Hometown Hero: Helping others has always mattered to Jennifer McBride

Published 12:05 am Thursday, July 28, 2022

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

By Janie Peterson
For the Clemmons Courier

When Clemmons resident Jennifer McBride was a little girl, she thought she might want to be a nun when she grew up. She never did become a nun, but still devotes her life to serving her community and caring for others as a nurse at Clemmons Medical Center.

“I was about 6 or 7 years old when I learned that nuns cannot get married and have children, so that’s when I decided to be a nurse; ever since then, that’s what I’ve known I wanted to do,” McBride said.

McBride has worked in healthcare for almost 30 years, starting as a pediatric and adult nurse in 1995 in Columbus, North Carolina.
Her career path quickly took a different direction in 1997 when she changed hospitals to become an ICU nurse. In 2004, McBride relocated to Clemmons, and she currently works as a nursing supervisor at Clemmons Medical Center, a position she’s held since 2017.
To maintain longevity in her career, McBride emphasizes the importance of having hobbies and a personal life separate from her work life. In her free time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as running, hiking and riding her bike. Her nursing schedule has allowed her to prioritize family time with her husband Chris and daughters Gillian and Ava.
She also volunteers at the Humane Society of Davie County. These activities became even more important throughout the taxing times of COVID.

“When I’m not working, I try not to focus on work. I tried not to work a lot of extra shifts during COVID just to prevent burnout,” McBride said.

Nursing, among other healthcare jobs, became far more stressful within the past two years.

“We were dealing with a novel virus and so we were all learning how we needed to care for patients with COVID. We didn’t know how contagious it was or how it spread, so it made nursing a lot more intense,” McBride said.

However, McBride has faced a challenge much more daunting than COVID — she is a breast cancer survivor. McBride feels that her nursing experience actually made her more uneasy about the treatment process.

“A lot of times working in the ICU we would see people who were so sick who had cancer or were sick from their cancer treatment. Sometimes knowing too much is not always a good thing,” McBride said.

As someone who has dedicated a large part of her life to taking care of other people, it was time for McBride to be the one taken care of.

“It’s difficult to separate yourself from being a nurse versus being the patient. I had to let other people take care of me, which was very unusual, new territory for me,” McBride said.

On the flip side, many may expect such an impactful experience to change the way she goes about her job. But this was not the case for McBride, who has been cancer-free for almost seven years.

“I already had empathy as a nurse, so it didn’t really change my perspective on how I take care of patients. I don’t think I take care of patients any different now than I did before I knew I had cancer,” McBride said.

The number of people leaving the medical field because of COVID has caused a lot of shortages with all healthcare fields.

“We’re struggling too. We’re burned out just like everyone else,” McBride said. “We just want the public to understand we’re doing the best we can.”

Fortunately for the community, McBride doesn’t plan on retiring any time soon, but when she does, she dreams of opening an animal rescue on 20 acres of land.

“With fostering and the humane society, I see how much the animals love and appreciate what we do for them,” McBride said.

It is evident that McBride’s compassion is a lifestyle and not just a job requirement.

Do you know a hometown hero who needs to be recognized for their service to the Clemmons area? Send recommendations to Marc Pruitt at marc.pruitt@clemmonscourier.net