Jennifer Dumal grew up wanting to be an English teacher. Instead, she’s retiring from her role as Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) at Memorial Health System after almost 25 years. In total, she has dedicated 45 years to Memorial.
At just 17 years old, Jennifer began working at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport to help pay for college. She reflects, “The amount of mentoring by the nurses and doctors who wanted to teach you was just amazing.” It didn’t take long for her to change her major to nursing.
Since she started her career at Memorial in 1978, Jennifer has been a ward clerk, nurse assistant, head nurse, manager, director, Senior Vice President, and CNO. The number of team members she’s impacted over the years can’t be overstated, including her daughters Lauren and Katherine, who both work at Memorial.
Lauren, a Radiologic Technologist, describes her as humble and protective. She shares, “She is the example we should all strive to be like. While she would never accept that she was a huge part of why this hospital stays running, she certainly is. She is available 24/7 to her staff and never turns anyone away.”
Jennifer’s daughter Katherine, a Nurse Practitioner for Memorial’s Inpatient Physician Services, describes Jennifer as loyal, intelligent, wise, and full of integrity. She shares, “Mom, I am proud of you. May you be proud of the work you have done, the person you are, and the difference you have made! I am extremely lucky to have worked at the same place as you.” She continues, “You have been a mother, wife, friend, nurse, executive, and student. You have worn many hats and accomplished many things. It’s time you take a step back and enjoy yourself, time with dad, and time with your grandbabies. You don’t have to slow down, but it’s time to enjoy the little things in life.”
Lauren adds, “She has given her whole life to this facility, but it’s her time now. Time to rest, relax and catch up on everything she set aside over the past 45 years. There are books to be read, parks to explore, and a lake house waiting for her to sit in a rocking chair and listen to the wind chimes.”
Memorial President and CEO Kent Nicaud shares, “While Jennifer’s shoes will certainly be hard to fill, her dedication for top quality care, loyalty, enthusiasm, and her unwavering passion for the success of Memorial will continue in her honor. She will always have a very special place in my heart and the heart of the Memorial Family.”
After what she calls a “wonderful journey” at Memorial, Jennifer hopes that what she’s tried to contribute to the health system remains. “Don’t forget that the only reason we are here is for the patients. It takes all of us, every discipline, to make this ship move,” she says. “I pray that we stay patient-focused and recognize the strengths of the incredible people that work here.”