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Jones Memorial nurse meets celebrity Jen Hamilton after viral video and a Sun connection



A feature story on the Wellsville Sun on Alycia Frost, a registered nurse in the maternity department at Jones Memorial Hospital in Wellsville, garnered a nice reaction on social media with some likes and comments.

But one reaction was like no other. A video was made by Jen Hamilton, a charge nurse for Cone Health in North Carolina who now works in maternity.

Hamilton also has 3.4 million followers on the social media channel TikTok and another half million combined on Facebook and Instagram. She is a celebrity to not only nurses, but moms and anyone who balances life and work. Her videos are informative, funny and sometimes, emotional.

She appears on Good Morning America and is a featured speaker at conferences across the nation. But she also read the Wellsville Sun story on Frost when she received a Google alert.

In the story (CLICK HERE) Frost simply answered some questions from Suzanne Male, the community relations and marketing coordinator at Jones Memorial Hospital.

The questions were simple enough, asking about favorite food, hobbies and why she likes working at Jones Memorial. But one answer about meeting Hamilton triggered a Google alert in Hamilton’s inbox. She went to the Wellsville Sun and figured it was a mistake. Until she got to the part where Frost wanted to meet her. Frost said her bucket list item was to hear Jen Hamilton speak at the AWHONN (Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal) convention in Arizona.

Hamilton posted this video below which was viewed almost 1 million times with 90,000 likes on Instagram and almost 100,000 views on TikTok. (story continues after video).

I did not know Jen before the video, but I certainly know who she is now. I was tagged by a lot of people on Facebook and of course, the Sun was also tagged. I first called Alycia for her reaction..

“My phone was blowing up the next day…. At first I thought it was a scam, and, I couldn’t check TikTok,” Frost said. “My daughter is 8, likes to go on my phone, so I erased my TikTok because of adult content. It took 20 minutes to get signed back into my TikTok, I saw it and said, ‘No way … she has 3.3 million followers!’ “

The bucket list was reality.

“A day before Jen posted that on TikTok, some of us (maternity nurses at Jones Memorial) were looking into going. Flights were expensive and the convention was $600 if you weren’t a member,” Frost said. “My boss (Amanda Green, who nominated her for the spotlight story) was looking into it because Jones Memorial does have a program for continuing education, but a lot of us wanted to go.”

Strangers became her friend. 

“And now I have so many random people trying to follow me. One person wrote ‘I want to get her to the convention. help me get there!’ While that’s sweet, you never know who to trust. People wanted to set up a GoFund Me, I feel really weird about that, Those are for things that are horrible or tragic,” Frost said.

When I heard Alycia talk about not wanting to take money that could go to people in need, I had to ask her about nursing.

Sure enough, she told story after story about her love of the patients and her co-workers. She worked in the trauma unit at an intensive care unit (ICU) in Buffalo and was now a maternity nurse.

“Reading the insane number of patient comments, gets me emotional, thanking me and our department … I think i’m good at my job and our departments is incredible, but it’s so nice to see we made a difference,” Frost said. “I got to read all the comments on that post and others after all of this.”

I could not let this viral moment die. I reached out to Jen, figuring with her job, her social media and being a mother and a wife, it was a long shot. She emailed me immediately and we exchanged cell phone numbers. I told her about Alycia. Meanwhile Alycia had no idea we were talking.

Alycia then sends me an excited text, “Jen Hamilton is following me on TikTok!”

I talked to Jones Memorial Hospital CEO Jim Helms and HR director Kris Green about Alycia’s story and how she didn’t want people to donate. They felt the hospital should get the nurses to this conference. So did the app Baby360. The social media manager for Baby360 commented on the video, but also worked with Jones to take care of part of the costs. The wheels were in motion.

It was now time for me to understand Jen Hamilton. Alycia started texting me her favorite TikTok’s.

“She’s funny, if you siphon through her videos, so many are hilarious moments working in maternity, and one video she talks about eating month-old beans,” she said. “But the one that hit home, she was crying in her car, from the emotional strain of dealing with a patient when there was a stillborn at birth … As nurses, we don’t always talk about the sad stuff, it seems like the best job ever, and it really is the best job ever, but when it’s bad, it’s really bad.”

Jen Hamilton’s teaching and videos get those nurses through the “really bad” stuff. Alycia said “Jen is super educational” then turned to her bucket list and said, “We will see how it plays out, but I know one way or another we are going to get there.”

Now it’s time to talk to Jen who works for Cone Health, a not-for-profit network of healthcare providers serving residents in central North Carolina. Like Alycia, Jen worked in a tough area, a nurse in an emergency room, before moving to maternity.

“I get several alerts, people will write an article on a video I did, but this alert from the Wellsville Sun kind of stuck out cause it didn’t seem like it was about me at all,” Hamilton said. “It was from a smaller news organization. I was so honored to see my name brought up in that way.”

Like Alycia, Jen said, “I used to work in trauma like she did, you kind of get that excitement, every day is different, You have all situations. I find, no one is happy to be there. But most people are happy on a labor and delivery unit because something special is going to happen … And there is a lot of excitement and happiness!”

As we talked about Alycia, Jen said, “She sounds like someone I want to be friends with. I really hope we get to meet at the AWHONN convention.

Thanks to Jones Memorial Hospital and Baby 360, it was going to happen. Frost, Amanda Green, Cierra Dean and Claire Gardner, all nurses in labor and delivery at Jones were on their way to Arizona.

Jen then sent this video to me (story continues after video):

And they all met at the convention, but the main goal also took place, she heard Jen speak.

And they met.

The meeting!

After the meeting, Jen posted this video:

The world is falling in love with the Jen and Alycia story once again.

From left, JMH maternity nurses Amanda Green, Ceirra Dean, Alycia Frost and Claire Gardner in Arizona

But as a reporter, I kept wondering how a charge nurse became famous.

Jen explained, “I had told myself, I am not downloading TikTok, I already have Facebook and Instagram. But when the world shut down, I said ‘I might as well download it.’ I expected to see people dancing and silly pranks Instead, I saw people not only sharing their experiences on labor and delivery from a patient perspective, but people were consuming education information.”

And like the rest of us during the pandemic, we saw things that were not accurate being shared on social media.

“Some was not correct, some was from experts in the field. I thought, ‘Why can’t I be the person who gives correct information and correct the misinformation?’

From there, Jen used her sense of humor to build up a loyal base of followers. 

“People latched on to that, but then I got deep with things that scare people, and give context to things people have been through,” she said. “I watched videos of birth stories and people said how traumatic it was. I was waiting for stories and questions on emergency c-sections … but what it was, was normal birth situations, people didn’t know what to expect. They were not explained things in a compassionate or empathetic way, so that’s when I started posting that kind of stuff.”

When you have 3.3 million followers on one social media page alone, you will get haters and negative comments.

“As things stated to progress, some things came up. But something my mom said changed the game. She said, ‘Freedom is giving others the permission to misunderstand you.’ If you give them the permission it takes away that negative feeling,” Hamilton said.

I asked Jen if she has achieved the goal she set when she started social media.

Her response sounded exactly like something her new friend Alycia would say.

“Sometimes I have to pinch myself,” Hamilton said. “I get to do what I love to do, be by the bedside of patients I care for and teach other nurses so they have the tools in their tool box to compassionately care for the patients they can see.”

Photos from the convention courtesy Alycia Frost and Jen Hamilton:

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