Montana State University

Jones turns her eclectic focus to nursing

April 26, 2005 -- By Carol Flaherty


Ann Brandom Jones   High-Res Available

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When Ann Brandom Jones becomes a nurse next year, she is going to bring a lot of experience to the job.

Known to everyone as Brandom, never "Brandy" or Ann, her experiences are as unique as her name.

The Montana State University nursing junior has a degree in cultural anthropology from an eastern college, has been in the Peace Corps, worked in Nepal for a nonprofit organization helping mountain expedition porters, is an avid yoga practitioner, has her emergency medical technician certification, has conducted undergraduate research on rural women's health, led trail crews for the Forest Service, and led teenagers in trouble with the law in wilderness therapy programs.

A recent Rotary Student of the Month, Jones is completing her upper division nursing hospital rotations and hopes eventually to put all her life experience to work in an East-meets-West integrated health program.

After all of her experiences, the toughest part of school is its structure and time commitments, Jones says.

"That's tough after working and being out in the world . . . but working in Nepal and the Peace Corps taught me a lot about where I want to go. I just had to take a step back and say, 'Okay. That's where I want to go and I have to go back and get this degree in order to go there,'" Jones says.

It was while working with a nurse practitioner for the Himalayan Rescue Association that she started thinking about becoming a nurse practitioner.

"I knew med school would be a huge bite, and I started looking into nursing. It has a really holistic model of the human," Jones says. She then met some inspiring nurses and when she came back to Montana started taking prerequisites for the nursing program at Flathead Community College in Whitefish. She decided to pursue the nursing degree and "trust that it would open doors back in Asia or somewhere else in the future."

"After being so transient, it was important to replant again. Here in Bozeman I had a really strong family of friends I could live with." The Lynchburg, Vir. native says working on a rural women's research project on chronic illness with Clarann Weinert was an eye-opener about research itself.

The research Jones helped analyze looks at whether social support via the Internet can help rural women with chronic illnesses. This "Women to Women" project created computer support groups and health education for chronically ill rural women who live at least 25 miles away from cities of 12,500 people or more.

"I learned a lot about real research," Jones says. "There is a lot that goes into the fine points, the consistency of questions, not predicting what you are going to find, and accepting what you do find. . . . It was nice to be involved in something that had a good purpose."

Jones plans to continue her education after getting her nursing degree, probably entering a two-year nurse practitioner's program, but is unsure of whether it will be at MSU or elsewhere.

"I do like the focus on rural health at MSU, because I want to live in a rural area. Being here was important after being so transient, but I may go to a different program for my masters. It can be good to see how nursing is taught in different clinical settings, for instance, how bruising looks on different skin colors and how other cultures define problems."

Ann Brandom Jones abj@mymail.msu.montana.edu, Elizabeth Nichols (406) 994-3784