Jennifer Ballard

Jennifer Ballard, RN

Burn ICU
UC San Diego Health System
San Diego, California
United States

A young man was admitted to the Burn Center. He had 2nd and 3rd degree burns to 90% of his body except his face. He was 20 years old. His youth and circumstances of his burn made care especially difficult. Throughout his 1 1/2 year stay Jennifer was his advocate. The patient, family and staff celebrated his 21st birthday. After too many surgeries and procedures to count, pain management challenges and success and rehabilitation therapy the patient was ready for transfer to a rehabilitation facility to focus on activities of daily living. As the day of transfer grew nearer the patient’s anxiety began to manifest itself. Angry outbursts, refusal to eat, weeping and therapy non-compliance challenged all the providers. Jennifer never wavered in his support and caring. On the day of transfer Jennifer went with the patient. It was her day off but she wanted to ensure a smooth transition. Jennifer organized colleague “road trip” visits to Eric so he wouldn’t feel abandoned. The transition was successful. Today the patient is at home, achieving his activity goals and continues to mature in his recovery. This is an example of her commitment to patients and families.
Jennifer is a natural humorist, singer and dancer. To the delight of patients, families and staff her wit and charm is demonstrated through spontaneous arias – classic and rock, soft shoe shuffles, and photo antics. She can make the most depressed patient laugh out load.
Jennifer is also committed to universal health through her volunteer projects. She served on medical missions to Belize in 2006, 2007, and 2008. She worked for Project Medi-share in Haiti in May 2010 and is scheduled to return this December. For all these events Jennifer has used her personal time and organizes resources to enrich the lives of those she serves on these volunteer missions.
As a professional nurse with passion for new knowledge and sharing knowledge Jen has s 11 presentations at the American Association of Neurosciences and 2 articles. Jennifer is also the primary PI for her IRB project investigating early warning signs of patient distress for the novice practitioner.