Faculty/Staff Academic Background Information:
Jill is working on her Master’s in Education. She also has a Bachelor’s in Education and an Associate’s in Surgical Technology, both from UM.
What do you like most about the field of Surgical Technology?
I love the challenge that each case poses to me—no two patients or surgeries are exactly the same and I enjoy that. My favorite part of it all though is the team work that it necessitates. I love being one piece of a team that has a singular collective goal. I liken it to a game with very specific rules and individual roles, and ever-changing game pieces, with the end goal being to find the safest and most efficient path to completion.
What have been some highlights of your career thus far?
Highlights, by far revolve around the global outreach surgical camps that I have been fortunate enough to become involved in. Not all, but most of these have been ophthalmic in specialty, sight restorative, making the impact huge—on patients and me alike. I believe greatness is not what one has but in what one gives. Being able to bring my skillset to a team of likewise professionals and provide the services to restore eyesight to the cataract blind is probably the most fulfilling thing I have done as a surgical assistant. There is no doubt that it’s the highlight.
Is there any advice you would give students interested in pursuing a career in Surgical Technology?
I like to tell my students that they are entering a challenging space—a rewarding one too. Being a Surgical Tech requires a sound work-life balance. Those that can find that tend to be very successful. It also entails some thick skin and loads of humility. Operating rooms naturally come with a mix of personalities and stressors. Even still they can also be surprisingly fun. It’s really important for students to realize that and stay grounded and open to whatever comes their way!
What do you like most about living in Missoula and working at the University of Montana?
Who lives here that doesn’t love what Missoula has to offer?! I love to be outside any time of year. I especially enjoy skiing, hiking and playing on any kind of water – as long as it’s wet. Complementing the outdoor scene, the live music offerings and the vibrant community make it a really great place to raise my two boys.