Florida Veteran Health Heroes

Dr. Jan Adams was born into a family of military service members, health care workers, and educators. Each of her five brothers served in the Vietnam War, and her mother was a nurse. Dr. Adams’ biggest role model was her aunt who was a nurse and an educator. Dr. Adams joined the Navy Reserve while in nursing school, and she worked in the orthopedics unit, which she loved. Serving as the cornerstone of her 28 years of service, Dr. Adams reflected on the leadership principles she was taught: “[The military] really likes you to grow educationally. They look for leaders.” Her first duty station was in Philadelphia after three months of training in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) at Temple University. She then continued her service at the naval hosptial in Philadelphia where she was designated as a critical care nurse. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Adams was stationed at Camp Lejeune where she served in the Naval Medical Center Lejeune ICU unit. Further applying her leadership skills, Dr. Adams became a member of the development team for the construction of a new hospital. Dr. Adams even received the opportunity of a lifetime—duty in Naples, Italy: “It was a small, four-bed ICU and I loved it. The ICU unit was closed and became a special care unit [and] 60% of your time was spent on vacation. We went to every country in Europe we were allowed to go to. We traveled to many countries, [sharing] nurse coverage in different countries where needed.” A crowning achievement in Dr. Adams’ storied career as a naval nurse was her eight years of duty at the 1,000-bed Portsmouth Naval Hospital. During this time, she was promoted to House Supervisor and later served as the nursing director for the ear, nose, and throat (ENT) clinic—the busiest in the military. In 1992, Dr. Adams retired from the Navy and began a journey as a nursing educator: “I loved it, caught the teaching bug, and now teach graduate students.” Dr. Adams came to Florida almost on a whim: “My husband wanted to retire. We literally spun the globe, and it landed here.” Dr. Adams brought her passion for the nursing profession with her to Florida, where she has served as the immediate past president of the Florida Nurses Association, and doubles as the current Co-Director of the Nursing Action Coalition of Florida and Associate Dean of the School of Nursing at Mary Baldwin University. Dr. Adams frequently visits Tallahassee to advocate on behalf of the nursing profession: “It is not uncommon that something does not pass [in the Legislature] the first time. We are going back this year. We were told that this is going to be the year of health care. We need nurses! We already know that we need 40,000 nurses by 2035. We are going to have a very high over-65 population and [must] provide that care.” When reflecting on her achievements, Dr. Adams remarked, “I would do it all again. It has been a wonderful journey. It’s all been a learning moment and a moment I would repeat if I could.” Dr. Adams, we salute you for your love of service and leadership in the profession of nursing! 1 1 MEDICAL QUALITY ASSURANCE | 2023 FLORIDA VETERAN HEALTH HEROES DR. JAN ADAMS NAVY