Jacqueline Sergon, MSN, BA, CRNP, CCRN, SRNA, has had to overcome immense personal self-doubt, financial challenges, institutional racial micro-aggression, and discrimination to get to where she is today.
That’s why the SRNA at the University of Pittsburgh has made it among her personal and professional goals to correct the current narrative of who comes to mind when people think of a CRNA. She reflected on her journey during Black History Month.
“These challenges remain ever present in many SRNA’s lives,” said Sergon, who added that another reason she chose this profession is because it gives her the opportunity to impact positive, indelible change in her patients’ lives.
“I do recognize these challenges for what they are, though, and the unique role they play in shaping not only my personal outlook, but a collective outlook as well,” she said.
Sergon is already making a huge impact and leaving a mark for herself. She won the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists’ 2022 student-essay award as a first-year SRNA, making her the first in Pitt’s history to do so. That was meaningful, she said.
She continues to pay homage to legacy pioneers like Esther McCready, the first Black student at her alma mater, The University of Maryland, whom she had the honor of meeting; Goldie Bragman, the first Black AANA president; and, most of all, her personal mentor, Dr. Wallena Gould, CEO & Founder of Diversity CRNA and Chair of The American Academy of Nursing’s Diversity & Inclusivity Committee.
But Sergon isn’t stopping there. Her drive is to scale new heights and slay old barriers in terms of further scholarship, further advocacy, further mentorship, and further diversity and inclusivity --- doing the work she says she needs to do and that needs to be done.
“Black History Month to me is about the solemnity with which we honor our forebears’ sacrifices, the profound gratitude for our opportunities, and not least of all, the sobriety with which we realize there is still much, much more work to do,” Sergon said.
We can expect her to continue to reach new heights --- literally. She already has her pilot’s license!
“It’s important to nourish our personal passions that keep us going,” she said.