Novant Health Rowan Medical Center nurse chosen among top 100 in state

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 3, 2017

Of all the nurses who provide patient care across North Carolina, only a small percentage make the Great 100 list.

Jill McNeely, a clinical breast health nurse navigator at Novant Health Rowan Medical Center, is one of them.

The Great 100 annually acknowledges North Carolina nurses for excellence in patient care and dedication to the nursing profession. McNeely was selected for the Great 100 based on her professional abilities and commitment to improving health care in Rowan County.  

“Jill embodies the profession of nursing through her compassion, knowledge, commitment and advocacy for breast cancer patients in our community,” said Cora Greene, senior director and chief nursing officer at Rowan Medical Center, who nominated McNeely. “For years, the Great 100 has been known for being the most prominent nursing award in North Carolina, and I congratulate Jill for being included in such a notable group.”    

As a breast health nurse navigator for the past seven years of her 42-year nursing career, McNeely is part of a rapidly growing field of patient advocates who steer patients through what can be a confusing maze after a breast cancer diagnosis.

McNeely wears many nursing caps — sometimes all of them at once. She is the care coordinator throughout each patient’s breast cancer treatment, assessing the barriers and the physical, psychological and social needs along the way.

She also is an educator on the early detection of breast disease, a public advocate for the needs of breast cancer patients and a nurse educator for other medical staff members in understanding breast disease.    

McNeely’s commitment to nursing does not stop at the hospital door. She participates in community outreach and support groups. She has served as the Rowan County chairwoman for the Susan G. Komen Pink Sunday and co-chairwoman of the county Relay for Life teams. She is currently the nursing representative for the local Living in Pink Breast Cancer support group and facilitator for the American Cancer Society’s Look Good, Feel Better program.    

McNeely said she enjoys her work as a breast health navigator and cannot imagine her life without her breast cancer patients, but she wishes with all her heart that it was a role that is no longer needed.

“I absolutely love being a nurse,” she said. “I try to treat all of my patients as if they were my own family members, and the more time you spend with them, the more like family they become.”

McNeely will be honored alongside the other nominees Oct. 14 during the 2017 Great 100 gala at the Concord Convention Center.