As the associate chief nursing officer at USC Verdugo Hills Hospital (USC-VHH), Jessica Thomas guides each new team member, taking time to observe their practices prior to trying to “fix” anything. She creates a culture where transformation is welcome, encouraged and embraced and where her team members can feel encouraged and valued for candor. She takes a thoughtful approach to solutions, examining each situation as unique, while addressing the needs of the current environment. During COVID-19, Jessica led the group through discussions about NICU visitation which focused on the needs of patients, parents, physicians, and nurses. With compassion and fortitude, she steered a challenging conversation while keeping her patients and team at the forefront. She pushes people to think about what is at hand and what they are trying to solve. She has developed trust by supporting this type of thinking.
Jessica started the Code Lavender Program at Keck Medical Center of USC and then carried it over to USC-VHH. This program supports the health and well-being of nurses and other caregivers by providing emotional support resources to mitigate burnout, stress and anxiety. The response team provides 15-20 minutes of respite through tools like breathing or meditation. Jessica is someone that nurses turn to for compassion and empathy. People also lean on her for decision-making support and critical analysis of a situation. She is an inspiration within the organization because as an essential member of USC-VHHl, Jessica manages to balance her responsibilities as a mother of quadruplets and a professional musician.