Nursing alumna wins award for exceptional management and care

February 17, 2011

Bradley alumna Jennifer Snow Tinajero’s motto is “perception is reality.” Now her patients’ and staffs’ perception of her as an able administrator and a caring nurse has been realized in the form of the George Hoag Pride Award.

Tinajero is the pulmonary floor nursing director at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach, California. The Hoag Pride Award is presented annually to members of the Hoag staff who demonstrate excellent performance and dedication to the hospital’s mission. Tinajero and the other recipients will receive the award at a banquet on March 25.

Tinajero grew up in Beecher, Illinois, and graduated from Marian Catholic High School before attending Bradley. She participated in a scholarship program through Methodist Medical Center and worked as a nursing assistant there during her time at Bradley. In her sophomore year, she also became involved with Sigma Kappa sorority and participated in much of the sorority’s charitable work with the Alzheimer’s Association. She graduated in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in nursing and worked as a resident nurse at Methodist for one year before moving to California with her husband, Sal, whom she met at Bradley.

In California, she found work at Hoag Memorial as a nightshift nurse on the pulmonary floor. She soon became a charge nurse and eventually became the nursing director for the floor. She has also worked as a school nurse at Santa Ana Unified School District. She currently oversees more than eighty employees and manages the budget, directs the hiring of staff, and maintains the quality of patient care.

As nursing director, Tinajero has developed a hands-on, direct management style and emphasizes communication and staff cohesiveness. She feels that her staff’s performance reflects directly on her. When patients commend the quality of their treatment, she takes pride in the positive impact she and her staff have on the patients’ lives.

Both her management position and the daily realities of the hospital cause some difficulty for her. She finds it difficult to discipline members of her staff that she has worked closely with, and “dealing with life and death every day” takes its own unique toll.

Of course, Tinajero says the benefits of her work at the hospital far outweigh the occasional struggles. She finds it very rewarding “when you see someone leaving the hospital when you thought they never would.” She and her staff often applaud when someone recovers from a particularly severe illness and is able to leave.

Although she lives across the country in the Golden State now, Tinajero and her husband remain involved with Bradley. They are both active members of the Bradley University Alumni Association and frequently attend events in both California and Peoria. They have traveled across the country to see Bradley basketball games and have taken their three children to visit the Hilltop multiple times. Tinajero also maintains contact with many of her friends from Bradley and Sigma Kappa, and her husband, a teacher, has referred several of his students to Bradley.