Night Nurse Learned Patient Care From “The Other Side”

In and out of the hospital with health complications taught Jason Keller a lot about bedside manner. At two weeks old he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that compromises the respiratory system.

“Even though it’s a lung disease, my issues have been more G.I. (Gastro-intestinal) related,” said Keller, a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan who has been a nurse for five years and worked as a tech before that with IU Health. His cousin was also diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

“Since college I’ve been hospitalized about seven times with issues, but I honestly don’t have it as bad as my cousin,” said Keller, who takes pancreatic enzyme therapy and multi-vitamins to help control symptoms.

As a charge nurse, he doesn’t let his diagnosis slow him down. His role requires him to manage the floor, handling issues that may arise ranging from patient satisfaction to nurse staffing.

“Being a patient has made me a better nurse. I can definitely relate more to their side of things and I can also see things from their side. It helps me better understand their perceptions of their nurses and caregivers,” said Keller, 30.

Here are a few more things about Keller:

He listens to music to relax. On his playlist: “It’s a whole mix of things. If you hit ‘shuffle’ on my playlist you get anything from Contemporary Christian to 80s rock and even some Disney songs and rap. If it’s interesting to me I don’t care where it comes from.”

Tough Patient Situation: “Questions from patients’ roommates. When there is an emergency and they ask what is going on, I try to assure them but I still need to maintain patient confidentiality.”

What makes you a good nurse? “I Try to prioritize and maintain patient satisfaction. I’m calm and I’m a big picture person. You can’t focus on one thing. You have to focus on the whole patient.”

How would your peers describe you? “I’m constantly playing pranks and joking because I try to keep everyone in a good mood and keep the atmosphere happy. They know my caring side so they know that having a good sense of humor doesn’t mean you can’t be direct and get the job done. I’m also an encourager and motivator. When someone is new, I don’t like to hold hands – I will help him or her and teach them but I want them to learn and to have confidence. They may not like it at the time but they will thank me later.”

About Working The Night Shift: “I’ve worked nights since college and I love it. I enjoy the atmosphere and the people. I think we are required to be more resourceful and more independent because there aren’t a lot of extra hands. We really rely on our skills and work as a team.”

-- By T.J. Banes, Associate Senior Journalist at IU Health.
   Reach Banes via email at
 T.J. Banes or on Twitter @tjbanes.


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