Jennifer Perreault joins staff as assistant professor

Jennifer Perreault.jpg

by Lily Cochenour
Staff Writer

What brought you to RC and why do you choose to work here?

Actually I was looking for a place to teach. I've always wanted to teach because I've taught nurses at the hospital but I never had the time. They didn’t have the time; they had their patients. They didn't have time to sit down and learn the things I was trying to talk about. So I started doing clinicals, and doing clinicals I was like, wow, that's all these students had time to do, was learn. So then from there, I was like 'let me go even deeper and be in the classroom' but you have to have your master's degree for that. So I said as soon as I get my master's degree, [RC] is where I want to work. There is just something about this school—the students, the faculty—it’s very welcoming and it’s a very good environment. When I was taking the students to clinics, even the hospital [professionals] would say: "Where are these students from? They are so nice, they are so polite, they really want this." I thought: "That’s where I want to work. Where people want us to come back and be there." I’m asked all the time, "When are you bringing the Rochester students back?" So it’s really nice.

Describe what you do on a typical work day.

Usually I get into the classroom, if I’m doing a lecture class, a half hour before. My students will already know what chapters we are going over. So they will have already read, and I’ll pull out the important things in that chapter. If I have a hour lecture, I’ll just pull out what’s really important and explain it in a deeper level. I’ll bring in real life situations. So I will come in teach my lecture class, answer any questions, and that’s a lecture day. On a lab day, I will explain a skill, show how to do a skill, and they will practice their skill. Another day would be a clinical. A clinical day, I will take them to the hospital. They will each get a patient and I will teach them how to be a nurse—how to safely pass meds, how to care for patients, how to talk to doctors. Everyday is different, lots of questions.

What have you learned about RC since being here?

That faculty wise, the administration is really here for us. That everybody has the student's best interest first. It's obvious. Whatever time is expected of you, everybody gives it more time because we want the best for our students. That’s what I noticed and I can't stress how nice everybody is here. And it's a genuine nice. It’s not just a "hi." It's a “hi, how are you?”

What is your proudest achievement in life?

Getting my master's degree because I started at OCC to be a nurse and I got my associate's degree and at that point I was done. I said I'm good I'm happy with my associates degree and i never ever planned on going back to school. I thought, "oh my gosh a master's degree is so far from anything that I could obtain," but then I see more doors are going to open, if I get my bachelor's degree. If you look at all these other jobs, a bachelor's degree is required.  So after that, I figured I'm done because I don't think I can do a master's degree. So then I said I might as well try it because now it's saying bachelor's degree required, master's degree preferred. When I got it [master's], it was a very proud moment for me because I never thought I could do that.

Where did you work previously? Tell me about that job and responsibilities.

I worked at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland in Pontiac as a registered nurse for almost 10 years. Then I also worked at Dorsey Nursing School for two years with the LPN program so I can get practice to come here.

Where did you grow up? Describe.

I grew up in Troy, Michigan, in a house my mom and dad bought one month before I was born. We lived there until I was 18 years old. Unfortunately then my parents split. Then I stayed with my mom. My house was right next to my elementary school, so I'd be sitting and I heard the bell ring and I go to school. I would come home for lunch and my mom would make me lunch. From kindergarten to fifth grade, my house was the first house across from the school. My mom did daycare for the teachers.

What is your pet peeve in the workplace?

 Probably disrespect. If I see anybody disrespect anybody, if I'm disrespected, that's my biggest pet peeve. There's no reason for it or talking behind someone’s back. If you have something to say, you should bring it to the person. It just has so much drama. If you have something you have to say, say it in a respectful way.

What are your hobbies? Exotic? Stress-relieving?

I went to school forever. I didn't have time for a lot of hobbies, but I enjoy going on vacation.

Tell me about your pets. Are you a dog person or a cat person?

I have a nine-year-old Mini-Schnauzer named Bailey. Actually I bought her for my mom because she really wanted a dog. For her birthday, I bought her a dog. Two years later, she passed away, so now Bailey's my dog. She goes to dog daycare when I work long days  because as a nurse I work 12, 13, 14 hour days and you can't leave a dog home that long. I take her to doggie daycare and she plays. Definitely dog person; actually I’m allergic to cats.

What do you go home to everyday after work?

Usually making dinner or going out to dinner, preferably going out to dinner. I go home, deal with dinner, and then spend at least an hour or two at night preparing for the next day.

What obstacles have you overcome to get where you are today? What did you learn from that experience? What advice do you have for others?

Maybe an obstacle when I was younger is the confidence level—telling myself that I can't do something, that it's too far out of my reach. Just do it. I never really fully bought into that when I was younger. I think it's the confidence level and always thinking I don't know if I can do this. I wish I had the confidence I have now, back then. maybe then I would have done everything a little bit faster. If I would have built my confidence faster, I would have been where I am a little bit sooner. I'm just happy that I'm where I'm at.

Who is your biggest influence? Role model?

My mom. My mom was the role model, very strong, independent, always did what had to be done and got things done, treated people right, took care of us.

What is your most embarrassing moment?

Tripping in front of a whole bunch of people. I was wearing flip-flops walking into a building. My flip-flop caught the runner in between the door, and I tripped and fell in front of everyone. My books went flying. I was so embarrassed.