Jessica Alford
January 2022
Surgical Trauma ICU/IMU
University of Virginia Health
United States




Jess loves what she does and it is apparent in the way that she manages our unit.
After accepting her position as manager of our unit, Jessica had a lot of work to do. Morale was down, 75% of the staff had resigned, and everyone else was burnt out and considering leaving. But she faced the challenge head-on and has completely transformed the atmosphere on 5 North. Staff is happy to be at work again, travelers have chosen to stay, and old employees have even returned. Everyone is comfortable approaching her with concerns, she has an open door policy, and never judges anyone when they ask for help or need to have a difficult conversation.

Jess transitioned from assistant manager to manager while I was on maternity leave. She helped me navigate returning on an adjusted schedule and was incredibly flexible with scheduling in order to ensure that I could make it work. Right off the bat, this small act made me feel valued as an employee. I was excited to come back. Once I did, we were still short staffed but I could already notice the changes in our unit. She has worked tirelessly to rebuild our staffing and morale. She is constantly seeking feedback on areas for improvement within the unit and puts plans into action to address concerns.

Jess has encouraged me to take on precepting new nurses, look into obtaining my PCCN, and begin thinking about training for a charge nurse position. Taking these steps to develop professionally used to scare me, but with her support, it has been easy. Jess loves what she does and it is apparent in the way that she manages our unit. I can truly say that I will stay on 5 North in some capacity as long as she is our manager, and would try to follow her to another unit if she chose to leave. She is by far the most incredible manager I have ever had and 5 North is lucky to have her.