#IAmWMC: Jordan Sjulestad, registered respiratory therapist

By Kristy Bleizeffer Nov 25, 2019

Jordan Sjulestad used to take photos of his car in the Wyoming Medical Center parking garage. Between working full time in the WMC kitchen and earning his degree in respiratory therapy, Jordan was here almost every single day.  Some days, his was the first car here and the last car to leave.

Jordan has worked at Wyoming Medical Center for 14 years, starting in the kitchen three days after his 16th birthday. He began by mopping floors and emptying trashes. Then, taking patient orders and delivering meals to the floors. One day, he saw a respiratory therapist respond to a code  -- a medical emergency inside the hospital requiring a team of providers to quickly respond.  He thought, “That is exactly what I want to do with my life.”

“With codes, you get to see everyone come together as a team. Even when it’s chaotic, it’s organized chaos. Everyone is working toward one goal,” Jordan said. “The fact that it is literally life or death makes it more exciting, but it’s also my purpose in life.”

Jordan worked in WMC’s Nutrition Services for seven years, part of which while attending Casper College’s respiratory therapy program full-time. He graduated with his associate’s degree in respiratory therapy in 2014.

Respiratory therapists specialize in the assessment and treatment of the cardiopulmonary system, including the heart, lungs and the vessels that transport oxygen throughout the body. They administer medications, set up ventilators, perform breathing treatments and respond to codes throughout the hospital.  They are not confined to one department, but float between floors wherever they are needed. In the course of a day (or a morning or afternoon), they may travel between the Emergency Room, to ICU, to the nursery. They work with patients of all ages, from newborn infants to senior citizens in respiratory distress.

“Our work differs day by day, which is one of the best parts of our job,” Jordan said. “We see people from their very first breath of life and sometimes to their very last.”

Jordan is now working on his bachelor’s degree in healthcare management and administration, and he plans to pursue his master’s degree in the future. But, he has no plans on leaving his position or Wyoming Medical Center anytime soon.

“I literally grew up here. There are people here that I’ve known since I was 15 years old. They’ve become my family. I’ve had the chance to go other places, but I can’t imagine being somewhere where I don’t know the people I’m working with,” he said.

“This work takes a village, and I can’t see myself doing it anywhere else. I am very proud to work in the biggest, best hospital in the state.”