John Jay’s Nurse Practitioner Recalls the Road to Her Career

Simone Artwell, Writer

There are many types of Nurse Practitioners, and as a Board Certified Primary Care Adult Health and Gerontology Nurse Practitioner in New York, Gail Ingram can diagnose, treat, and prescribe medicine.

Nurse Practitioner Gail Ingram made her debut at John Jay back in October 2019, when she began working at John Jay’s Wellness Center on a temporary, part-time basis.

“At first, my role was to see students for simple medical needs,” said Ingram. “But early on it became clear to me that we could do so much more.”

Working alongside Malaine Clarke, the Director of Health Services at John Jay, Ingram began conceptualizing an idea to create a full-service medical clinic tailored to the specific needs of John Jay Students.

“Many students are uninsured or underinsured and don’t have access to quality medical services near campus or in their neighborhoods,” said Ingram in an email. “The medical clinic should be equipped to provide a variety of treatments and manage all sorts of situations on the spot.”

With the medical clinic, John Jay Students will have access to health services they may have avoided. The wheels were put into motion, but unfortunately, with the arrival of the Covid-19 epidemic, their efforts were put to a halt. Much like classes, it became imperative to give students medical access virtually.

“During the pandemic, with support of the Student Activities Association and the Wellness Center, I have continued to work on this goal while treating students remotely,” said Nurse Ingram.

On her Instagram page @jjcnursepractitioner, telehealth is free for students. To schedule an appointment John Jay Students have to fill out the form provided on the page and a virtual meet-up will be assigned on available days.

Students can also visit @jjcwellness for a range of offered services such as the Food Bank and Emergency Funding.

“I’ve been a patient and a provider,” said Ingram. For most of her adult life, Ingram didn’t have health insurance.

Knowing firsthand how hard it is to acquire professional medical assistance, her mission has always been to help the underserved communities as best as she can, but that wasn’t always where she saw her life going.

“Growing up, I didn’t know anyone in my family or my neighborhood who had been to college,” said Ingram. “I didn’t have financial resources or emotional support and often felt like quitting.”

As a young child growing up in Seattle, Washington, Ingram dreamt of becoming a forest ranger, though she later attended college at the University of Texas where she majored in Radio, Television, and Film. After completing that, Ingram was still left unfulfilled.

Gail Ingram recalls that her family was often in survival mode, and her room to dream was limited. Even so, she received her magical moment one day as she sat at the bus stop.

“I saw this woman waiting for the bus wearing pale pink scrubs and sneakers, and I thought ‘Omg she gets to wear pajamas to work,’” said Ingram.  

“I got a job as a nursing assistant at a hospital in Austin, Texas, emptying bedpans or doing any disgusting thing I could do,” said Ingram. For two and a half years, Ingram worked tirelessly climbing her way up the ladder until she officially changed her major to Nursing.

Though she never imagined becoming a doctor, there was a moment that undeniably solidified her path to becoming a nurse.

“When I was a nurse’s aid, a patient had a stroke, and everyone else on the medical team was running around doing medical stuff, and no one was actually talking to him or holding his hand to let him know he’ll be okay,” said Ingram.

Being able to comfort this man in his vulnerable state was a sign that Ingram was on the right path and Nursing was the way to go.

For 10 years, Gail Ingram was a Nurse before becoming a Nurse Practioner. Ingram attended NYU where she got her graduate degree as well as a President’s Service Award for writing the University’s first health column and creating a website to empower registered nurses.

One person Ingram looks up to is Florence Nightingale. Nightingale is said to have revolutionized health care as an English Statistician and Nurse in the Crimean War. Nightingale once declared, “You don’t go into nursing for any other reason but that it is a calling. If you don’t have a calling for it, don’t do it.”

Nurse Ingram keeps that in mind as she dwells on the past year. With the highly anticipated Fall 2021 semester, Ingram has big plans for John Jay.

“I’m not afraid. I am looking forward to it actually,” said Ingram. “I want academic success for the students and I want to contribute to that by keeping them healthy.”