Joan Bruce was born in a rural community in Springfield, St. Mary, Jamaica, the second of 10 siblings. There, she started her 10-year career as a teacher.
When Ms. Bruce first moved with her children to the United States in 1989, she worked as a companion. This led to her career in nursing and — it has been more than two decades.
She earned a bachelor of science in 1997 from Lehman College and that year she started her professional career as a staff nurse at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center where she is still employed. She now holds a Master of Science Administration Degree in Healthcare and advanced certifications in this field.
Ms. Bruce works in case management / review, providing clinical information, discharge planning and acts as a liaison between the hospital and insurers.
“South Bronx is a very poor neighborhood and we have to do a lot for them,” Ms. Bruce says of the hospital’s population. “We coordinate care, teach them about their diagnosis (e.g. diabetes and hypertension), and engage them — the patient and family — to be involved in their own care, and plan for follow-up.”
“It’s rewarding to see the outcome,” she says, “and when they’re feeling better, some return to thank you.”
“I have a passion for my patients and colleagues,” she adds.
For five years she has served on the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA ) executive committee at the Bronx Lebanon Hospital, assisting nurses with complaints, speaking with management to solve nurse problems, and working on negotiations.
Ms. Bruce mentions that NYSNA also invites specialists on domestic violence and human trafficking to speak to the utilization department to raise consciousness.
She works with the hospital for community outreach, with NYSNA which has participated in many health fairs, and is also an active member of Greater Centennial A.M.E. Zion church serving on its health ministry.