posted on October 30, 2019 16:48
We sent a few questions to our 2019 Kennedy-Kafer award recipient, Jill D'Errico (Rhode Island) to learn more about her history with and service toward 3RNet, and what these mean to her.
(Pictured above: Mike Shimmens, 3RNet Executive Director and Jill D'Errico, Kennedy-Kafer Award recipient)
Can you talk about how you became the 3RNet member for Rhode Island?
When I first started working in rural health, 3RNet was not used by its potential in our state. I was excited to learn about it, and spent a lot of time on the phone with Nikki. I thought I would drive her crazy with all my questions, but she was such a tremendous help. Now we have quadrupled our postings and added facilities. I was very excited to get “in on the ground floor” of this work, and it is such an honor to receive an award named after somebody (2 somebodies!) who are so great.
Can you talk about your history with 3RNet?
I served as the 3RNet member since I started in rural health in 2013. To be completely honest, I was from a semi-rural part of Massachusetts, but didn’t really understand “rural” like the places that I have learned about since I started working with 3RNet. I saw immediately how important 3RNet was to rural and underserved in my state and others. The work that is done by staff, the constant contact with the states, the availability of staff responding so quickly makes it easy to volunteer with 3RNet. I have served as a volunteer on conference planning, helped at the conferences, led the brief membership committee, and helped facilitate the pre-conference opportunity this year. I even co-presented once at a rural conference when one of the 3RNet staff was unexpectedly out (I only saw the presentation about 20 minutes before we presented!)
Any other service with 3RNet?
I track things that other states might not. For instance, if a doctor contacts us and we refer to 3RNet, we track if they sign up. We also track if they sign up with 3RNet at a conference, then call our office and get hired anywhere in the state (even if the position wasn’t posted on 3RNet). I think these relationships are so important, and every member I have met at conferences takes a lot of pride in cultivating them in their state. I am also a J1 coordinator so many doctors come to our state through 3RNet, and we participate in Practice Sights.
What does ‘service’ mean to you?
About two weeks before receiving this service award at the 3RNet conference, I received the state agency award for exceptional volunteering. I was absolutely shocked by both. I come from a military-Catholic household and the values of helping others and doing the right thing were instilled in me from birth. I don’t do things to be recognized, but I can tell you both awards have meant so much to me! I honestly feel like service is helping out who you can, when you can, how you can. I try really hard to do this, and it is really easy for me because I like to meet, help, and talk to new people.
What advice would you give to a new 3RNet member or someone new to the recruitment world?
Patience and honesty. For the first year I worked with 3RNet providers, I wanted to say “come to our state-it is really great” to every provider that I spoke with, and then I would get really frustrated when they didn’t. Sometimes we don’t always know exactly what a provider is looking for so just being open and honest about what they will experience in your state matters in retaining them.
What do the 3RNet network and your fellow members mean to you?
When I started, I knew very little about rural health and this organization. The staff and other members were always so welcoming. Honestly, when I read this question, I teared up. I cannot believe the people and sponsors who reach out after each conference whether to make a connection, ask a question, or just say thanks. People in this group are truly amazing.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I love this organization, the staff, and the people involved. You can tell how much everyone believes in the work they are doing!