Natural Science Alumni

 

Jillian Smith
Jillian Smith ’12

 

Current occupation

Pediatric nurse practitioner, primary care (RN, MSN, CPNP-PC) at Plateau Pediatrics, Crossville TN.

 

Current residence

Crossville, TN

 

Church

First Presbyterian Church, Crossville, TN

 

What were you involved in on-campus while at Covenant?

International Justice Mission, ultimate Frisbee club.

 

What has your career path looked like since leaving Covenant?

After I left Covenant I moved to Nashville, TN, to complete my master of science in nursing degree at Vanderbilt University. I graduated from Vanderbilt in August 2014. I then took my board exams to become a pediatric nurse practitioner. I completed my final clinical rotation for Vandy at a pediatric clinic in Crossville, TN, Plateau Pediatrics. I was offered a job there and moved to Crossville in August 2014 after graduation.

 

What is your favorite part of your job? What gets you excited to go to work every day?

Every day I get to be a part of the lives of children and their families. I love working in primary care (as opposed to a hospital setting), because I get to be a part of their lives on a long-term basis, from the time a child is born until they turn 21. As a nurse practitioner, people trust me to care for their children. They also trust me with very private and painful parts of their lives. I work in a very rural setting. Many of my patients come from broken homes and hopeless situations. This often feels overwhelming but I have countless opportunities to show these hurting people the love of Christ and the value that holds for them.

The other part I love is that I get paid to study and work with the human body. It’s something that will never cease to amaze me. I am always learning something new and being challenged. And I get to work with others who are as passionate about this as I am. I am so thankful to be surrounded and supported by other talented and passionate doctors, nurse practitioners, and nurses. I literally get paid to do what I love with my friends.

 

How did Covenant prepare you as a person and how did it prepare you for your career?

At a very basic level, the quality of education I got through Covenant’s biology department was phenomenal. I felt well prepared for Vanderbilt and performed equally as well or better than many of my classmates there. At a greater level, I can truly say that my professors at Covenant, especially Dr. Morris, Dr. Wenger, and Dr. Nelson, are some of the most brilliant and gifted teachers I’ve ever had. My bio classes at Covenant were incredibly difficult. However, these professors taught me how to approach creation, even at a cellular level, as a reflection of the One who created it. Dr. Morris taught me to approach each human being as an embodied image bearer of Christ. This is something that revolutionizes the way I approach each of my patients. They’re not just another person or a collection of cells, but someone who bears the image of Christ. Covenant helped lay that foundation for me.

I was part of the Wilberforce Scholarship program while at Covenant and through that program, I was provided with spiritual mentoring as well as internship opportunities in my field of interest. This program has been integral in getting me to where I am today. This is not only because I had great internships but also because I got to spend time with people like Frank Brock, Tim Morris, and my mentoring committee in Dalton, GA. In the Wilberforce program, we were pushed to follow in the steps of William Wilberforce, who was integral in ending slavery in the British Empire. I can’t say that I’ve done anything nearly as impressive, world changing, or inspiring as ending slavery. However, I can say that in my small corner of the world in Crossville, TN, I’m trying to follow the Lord in the mundane, showing one patient at a time that they are precious and loved by their Creator. And that’s what Covenant is about: “In all things Christ preeminent.” Even in the seemingly mundane.

 

Tell us a little more about your involvement with your church.

I’ve only been in my current city, at my current church, for a few months. However, I am currently in the process of becoming a member. I am also a part of a young adult book study led by one of our elders and will be joining a small group. I am also hoping, in the near future, to be a part of our church’s partnership and ministry with the local crisis pregnancy center.

 

 


 

Meet More Natural Science Alumni:

 

Emily Somerville '05 describes the journey to her career in occupational therapy and reflects on how her professors made it all possible.