Jean E. Kono became involved in her profession as a nurse because it was always something she wanted to do. It was always in the back of her mind on how she could help people. She was going through her mother’s scrapbook, and saw a paper she had previously written to her mother in her youth as to what she wanted to be. She was approximately in the fifth grade when she wrote it, and she wrote that she had wanted to be a nurse. In addition, Ms. Kono became involved in her profession because when she graduated, there was not much technology and as the years went on, it was developed to be able to take care of patients better so that they could live a longer, better life. She also wanted to help others live their lives successfully and have the freedom to share her knowledge.
Retired since 2005, Ms. Kono was the head nurse of mental health at St. Luke’s Hospital in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1975. She later served as a child therapist at Vera French Mental Health Center in Davenport, Iowa, nurse manager of mental health at Mercy Hospital in Davenport and clinical instructor at the Eastern Iowa Community Colleges in Bettendorf.
Prior to the start of her professional career, Ms. Kono pursued a formal education at Mercy Hospital, earning a diploma in 1962. She then attended Marycrest College in Davenport, where she attained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1977. Ms. Kono went on to complete postgraduate coursework at the College of Nursing at the University of Iowa in Iowa City.
Outside of her primary trade, Ms. Kono served as District 6 president on the board of directors for the Iowa Nurses Association. She also maintains involvement with the American Psychiatric Nurses Association. In light of her many achievements, Ms. Kono was selected for inclusion in the 25th edition of Who’s Who in the Midwest, the 54th edition of Who’s Who in America, and several editions of Who’s Who in American Nursing and Who’s Who in Medicine and Healthcare.
The highlight of Ms. Kono’s career was working with the students, which she liked because she could see them and guide them. Some had gone on to work in the emergency room, some were parish nurses and some went on to teach. When she was working with the children, she worked with a social worker. Ms. Kono recalls going out to dinner one night and a tall young man stopped her, and he told her he was in one of the groups that she had and thanked her. Another highlight was attending a conference and getting to meet a lot of the leaders in the psychiatric nursing field because she always admired what they did.
What separates Ms. Kono from other nursing educators is her strong compassion for others. She always looked at nursing as a career and she has always like it. She never got burned out because she would go to another phase of it, such as going to another unit. She would then learn about the other unit, which she enjoyed. For example, Ms. Kono took an OB course, even though she was not in that field, and she learned something from it. She would like to be remembered by her peers as someone who cared deeply.