Meet Jennifer Underhill, assistant nurse manager in the Department of Pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai. Jennifer started her career in the emergency room, but moved to pediatrics because she wanted to connect with her patients more closely.
We sat down with Jennifer to learn more about how she got into nursing and why you’ll rarely find her at work without her bubble wand.
Tell us about your family
Jennifer: My husband Nicolas and I have two sons: Jason, 14, and Dominic, 11. We love to visit my mother and sisters in San Luis Obispo, spending time hiking and relaxing at the beach.
My mom was an ER nurse, and she got me into nursing. When it was time for me to consider college, she offered to pay for me to go to nursing school. I know my mom really enjoys her job and was able to provide for our family as a single mother, so I gave it a try.
“When birthdays happen in the hospital, it’s important to me that we celebrate! We can’t take the place of home, but our nurses do everything they can to make the day special.”
What’s your current role at Cedars-Sinai?
Jennifer: I’m an assistant nurse manager in pediatrics. I lead a team of nurses who work with children recovering from surgeries, or who need procedures only a doctor who specializes in pediatric medicine can provide.
Do you have other duties and skills?
Jennifer: Lab result wrangler. Bubble-blowing maven. Birthday party planner. When birthdays happen in the hospital, it’s important to me that we celebrate! We can’t take the place of home, but our nurses do everything they can to make the day special.
What’s the best thing about working in pediatrics at Cedars-Sinai?
Jennifer: I was drawn to Cedars-Sinai because it has a pediatric ICU in an adult hospital, so it has a lot more resources than a typical children’s hospital. I’m passionate about bridging the gap between pediatric and adult care—Cedars-Sinai is leading the trend of providing quality care for children with the patient’s entire lifespan in mind.
We can call in a doctor from other practices within the Cedars-Sinai network to care for the kids. We have access to resources that other hospitals just don’t have. It’s a special place.
“It’s hard to have a bad day when you’re saving children’s lives.”
What’s your favorite way to unwind?
Jennifer: I grew up spending a lot of time outside. It instilled a love of the outdoors and beautiful places. There are no distractions. You just get to spend time with people you love without technology getting in the way.
Do you have a favorite spot in the LA area?
Jennifer: Malibu—beautiful beach and really pretty hikes. We also love spending time at Disneyland. It really takes you out of all your cares.
Any wisdom to share?
Jennifer: It’s hard to have a bad day when you’re saving children’s lives.