National Nurses Week

After Being Inspired as a Patient, South Bay Nurse Now Inspires Others

As a youth in the hospital, Jill Sproul saw teamwork and compassion, and it made her want to enter the profession

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Many people have had a nurse who touched their lives in some way, especially over the past year, whether it was those who contracted COVID-19 or expecting moms in labor or if they had to go to the emergency room with a hurt or sick loved one.

Years ago, Jill Sproul was one of those people, and it inspired her to become a nurse herself. Today, the chief nursing officer at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center in San Jose is again showing her gratitude to fellow front-line nurses.

As a child, Sproul suffered life-threatening burns in a camping accident, and it was during her recovery in the hospital when she discovered her career aspirations.

"I saw the teamwork, how compassionate," Sproul said. "I loved my nurses, and so I wanted to become a nurse after being in the hospital for 6 months and being in and out of the hospital continually throughout my whole school years."

Sproul now leads the team of nurses who have always been there at people’s worst moments but who in the last year were often the last people patients saw as they died from COVID-19.

Sproul says there are patients nurses don’t forget and nurses patients don’t forget. And this year, she got the chance to say thank you to one of her nurses.

"This year, I got a letter from one of my former nurses, and it said she’d been thinking about me, wondering how my life turned out," Sproul said. "I told her it was because of her and all of the nurses that took care of me that inspired me to be a nurse."

Sproul hopes other people will be inspired too as the country is already short about a million nurses, and many nurses will be retiring soon.

All this week, Valley Medical Center and other hospitals will be celebrating nurses with special treats and events for National Nurses Week. Sproul says the best thing you can do is reach out to a nurse and say thank you.

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