Posted on Jan 9, 2019

Former Football Standout Finds Niche in Nursing

Former Football Standout Finds Niche in Nursing

USF nursing student Taylor Jordan has spent most of his adult life looking for the right team, the right school, and the right fit.

He admits that he has found all of those things at the USF College of Nursing.

Jordan is set to graduate in May under the accelerated second degree program, a conclusion of sorts to his long journey into nursing.

A graduate of Durant High School in Plant City with a 5.0 grade point average, Jordan began his college education at Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio, where he played linebacker for the football team for two years. After adjustment to college life derailed his academic and football career, Jordan turned to Hillsborough Community College to continue his education while pursuing football with the semi-professional Tampa Bay Hurricanes.

His skill on the field as a long snapper attracted the attention of Division I football programs, eventually taking him to the University of Houston, where he continued his efforts to reach the National Football League. Jordan declared for the NFL in 2011, but went undrafted and unsigned.

The 30-year-old continued to train for five years before ending his candidacy for a professional career and returning to Tampa. After having earned most of his college credits in the field over the course of his moves, Jordan quickly earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from USF along the way in 2012.

Originally pursuing a biology major at Otterbein, Jordan had always seen himself working within physiology. Once he ended his football career and began to reconsider his options, he made a realization after undergoing a spinal fusion in 2016.

Jordan said that he “could not stare at a microscope for eight hours a day,” and preferred to “actually get to know people.” Noting that physicians are often in and out with numerous patients, he wanted to be a part of the person-first nature of care, like those who cared for him.

“The nurses were the sweetest, nicest people making my recovery better. Just helping make me feel brand-new,” he said. “I was like, ‘Why don’t I do that?’ ”

Nursing has also catered to Jordan’s sports background, where each team member works toward a common goal. At the College of Nursing, he has taken on leadership roles, serving as president of his cohort and treasurer of the Nursing Students’ Association.

“You are part of a team, but you have to do your job well,” he added. “I think that has prepared me in ways that can’t be really understood unless you’ve done it. It doesn’t have to just be sports, but anywhere you’re part of a group.”

Jordan likened the role of a nurse to that of his role as a long snapper, and all special teams’ players on a football team.

“Unsung heroes of teams, because whenever it is a close game, who do they call? The kicker. Nobody cares about the holder or the snapper, and I’m OK with that,” he said, laughing. “They shouldn’t hear my name. If they hear it, I did a very bad job.”

Of course, the team dynamic does not function unless all its parts are strong, including leadership.

Jordan has had plenty of experience, having moved between multiple schools, and maintains that the leadership is strongest at USF.

“I have been to more schools than most people will ever go to, and I have not found more professors who are more connected to the students than in the College of Nursing,” he said.

Story by Alex Hooper, USF College of Nursing