Jessica Huber Combines a Love for Teaching and Nursing at Carlow University

Jessica Huber, PhD, RNC, CRN, CPN, loves nursing and teaching, so it’s no surprise that her professional world combines both of her loves.

“In the hospital, I love teaching parents how to care for their child,” said Huber, who is in her 18th year working in the Pediatric ICU at UPMC Children’s Hospital and is also an assistant professor and director of experiential learning at Carlow University. “I also love teaching nursing students.”

Perhaps the critical test of any educational program is whether the professor would hire the student if given the opportunity. Huber easily passes that test.

“I have Carlow alumni who work with me,” she said. “I love to see my students do well. Every nursing school can teach the technical skills, but Carlow does an excellent job of teaching compassion, too.”

Huber grew up around nursing as her father is an operating room nurse.

“He would take me to work with him on ‘Take Your Kid to Work Day,’” she recalls. “I can’t say that he pushed me into nursing, but when I told him that that’s what I wanted to be, he would never try to talk me out of it.”

Huber earned her bachelor’s degree at LaRoche University, her MSN at Carlow, and her PhD at Robert Morris University. LaRoche recently honored her with their Distinguished Alumni Circle Award Recipient award.

“It was unexpected and a great honor. A friend nominated me, but I didn’t learn about it until I received a letter in the mail,” she said. “I do this job because I love it, not for recognition, but it’s nice to know when other people notice.”

In addition to nursing, Huber volunteers as the co-chair of Camp Inspire, a camp for children requiring some sort of tracheostomy or ventilator support held annually at The Woodlands, a handicap accessible camp, in Pittsburgh’s North Hills.  The children get to meet other children with tracheostomies and participate in activities that they may not have the opportunity to do otherwise.

“The children get to meet other children with trachs, which can be a big deal for them to find out there are other kids like them,” she said. “It’s nice to see them away from the hospital having fun and enjoying themselves.”

She also enlists Carlow students to help with Camp Inspire. Those volunteer opportunities help the students see another side to nursing, too.

“There are so many things that you can do with a nursing degree,” Huber said. “Students may find a specialty that they love right away, but, even if they don’t love something immediately, that’s okay. It helps them discover what they like and don’t like.”

One thing that she always cautions her students about is to make sure that they enter the field of nursing for the right reasons.

“Nursing can be a rewarding profession in many ways, not just financially,” she said. “However, you don’t do this job for the money. You do it because you want to help people.”

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