Jan Supan, a pediatric intensive care unit nurse at Brandon Regional Hospital, grew up in Ellwood City, Pa. and attended Theil College in Greenville, Pa. where she received a bachelor’s degree in nursing. She moved to Tampa in 1994 to escape the cold weather and get closer to the beach. Supan and husband, Jeff, were married 12 years ago and they have one son, Luke, who is 9.
Q: How did you become a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit?
Answer: I have worked in pediatrics since I graduated college. I worked on a general pediatric floor for five years. I saw how the other nurses loved working in the pediatric ICU and how great they were, so I decided I wanted to do that. I started working in the pediatric ICU in 1997 and have loved it ever since.
Q: It must be an emotional job at times. How do you deal with that?
Answer: Emotions can run high in a pediatric ICU setting. When I am at work, it’s about the child who is in the hospital while supporting the family. One has to put their emotions aside and focus on the “critical child.” It’s never emotionally easy but it’s rewarding to make a difference. Outside of work I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, going to the gym and enjoying the outdoors. This balance allows me to recharge emotionally.
Q: What part of your job brings you the greatest feeling of accomplishment?
Answer: Although caring for sick children is not easy, I have a lot of experience and being able to make a difference matters. There is nothing better than seeing a critically ill patient leave the pediatric ICU with his or her family, knowing they will fully recover.
Q: What makes a great pediatric nurse?
Answer: The child comes first, but as a pediatric nurse, you care for the entire family. Pediatric nurses enjoy children of all ages and are eager to make a difference.
Q: In relation to your job, if you got to choose, where would you like to see more research focused?
Answer: Children with congenital diseases were, in the past, not living to be young adults as they do today, such as children with congenital heart defects and cystic fibrosis. The number one area I would like to see continued strides made in is children’s cancer and continuing to work on developing protocols and cures for our pediatric patients.