Jessie is introduced as a nurse who has recently married up and coming surgeon Phil Brewer. The marriage causes a bit of a stir as Phil is seven years younger than Jessie and is known for his womanizing ways. Within a year, Phil cheats on Jessie with another nurse but returns to Jessie when she discovers that she is pregnant.
In 1964, Jessie suffers a miscarriage and separates from Phil. Jessie is one of the first people to discover that teenager Angie Costello is pregnant and she and Dr. Steve Hardy help Angie with her various problems. Soon afterwards, Jessie begins dating lawyer Lee Baldwin, a recovering alcoholic who volunteers as an addiction counselor at the hospital.
As Jessie and Phil's divorce is about to be finalised, Phil gets drunk and decides to win Jessie back. When Jessie refuses Phil's advances, he rapes her. The encounter leaves Jessie pregnant, and while Lee offers to marry Jessie and give their child a name, Jessie feels that she has no choice but to go back to Phil. Unfortunately Phil and Jessie's daughter, Nancy, is premature and dies shortly after birth. Jessie divorces Phil and resolves to move on with her life.
In 1967, Jessie marries John Prentice, a doctor with a teenage daughter, Polly. Sadly, Lee's brother, Dr. Tom Baldwin, diagnoses John with a terminal illness and John dies soon afterwards from a suspected drug overdose. A vengeful Polly blames Jessie and Tom and spreads lies that they are having an affair. Jessie and Tom are arrested for John's death and put on trial, but just as it looks like they will be convicted, Phil arrives with the evidence that proves that John had committed suicide, clearing both of them. A grateful Jessie ends up remarrying Phil but it isn't long before Phil returns to his womanizing ways--this time with Jessie's former step-daughter, Polly Prentice.
In 1969, Phil and Polly get into a car accident and Polly is killed. Fearing that he would be charged for Polly's death, Phil flees town and Jessie soon learns that he has been presumed dead in a plane crash. Jessie turns to Dr. Peter Taylor for support and the two soon marry. However, the marriage is invalidated when it emerges that Phil is alive and back in town.
Phil has been hiding out as a fugitive and sleeping with Diana Maynard until he learns that he had been cleared of any foul play in the death of Polly Prentice. Phil rushes to be reunited with Jessie but is left paralyzed in a car accident. When Jessie learns that Phil is alive, she once again feels obligated to return to her wayward husband. However, Phil's accident has left Phil impotent and this contributes to the demise of Phil and Jessie's marriage. However, the actual end doesn't come until Phil learns that Diana is pregnant with his baby and is marrying Peter Taylor to give the child a name. Jessie and Phil divorce for the final time.
Jessie soon finds herself another young "Phil" by the name of Teddy Holmes. Teddy, a handsome newspaperman and an adventurer in the worst sense of the word, first comes to General Hospital as a hepatitis patient. He immediately sees a way to exploit Jessie and her money in order to give him the independence he needs to get to the top of the literary world. Jessie invites Teddy to stay at her home during his recovery, even though friends such as Steve Hardy and Lee Baldwin try to warn her not to trust the man.
With the death of Jessie's widowed brother, she becomes the guardian of his two children, Carol Murray and Kent Murray. Teddy learns that Carol is to come into a large inheritance on her eighteenth birthday and schemes to win over the young woman, even though Carol distrusts him as much as Jessie's friends. Eventually Teddy is able to win Carol over and when Teddy tells Carol he is in love with her and not Jessie, Carol takes the bait. When they run away together Jessie is in shock, especially since she had co-signed a $25,000 loan for Teddy and is unable to pay it off. She turns to Lee Baldwin for help in paying off the loan.
Phil, meanwhile, has been making enemies left and right at General Hospital. One night in December 1974, Nurse Jane Dawson discovers Jessie cradling Phil's dead body, muttering "I'm sorry", over and over again. Phil had been murdered. Jessie is initially suspected of being the culprit and turns to Lee Baldwin for support. The two kiss but decide not to resume their earlier relationship.
Jessie is cleared when Diana confesses. However Diana isn't the culprit either; she merely confesses as she mistakenly believes that Peter has committed the crime and doesn't want Jessie or Peter to be convicted of the murder. In the end, Nurse Augusta McLeod is revealed as the woman who had killed Phil and Jessie began to move on with her life.
In 1978 Jessie takes in student nurse Bobbie Spencer after she is kicked out of her nurse's hostel for sleeping with Scotty Baldwin. Jessie becomes Bobbie's confidante but continually warns Bobbie that she won't stand for Bobbie schemes against Scotty or his girlfriend Laura Webber. Jessie proves her loyalty to Bobbie by sticking by her when Bobbie's past as a prostitute is exposed. Jessie also comforts Laura after she is raped, telling her that she isn't dirty even though Laura feels that she will never be clean again.
During this time Jessie dates Dan Rooney, an administrator at the hospital. Dan and Jessie eventually break up and Dan begins dating Ruby Anderson instead. During the 1980s, Jessie's appearances on the show become much less frequent. In 1993 when Angie Costello visited the hospital in honor of Steve Hardy's 30th anniversary, she asks about Jessie and Steve informs her that Jessie has died.