurse. So going to nursing school after high school was an easy decision for me. Then as I gained experience and worked with nurse practitioners and physician assistants I realized that I wanted to be them when I grew up. I wanted to advance my practice and help people in a different way. And now, almost 20 years into my career, in my current role as Director of Advanced Practice, I have the honor of working with amazing nurse practitioners, physician assistants and nurse midwives every day as we provide compassionate care to the patients of Maryland and beyond.

What has been the most challenging part of the pandemic for you and how have you met that challenge?

I think for all of us the biggest challenge has been the unknown. The unknown is scary, especially when people are looking to you and your profession for answers. We weren’t sure how bad it was going to be, if we would have enough staff, or how we would manage surges in patient volume. But I like to think that UMSUMC pulled together and did what needed to be done to take care of the patients and our teams in the best way possible.

This is a winner profile from The Daily Record's Health Care Heroes awards. Information for this profile was sourced from the honoree's application for the award.