Doctoral alumna discusses personal, professional growth

Jacquie DeMellow, an alumna of the Doctor of Philosophy Class of 2018, says her doctoral degree makes a difference as she manages critical care in the Central Valley.

Jacquie DeMellow admits she never saw herself in her current role today. But she attributes her professional success and personal growth to her four years at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis.

Before earning a doctoral degree, DeMellow served as a clinical nurse specialist for adult critical care. Now, as director of quality at St Joseph’s Medical Center in Stockton, California, and division lead for quality with Common Spirit Health, DeMellow designs, coordinates, implements and manages performance improvement efforts at five Central California DignityHealth hospitals. She leads the strategies that affect her organization’s operations and strategic direction.

Jacquie DeMellow
Jacquie DeMellow, a 2018 graduate of the School of Nursing doctoral program, said her doctoral education provided her the knowledge needed to develop an inpatient dashboard for her hospital during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

“In 2014, I could never have imagined being in this position today,” said DeMellow, a 2018 alumna of the Doctor of Philosophy program. “Being in the program gave us an opportunity to make a case for why something is important to do, convince people how to have crucial conversations and then bring people together.”

DeMellow also credits the doctoral program with equipping her with the statistical and analytical skills she uses every day in her work and research.

“I thought I knew how to read literature and research studies, but I learned so much about how to interpret studies, analyze what was in them, then synthesize the findings and write about it so people really understood,” DeMellow explained. “And now I know how to handle a large database, to extract information from medical records, then take the data and tell a story to demonstrate why something is important. This has been particularly valuable while developing an inpatient dashboard during our COVID-19 pandemic.”

DeMellow conducted her dissertation work on improving health outcomes in critical care units. She has published in journals, including Intensive and Critical Care Nursing, her work on how electronic health records can be used to automate data collection and increase efficiency to drive improvement in evidence-based practice. Having personally experienced the transformative power of earning a PhD, she encourages others to pursue the advanced degree as well.

“We need more nurse scientists out in the field and in acute care facilities. Not just faculty, but also boots on the ground,” she said. “The program of study gives you tools that you can translate into your work every day that can help your facility, your administration and your leadership team to understand what's important, what is improving and what needs more emphasis.”

DeMellow enjoys her abilities to lead, problem solve and improve health care. She also appreciates the personal transformation as well.

“I thought I knew everything, but, but when I started the program, I realized there's so much more out there,” DeMellow said. “It helped develop me into the person that I am today.”