||Janet Wessel Krejci, PhD, RN, NEA-BC
Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
Illinois State University
Member of IONL since 2010
What initially attracted you to nursing?
I have heard some other people say that “I always wanted to be a nurse”, but that didn’t happen to be my journey. I grew up in a family where there was a lot of illness at a young age and these individuals didn’t always have good outcomes. My older sister was a nurse and I was impressed with her abilities and because of this was able to see a positive side of healthcare. When I was in school, I tended to be good at the sciences and I was told that I would be a good nurse. I was concerned initially by this information because I had seen the worst of healthcare through situations with my family members and the impact that nurses can have on patients and their families. When I graduated from nursing school, I was turned around in my thoughts about the profession. The power of what nurses could do with vulnerable populations and that nurses could be advocates for their patients. This caused me to become extremely passionate about being a nurse and I haven’t looked back over the years.
What is your favorite part of your current job?
I have been in nursing academics for many years and just recently moved into the provost role. What I have loved about every job that I have had is that I have the ability to work with teams that are totally committed to excellence to make a difference for others and to be tireless in that pursuit. I am proud to say that I have found commitment to student success everyday here at Illinois State University. We have the ability to make an impact on students and each of these students is going to go out and make an impact on the world. There is nothing more rewarding than connecting, mentoring and helping students to build on their strengths and live up to their potential. To do that with a team of professionals who are all on the same page about that commitment is very rewarding and creates an energizing environment in which to work. The thing that sets ISU apart is that not only does the faculty and staff have a commitment to their students but they also have a commitment to each other, day in and day out, and that is not seen in every work environment.
Tell us about your personal life:
I am very blessed to have such a large family, I am the youngest of 10 and my husband is one of 11 children in his family. We have 2 sons and each of my family members brings joy into my life every day. Most everyone knows if I have a choice where I am going to be for a day it is going to be biking or hiking, especially in Door County Wisconsin.
What membership benefits have you gained through IONL?
IONL helps you to stay on the cutting edge in healthcare. The ability to connect to other people who are doing great work in nursing is very important. About 2 ½ - 3 years ago we created the IONL nurse leadership fellowship and that program could have never been created without IONL. There is the benefit of all of the programs through IONL, but the work that they have done with leaders throughout the state to create the fellowship in Illinois has been tremendous. In the long run, I see this having huge impact as more fellows go out and continue to seek out leadership opportunities and be the best leaders that they can be.
Is there any other information that you would like to get out through this spotlight?
I believe that every nurse is a leader and we have to help them understand that they are always on the leadership journey no matter what position they happen to be in at that time. I have met many nurses over the years and I have said that if we are expecting nurses to navigate through the complex system that we have today, you have to be a strong leader to accomplish that. I hope to impact others and help them to continue to advance the profession of nursing in Illinois.