Jeannine Haberman, DNP, MBA, MSN, RN, CNE, has been a nurse for over 35 years.
Haberman’s career started from humble beginnings, graduating from a small liberal college in central Illinois before beginning work in a small community hospital. She quickly transformed from a fresh grad to an ICU charge nurse, ED manager of a Chicago University Hospital, to director roles within large hospital systems. One day, as the hospital CEO passed Haberman in the hallway, he stopped to ask if she would consider starting a new breast cancer care program for the hospital. “I explained that I’d be happy to, but I had no background or experience in oncology. He replied, ‘Oh, I’m sure you’ll learn the science quickly and get up to speed. But, what you do have is the ability to build programs, bring people together, invoke energy, enthusiasm, and get this project off the ground.'”
Haberman proved him right; nurses are the glue. After successfully building the breast cancer program, Haberman was promoted to direct a hospital system oncology service line and create a cancer institute. Outcomes soared and continue to do so years later. Her passion, hard work, and polite persistence for nursing excellence have elevated her from entry to leadership positions with each opportunity. Her specialties include ICU, CCU, ED, Oncology, and academia. She worked her way up from Med/Surg to ICU, ER Director to Oncology Director, adjunct faculty to full-time faculty, and finally, Assistant Dean of Nursing positions within the academic sector.
As someone who strongly believes in advancing education and certification, Haberman has acquired a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from MacMurray College, a Master of Science in Nursing Administration and a Master of Business Administration from Lewis University, and a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Capella University. She holds or has held multiple certifications, including CCRN, CEN, TNS, TNCC, ACLS instructor, BLS Instructor, PALS, PALS instructor, ECRN, Six Sigma Green Belt, NBCN-IC, AOCNS, and CNE. She has published, presented, received awards, and authored successful grant funding proposals to further her nursing work within various fields on multiple occasions. Regarding her choice to pursue an MBA, Haberman explains, “Everything is about outcomes when you’re managing a hospital system or academic system. Nurses are required to understand benchmarks, data, and project budgetary needs, so I thought getting my MBA would be important. And over the years, I’ve been very happy I did.”
Illinois nursing offers opportunities, and years later, Haberman moved from saving lives to changing lives. Haberman says the transition to an academic setting felt like an entirely new world. “Going from working in a hospital setting for 30 years to academics, I felt like I went from an expert to suddenly being a complete novice again. Nursing is about life-long learning, and I believe in leading by example. We can all learn from each other. It’s amazing; my experience has been my foundation to expand my horizons and show others they can follow their passion. I’m fortunate enough to work with nursing students and advance nursing in a different profession, one student at a time.”
Before taking her current role as Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs at Resurrection University, Haberman worked for another college, building a new nursing program from the ground up.
“When I built the program, they told me I’d be lucky to enroll 50 students in a year. I had over 250 students my first year, and 87% of those were minority students. The best part was that 67% of the faculty mirrored the student demographic. The creation of this program elevated the graduates, their families, and our community. Strong nursing programs create strong community workforces and reinforce fiscally sound community infrastructures to sustain them and the generations beyond. I’m very proud of that. For years, my focus has been making sure our Illinois nursing workforce and faculty are diverse, equitable, and inclusive.”
Advocating for student involvement
Haberman began her involvement with ANA-IL as a student, something she strongly advocates for nursing students. Having been both a mentor and mentee in the ANA-Illinois Mentorship Program, she knows firsthand how helpful the organization and its members can be. “ANA-Illinois is an absolutely fantastic group of people. I get so much more than I give.”
Haberman also points to an experience she had at a Student Nurse Political Action Day in Springfield several years ago. “The event helps students understand the statewide nursing policy, how to be a change agent in your profession, and how to speak with your nursing voice. A few years ago, one of the speakers was Representative Lauren Underwood. She’s a young African American Illinois homegrown nurse exactly like the students were preparing to be. She worked for the Obama administration, and at the time, she was running for state representative. For our young African American nursing students to see and hear her, to understand and suddenly realize their infinite potential and their uncharted professional possibilities — the experience was priceless. There were tears in their eyes; nursing students saw a new potential career path through a crystal clear lens. They realized their voice was stronger than ever. It was truly a magical moment I will never forget.”
The following year, Haberman’s college asked Representative Underwood to come to the campus to speak to the students, and attendance to Springfield tripled the next year. “I think back to those very early days and how many lives she changed just by visiting the school. It’s honestly invaluable at that early age to get them involved in understanding how much influence each and every nurse has in Illinois. Nurses are the best to market their profession, whether they realize it or not.”
Advancing nursing education and practice through societies
Haberman was recently elected treasurer for the ANA-IL Board of Officers and Directors. “The previous treasurer, Dr. Pam Brown, has been incredible in helping me transition into the role, and I’m so excited to have a part in elevating ANA IL into the next decade. Our future is bright. I’m also on the Program Committee, which works to ensure equitable nursing education programs are available for Illinois nurses. Not only for the Chicagoland area but across all of Illinois because although we are similar, we all have special interests. Due to my humble Central Illinois small-town beginnings, I’m passionate about representing the entire state.”
She is also the newly elected treasurer for the National League for Nursing Commission for Nursing Education Accreditation (NLN CNEA) and a member of the Board of Commissioners in Washington, DC. “It’s an honor and a privilege, as these ladies and gentlemen are so warm and friendly. Nurses need to have a seat at the table for professional advancement. We lead from every chair. My passion is to support, guide, and educate new nursing graduates. It’s so impressive to see the strides nursing is making from a front-row seat. Not only from a regional and state perspective but also a national perspective. I’m humbled to be a part.”
Seizing all opportunities
Haberman believes in following your passion wherever it leads. “Find your passion. That’s the blessing of nursing; nurses can pretty much do anything and go anywhere. Education is key, and certification builds professional credibility and sets nursing apart from other professions. And it’s okay to change your professional path. That’s always been my mantra, but if I could go back, I would educate myself with more passion and energy than ever before because when I became an RN, I didn’t realize the span of opportunities that I do now. Everything I’ve learned has elevated my nursing skill set and propelled my career. I believe I am a better nurse.”
At over 5000 members, Haberman says ANA-IL enrollment is stronger than ever, and she is thrilled at the prospect of its continued growth. “I’m excited by the interest in the nursing profession right now, especially with baby boomers retiring. We are looking to build the next generations better than the generations before to lead the state of Illinois. I’m delighted to welcome more ANA-IL members, and anything I can do to encourage them, I will.”