Jessica Carter, Rachel Prather and Ted Rogalski stand on a stage for a photo

Jessica Carter, Director of Nursing Services at Ferrell Hospital, Eldorado (center) stands with Rachel Prather, Chief Nursing Officer at Ferrell Hospital and Ted Rogalski, Administrator of Genesis Medical Center, Aledo and ICAHN Board President

The Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network (ICAHN) announced the “4 Under 40” Hospital Leadership winners, including Jessica Diane Carter, Director of Nursing Services, Ferrell Hospital, during the organization’s 20th Anniversary Annual Conference held November 28 and 29 at the I-Hotel and Conference Center, Champaign.

She is joined in this honor with Ashlyn Housewright, Executive Director of Community Health & Wellness, Memorial Hospital, Carthage; Lindsey Culver, Director of Radiology, Lawrence County Memorial Hospital, Lawrenceville; and Colton Anderson, Director of Clinic Services, Hammond-Henry Hospital, Geneseo.

Carter has been with Ferrell Hospital for 12 years and took on her current role at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was the forefront of leading the nursing staff and ensuring their safety, as well as providing high-quality patient care. She oversees the emergency, medical-surgical, operating room, safety, and education departments.

Rachael Prather, Chief Nursing Officer at Ferrell Hospital, has described Carter as “the most helpful leader in the hospital.”

She has provided her nursing staff with specialized training in pediatrics, neonatal, obstetrics, delivery, burn care, and many other areas. She has also led the operating room staff in training to expand the surgical services and orthopedic department to develop a robust program for post-operative patients that require hospitalization.

Carter is heavily involved with community outreach, providing training, education, and certification to nursing students, teachers, and first responders in CPR, ACLS, and PALS.

“Since the pandemic, our nursing staff feel more confident in caring for higher acuity-based patients because she was right there showing them that they could,” Prather said. “She is very respected, not only in the community, but also by her nursing staff. She makes herself available and is always a resource for them.”

Carter serves as Chair on the Southeastern Illinois Community College Advisory Committee and serves on the ICAHN Education and Nurse Leader Committees. She has also been awarded the Southern Illinois Heart of Healthcare Award in 2019, and Ferrell Hospital Employee of the Year in 202o.

ICAHN’s “4 Under 40” Hospital Leadership Award is open to new and emerging leaders aged 40 and under employed by an ICAHN member hospital or as a member of this hospital’s board for at least two years with a strong record of innovation and outstanding performance.

Located in Princeton, IL, ICAHN is a network of 59 small, rural hospitals dedicated to strengthening the operations of its member hospitals through collaboration. The organization is composed of Illinois hospitals who have earned critical access hospital designation by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and is recognized nationally for its work with rural healthcare, administering several state, federal, and private healthcare programs.