Nursing Powerful Connections

Jordan Anderson ’17, RN, is confident her time at Valpo helped her discern the path to her future as a nurse practitioner. Now back in her hometown of Rochester, Minnesota, Jordan is a floor nurse with hospice patients at St. Mary’s Hospital, part of the Mayo Clinic system, while she completes graduate school to become a nurse practitioner.

Her interest in pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner came during Jordan’s time at Valpo.

“I had a dream that my great-grandparents were sitting at a table talking about me and what I was supposed to do,” Jordan says. “The next day I had a home care clinical and I went to a patient’s home with the nurse I was shadowing. Her blood pressure was really low, so we called an ambulance for her. While we waited for it to arrive, I was holding her hand and talking her through the situation and what would happen in the next few steps. When I got back into the car with the nurse, she complimented my explanation of what could happen, but reminded me that as nurses, we treat the diagnosis, but we don’t diagnose. In that moment, I realized I would want to go back to school to do that. I want it to be in the realm of my responsibilities to diagnose patients to better help them.”

At Valpo, Jordan majored in nursing with a minor in theology. One of her favorite parts about working in hospice nursing is exercising holistic care, working with patients’ spiritual and emotional needs as well as physical.

“Working with people in hospice is a critical time. My goal is always to ease their anxiety, hold their hands, and walk with them down that path,” Jordan says.

Choosing nursing boiled down to relationship building for Jordan.

“My mom was a manager for a home care center and I worked with her as a certified nursing assistant before graduation. I loved the relationships I was building and how it made me feel,” Jordan says. “She helped me see that building relationships is a key part of what nurses do and it is a powerful connection.”

Lynette Rayman, DNP, RN, CNE, assistant dean of undergraduate nursing and assistant professor of nursing, is proud to have students like Jordan in class and as alumni.

“Jordan is a beautiful example of the ideals and expectations faculty and staff have for our College of Nursing and Health Professions alumni,” Professor Rayman says. “She has always exhibited the knowledge, compassion, and commitment to the nursing profession, not just as a career, but as a calling. Jordan embraces the connection between people that makes a stellar nurse but even more, a stellar person.”

In her current job at St. Mary’s Hospital Jordan utilizes critical thinking, a skill she developed at Valpo, to understand what is going on with her patients.

“The College of Nursing and Health Professions at Valpo did a great job of preparing me for the real world. Professors could teach us the perfect-world answer for an exam, but also alternatives for when things don’t work out exactly perfectly,” Jordan says. “Learning the mentality of an imperfect world may seem a bit depressing, but it is actually very important. It strengthened my critical thinking to acknowledge one plan of treatment might be most effective in a perfect world, but it isn’t a perfect world. It helps me find the best way to care for each of my patients.”

Jordan’s critical thinking helps her prepare for the next step in her career as a nurse practitioner as well.

“Utilizing my critical thinking regularly has been helpful in my graduate studies at the College of St. Scholastica, because I’ve already thought about some of the things we learn about in class,” Jordan says. “At Valpo I also learned I can always ask for help if I need it. That has empowered me in my graduate classes as well.”

Building relationships might be her current specialty, but Jordan is equipped to succeed in every step of her career thanks to her time at Valpo.