Jocelyn Miel
October 2022
4 East Adult Psychiatry
Stewart and Lynda Resnick Neuropsychiatric Hospital at UCLA
Los Angeles
United States




Thirty-two years later, with rain boots on or not, you can still find her assisting patients in the shower- her passion to provide the best care has not changed.
Jocelyn Miel is one of the reasons I am the nurse that I am today. As a young(ish) new grad 20+ years ago, I was looking for inspiration, leadership, and direction from someone more experienced in my unit. I’m so thankful now that I received all three – in abundance – from Jocelyn back then. In her, I immediately saw the nurse that I aspired to be. She was confident but reserved in her practice, willingly accepted the most difficult or challenging patients, and easily related to physicians and her fellow staff on all levels.

The impact that she has had on her patients, their families, and her colleagues and co-workers when she first started at Resnick NPH over 32 years ago is difficult to overestimate. When considered in its totality, her career has spanned hundreds of patients, thousands of family members, and dozens of new grad preceptees. Despite those career numbers, her approach to patient care over time has not faltered or become jaded but has, in fact, only improved – like fine wine in its maturity.

As a new grad, I immediately understood that the nursing role – as it was practiced in an actual hospital by actual nurses – was grounded more in a shared humanity with our patients than our coursework might have indicated. I learned those lessons most intimately from Jocelyn. From her, I learned that caring for psychiatric patients requires a much more subtle approach than simply following intervention guidelines.

As an example, one of my very first patients as an RN was an elderly woman who suffered from major depression and was being treated with ECT. This patient needed our help to maintain her personal hygiene and her activities of daily living. I was having difficulty getting her to shower and asked Jocelyn for help. Within the hour, Jocelyn had established a rapport with the patient, had gotten her trust, and had seen her indicate a willingness to shower in advance of a visit from some of her family members. Unfortunately, this patient’s illness was so profound that minutes later she again began to show a reluctance to shower on her own. Unbowed and resolute, Jocelyn gently guided the patient into the shower (even stepping into the shower herself) and helped her through this necessary activity of daily living. In nursing school, we’re taught that a bath generally equates to a sponge bath. In psych, a bath means a bath! Even as a young nurse (this was 20 years ago), Jocelyn saw past this patient’s illness, looked past her status as simply a patient, and saw her as simply a person who needed her help.

I learned a great deal from that simple yet profound lesson that day. First, our patients are people who are not defined by their illness but are fully faceted, complex beings who have lives, personal histories, and needs and wants – just as we all do. Nurses (like Jocelyn) who remember that and mold their practice around those central tenets can elevate their practice and can absolutely make a difference in their patient’s lives. Second, when Jocelyn asked the nurse manager in our unit that day for rain boots, I understood that transformational leadership can manifest itself in persistently impactful and in the least expected ways (using rain boots to easily get into the shower with patients without getting your shoes wet!).

A colleague of 25 years recently described how her medical skills are on near equal par with her psychiatric skills. While working in 4 North, she was caring for a dementia patient who had just finished ECT. This patient was awake and oriented but a sudden change in affect prompted her to action. She quickly positioned the patient in his geriatric chair while simultaneously directing nearby staff to get the ER cart. She remained with the patient while also directing other staff to call for emergency assistance and the doctor. We later learned this patient had suffered a stroke. His outcome would have been considerably different had it not been for Jocelyn’s exacting attention to this patient’s presentation.
Jocelyn’s approach to recognizing the inherent humanity in her patients despite the ravages of their various illnesses is one that has remained consistent throughout her career. Many of her patients over the years have shown a tendency toward violence – the kind of violence not born from hatred or animosity, but from illness, confusion, and despair. I have personally witnessed Jocelyn quickly establish a therapeutic relationship with patients two and three times her age because of her singularly unique approach to conversational care. I have also personally seen patients who – in the confusion that comes from dementia – violently lash out at her at times when she is most vulnerable (due to the position her body happened to be in while providing care). I have seen her take fists to the face so abruptly that she was knocked off her feet. Despite these often difficult patients, her personality and her approach to care remain consistent, calm, and in control. She understands how to diffuse the confusion (and violence that can result from that confusion) in her patients and can bring them back to a normal affect quicker and more gently than any nurse I have ever seen. She draws upon her many years of experience in treating these therapeutically challenging patients in order to quickly find something about their backgrounds (music, memories, family members) that often sets the tone for continued meaningful interaction and goal setting.

Jocelyn’s patients – many of whom suffer from profound and debilitating psychiatric illnesses – are also well aware of her nursing strengths and abilities. She is well-regarded by patients and their families – many of whom often take the time to write and call after discharge to specifically thank her for the care she provided to them. One specific patient wrote to Jocelyn to thank her in the most heartfelt and touching ways for the care she provided to him. This patient wrote that Jocelyn made him feel “human” in a hospital environment that can often feel sterile and lonely. He wrote that she (is) “an angel sent from above,” that her care offered him hope for his future, and that his “life looks a lot brighter” because of the care she gave him.

On a practical level, Jocelyn is one of the most reliable nurses I have ever had the pleasure to work with. She doesn’t shrink from being assigned the most “difficult” patients and can always be counted upon to work not only her assigned shift but to also cover for others when needed. She is a skilled preceptor and has trained many past residents in psychiatry– including some who are now attending MDs who love her dearly. She regularly (and effortlessly) acts as a conduit between medical disciplines on the floor to ensure her patients are receiving the highest quality of cross-disciplinary care possible. In addition, Jocelyn is also a big proponent of unit initiatives and performance improvement projects- from fall prevention to reducing the use of 1:1 supervision on the unit. She regularly teaches the use of medical equipment to new hires during orientation. In fact, one of her many nicknames is the Accu- Check Queen- she has been training staff from different units to be the champion and expert to pass on the knowledge she has acquired throughout the years.

Thirty-two years later, with rain boots on or not, you can still find her assisting patients in the shower- her passion to provide the best care has not changed! She is eager to help her fellow nurses experience the same passion and motivation to provide the best care possible whether you are a novice or an experienced nurse coming in to join the Resnick team. I truly believe that Jocelyn is the ultimate DAISY honoree and deserving of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

To quote one of her colleagues- “If someone asks me to describe a DAISY Nurse in one word, I would say Jocelyn”.