By Sadie All
Jan 10, 2022
At the sound of an alarm, Jordan Schuerman (’15), a neonatal pediatric transport nurse, races to gear up and hop into the IU Health Lifeline helicopter. Minutes later, she’s in the air, headed to save a child’s life. Sometimes Jordan needs a few deep breaths to calm her nerves, other times a ginger mint for motion sickness, but each time, she counts her blessings that she’s working her dream job.
“Honestly, when you get there and you see the [patients] for yourself, it can be pretty intimidating,” Jordan said. “Especially when kids are really sick and you’re trying to get them from point A to point B alive. That can also be a huge adrenaline boost.”
Jordan’s career as a pediatric transport nurse requires travel by helicopter or ambulance to transport kids in critical condition from one hospital back to Riley Children’s Hospital in Indianapolis. The kids are aged from newborn to 18 years old. She’s traveled as far as St. Louis and Cincinnati for transports.
Before making it here, Jordan was an honors nursing student at Indiana State.
“Nursing school is probably one of the harder programs, so it required a lot of my attention and there were a lot of nights that I was in the library studying,” Jordan said.
Initially, she didn’t want to be a pediatric nurse because it’s what “everybody wants.” Instead, Jordan built up plenty of credentials outside of pediatrics, prepping for multiple nursing avenues.
“The good thing about nursing is that you can hop around, there are a lot of options and diversity in what you can do.”
Jordan dedicated her time at State to the nursing program, Chi Omega sorority, and a campus ministry group. She admits, her time was spread thin, but she was determined to get the most out of her college experience and become the best nurse she could be. By her senior year at State, Jordan had worked as a teaching assistant and served an internship in Indianapolis.
“The professors were great. I feel like I had a really good support team and they were super encouraging. I was like, ‘I can do this. I can be a nurse, I can do a good job.’”
Fueled by caffeine, energy drinks, and lack of sleep, Jordan thinks she did “do it all,” but her health took the short end of the stick. She developed autoimmune issues, something she’s still learning to cope with today. However, the time Jordan put in landed her a job opportunity after graduation to work in the burn unit at Regional One Health in Memphis.
“I’m an adrenaline junkie,” Jordan admits. “I basically was like, ‘What’s the most intense job?’”
Jordan loved not only working with burn-unit patients physically, but mentally. It was whole care of the patient. She helped them overcome trauma and cope with pain. Jordan says the job was taxing, she worked in hot rooms and often had to lift patients’ limbs, but she says it was worth the effort.
“To see somebody go from that [beginning] state, to being able to walk out of the hospital is pretty incredible. It’s a miracle. I was really excited that I could be a part of that.”
After a little over a year in the burn unit, Jordan went to other Memphis hospitals to work in the PICU, and she also worked with sedation at St. Jude. By that time, she and her husband wanted to be closer to home in Indiana. Jordan applied for a job as a transport nurse at Riley Children’s Hospital and got the gig.
With her collective experiences both studying and embodying life as a nurse, Jordan has learned a thing or two. Most importantly, she now knows when it’s time to make space for herself. Some days that looks like a kickboxing or yoga class, ditching caffeine for a warm cup of tea, or leaning into her church and community for extra support. Other days, she might spend time at the nail salon or talk with her therapist.
Jordan has also grown from her college mentality of trying to “do it all,” to focusing on doing a few things really well, or frequently, like traveling. She says that’s one perk to working three 12-hour shifts in a week. There’s more time to build in trips. So far this year, Jordan has been to a state outside of Indiana each month. That includes New York and California.
“I really like to explore and see the beauty of different places,” Jordan said. “We went to Seattle back in March and saw the mountains and it was beautiful. Taking those moments to kind of step away, refresh and just soak in just other places of beauty, if it’s a city skyline, or a hike, or just something in nature, it gives me more peace to be able to come back and feel refreshed and ready to go here.”
Jordan acknowledges that many nurses have left the field altogether with the stress of the pandemic. It helps when she remembers her ‘why.’
“At the end of the day, there is somebody out there, a baby that’s waiting,” Jordan said. “There’s a purpose. We are important, we are needed.”
In the meantime, being a neonatal pediatric transport nurse is Jordan’s favorite job so far. However, with her credentials, there are still other avenues that her education and workplace experience could take her.
“I’m only 28,” Jordan said. “I could be here forever. Or, I could rest knowing that I’ve done my dream job.”