(This week The Columbian-Progress spotlights Columbia Primary and Columbia Elementary School Nurse Jourdan Bullock.)
Q: When and where were you born?
A: I was born in Hattiesburg, June 4, 1985.
Q: Where did you attend school?
A: I attended school in the Columbia School District and graduated from Columbia High School in 2003. I then did a few years at Pearl River Community College in the surgical tech program then decided to go back to nursing school and graduated from Southwest Mississippi Community College.
Q: Where do you work? Tell us about your job/company.
A: I am the school nurse for both Columbia Primary School and Columbia Elementary School. I have several students that I administer medications to every morning. If they have diabetes or any kind of chronic illness, I take care of them and monitor things for them. I teach a health class at Columbia Elementary every afternoon, and we do things like first aid, handwashing and different things like that. I’m at the primary school from 7:30 until 11:30, then I go to the elementary school for the rest of the day. Anything they need they come to see me.
Q: What led you to your profession?
A: I was in pediatrics first working with Hattiesburg Clinic and I loved that job, but the commute was tough. I wasn’t able to make it to a lot of my child’s baseball and football games, and I missed being closer to my family. When this job came about, it was a way I could still work with children, be with my family more, spend time at home and make it to my son’s athletic events.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: The kids for sure. They’re just fun, they’re curious and they’re learning. It’s a happy place to be a nurse because sometimes nursing can be a sad situation and stressful. This can be stressful at times for sure, but the kids make it fun. They’re running around, and you hear them laughing, singing and learning. I get a big hug every morning from all of them. I guess going forward it will be an air hug.
Q: What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
A: Being the only medical personnel for a little over 800 students plus staff. At times that can be daunting. There’s been situations we’ve been in that it would’ve been great to have a physician I could turn to and ask his or her opinion.
Q: What is the most important lesson you have learned in your career?
A: With school nursing especially, I’ve learned to trust my gut. It’s hard sometimes for these children to articulate what is wrong. I’ve learned ways to assess them and talk to them to get them to tell me more about what’s going on, then I have to trust my gut when I think it’s something serious.
Q: When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A: I never knew what I wanted to do. I knew I was drawn to helping people and thought I wanted to be a helper. I worked in the medical field in several different aspects before I realized it was nursing that I wanted to do.
Q: What was your first job?
A: I worked for Shepherd’s Discount Drugs here in Columbia, working at the register and delivering medications.
Q: Who is the person who has been most influential in your life?
A: My dad, Dr. Oscar Smith, who is an optometrist here in town. I worked for him for 12 years, and he always taught us that if you wanted something to work hard for it. He told us to take care of our family and to be honest. I have a lot of respect for him, and I think a lot of people in the town do. I want to follow in those footsteps. He’s a man of his word, and that’s important.
Q: What is your spouse’s name?
A: Josh Bullock. We just celebrated eight years of marriage. He is a sales rep for Southern Beverage out of Hattiesburg.
Q: Do you have children?
A: I have one son, Luke, who is 16 years old. He goes to Columbia High School.
Q: If you could have anything for your last meal on earth, what would it be?
A: It’s not a specific food, but my mother-in-law, Linda Bullock, cooks Sunday lunch every Sunday. It’s always Southern cooking and traditional Southern food. She’s famous for her Sunday lunches.
Q: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: My son and I were supposed to travel to Europe at the end of May with his Spanish class at Columbia High School. It had always been on my bucket list to go to Europe, and I was excited to do that with him. We were going to Italy and Spain. That will be postponed because of COVID-19 until next summer. We’re supposed to go in June of 2021 now.
Q: What hobbies do you like to do in your spare time?
A: I hang out with my family and friends a lot. I enjoy a little workout class here at Champion’s Way.
Q: What do you enjoy about Columbia and Marion County?
A: When I took this job and came back, this school district has always felt like home to me. This is where I went to school and where my son has gone to school. A lot of my coworkers I’ve known my entire life and have even come through here when I was here or when my son was here. That’s something you don’t really find in larger communities. I like being in a small town and knowing everybody.
Q: If you could have lunch with anyone from your life or history, who would it be and why?
A: My mother, Theresa Smith, passed away when I was 21 years old. I would love to have lunch with her and tell her about my family. I think it would make her proud that I ended up going into nursing. I’d love to just sit down with her and just catch her up on all that.
Q: What moment in your life has had the biggest impact on who you are today?
A: Becoming a mother because when my son was born I grew up pretty fast after that. It forces to see that your needs aren’t the most important. Someone else’s needs are more important. I make mistakes daily, but because of him I keep trying. I want to be a better person because I want him to be a good human, and I want him to be proud of me.
Q: What is one thing you want to do that you’ve never tried?
A: We go to the balloon races in Natchez a lot, and I’ve always thought it would be really fun to go on a hot air balloon ride and never have. That’s on my list of things I want to try.
Q: Using one word for each, what are your top three morals?
A: Empathy, integrity and loyalty.
Q: How would you like to be remembered?
A: As someone who worked hard and was a good wife, mother and friend. When someone is scared or hurt, I hope I can be a bright spot in that time of their life. That’s why I became a nurse in the first place.
— Joshua Campbell