Medical assistant’s message to her kids: “Don’t give up on your goals.”

Medical Assistant Jess Polley is working toward completing a dream she had years ago – she wants to be a nurse.

By IU Health Senior Journalist T.J. Banes,

Her co-workers say it like this: “She is working her tail off to become a nurse.”

Last year Jess Polley, 33, joined IU Health as a medical assistant working with breast and gynecological cancer patients at University Hospital. She first became a medical assistant in 2010 and had aspirations of going on to nursing school.

“I got pregnant and had a Riley baby so I couldn’t take the time off to go back to school,” said Polley. She and her husband Jerry have a blended family of four children ages, 13, 12, 8 and 6. Once her children became a little older, she decided to pursue that dream. She was accepted into nursing school last May and is taking advantage of IU Health’s tuition benefits program.

“I always wanted to be a nurse but I was knee deep with kids and took another path. Now I’m knee deep in nursing and hoping to show my kids that you don’t give up on your goals,” said Polley, who has just over a year remaining until she completes her bachelor’s degree.

Why nursing?

“I love taking care of people. I love my patients’ stories and being an active part of their medical care. It’s such a reward to care for people even in their last days,” said Polley. “I think I have the ability to make everybody feel special from the time I get them until the time they leave. I can make new connections with first time patients and I can catch up with returning patients.”

More about Polley:

  • Advice to other moms considering returning to school: “It will be work but in the end it will be worth it. When you work full-time and go to school full-time make sure you have a good support network. I couldn’t do this without my husband and parents and my co-workers are amazing. They are always sending me encouraging text messages and asking what I’ve learned.”
  • Running is her passion. She is currently training for her eleventh half marathon and hoping to earn her Spartan Trifecta medal this year. She also works part-time at the Baxter YMCA teaching kick boxing classes.