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VPH’s Jarosemich always ready to lend a helping hand

Mar. 30, 2017, 8:38 AM

At Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital, Laura Jarosemich, MSN, R.N., is known for turning challenges into teaching opportunities. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Editor’s note —
This is the fourth in a series of profiles on some of Vanderbilt’s most dedicated employees. All VUMC faculty and staff are encouraged to attend Celebrate — The difference YOU make every day on April 20 or 21 at Vanderbilt’s Memorial Gymnasium. Please sign up for one of three sessions at

Laura Jarosemich, MSN, R.N., is always teaching. It’s the role she had as a nurse educator, as an instructor at Nashville State Community College and now as a nurse at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital (VPH), both to patients and fellow nurses.

So, it came to no one’s surprise one recent evening when Jarosemich stayed at work until 1 a.m., two hours after her shift, to help a nurse resident handle a challenge on the unit.

Soft-spoken, calm and kind, she assisted in de-escalating a patient, speaking with the patient’s doctor and charting the event. For her, it was a teaching opportunity.

“I really think it’s important to help each other,” she said. “If we’re going to help the next generation of nurses that’s coming behind us, we have to help them with feeling comfortable, because we want them to stay in nursing.

“My philosophy is I don’t think there are hierarchies of people. I feel like it doesn’t matter if it’s ‘my role’ as a nurse. I think we’re all a team. I think it’s not just my responsibility; it’s our responsibility.”

Jarosemich remembers what it’s like to be a new nurse. Growing up in Olive Branch, Mississippi., she became interested in a career in nursing after shadowing a nurse in high school. She gained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing Degree from Mississippi College in Clinton, Mississippi, and joined Vanderbilt two years later in 2001. Seven years after that, she earned a Master’s degree in nursing education from Belmont University.

She spent her first eight years in the OB/GYN unit, advancing from staff nurse to charge nurse and nurse educator. There, she developed a passion for a difficult population — those with addictions. That led her to her recent transition to VPH, where many of the patients in her 16-bed unit struggle with addiction. Though new to the behavioral health area, her co-workers appreciate her extensive experience as a nurse.

“Laura is knowledgeable, an incredibly supportive team member and compassionate and kind with our population of patients,” said Lori Harris, R.N., manager of Adult Inpatient Programs for Vanderbilt Behavioral Health. “Her background in OB lends her some additional perspective and expertise that allow her to have very quickly been established as an expert in this area.”

Jarosemich is working on her doctorate at University of Tennessee Health Science Center-Memphis to become a mental health nurse practitioner.

Vanderbilt is family for Jarosemich. Her husband, Bryan, obtained his Bachelor’s bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt. Both of her children were born at Vanderbilt — Emma, 10, and Andrew, 6. When Jarosemich isn’t on the Vanderbilt campus, she’s busy with family. She’s Emma’s Girl Scout leader, and her children are active in sports, including softball and baseball. “We’re kind of outdoors people,” she said. “We like to hike and be outdoors.”

She has also gotten to know the Medical Center from a patient family’s perspective. Emma was born with a heart condition, hypoplastic right heart syndrome, and underwent surgery when she was 5 days old. Her daughter receives yearly check-ups.

“That gives me a greater appreciation for Vanderbilt, and I feel like my co-workers are kind of my support system through that,” she said. “I really believe in the family of Vanderbilt, from being a patient and a mother to being an employee.”

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