Published: Sept. 5, 2017

Putting others first — it's the Spartan way

Contact(s): Jill Vondrasek Division of Public Health office: 810-600-9185

Shannon Inman works in the Cardiovascular Surgical Intensive Care Unit at the University of Michigan Medical Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She also works as an emergency room nurse as needed.

The wait staff bustled about the busy restaurant on a Saturday as patrons dined and the jazz band played. Shannon Inman was there with family members to celebrate her birthday. The waitress had just come to the corner booth to take their orders when there was a commotion, and then the band suddenly stopped playing. All activity in the restaurant came to a standstill.

The bass player had slipped off the side of the stage, and the waitress assured them that he’d be okay, as others were already gathered around to help. But Inman, an ER nurse, instinctively jumped up and went to check on the man. He was sitting up in a chair, alert and oriented, but he was cradling his left arm.

Another woman, who identified herself as a physician’s assistant, also ran to help. “I’m okay, but my wrist really hurts,” the man told them. Noting the already swollen wrist, Inman and the PA instructed him to go to the  ER and get his wrist looked at. After the “on-the-spot, inter-professional care team” splinted the man’s arm with towels, surrounded by bags of ice, the restaurant owner transported him to the hospital. 

“As a Spartan nurse — as a Spartan in general, really — I always try to help people," Inman says. "I try to be the best Spartan that I can be.

"That was ingrained in me from day one at orientation at Michigan State, and through the College of Nursing. You always do your best. Without that kind of training, I definitely would have been more hesitant to go over and help that man at the restaurant.”

Inman says she “fell in love” with nursing back in high school. She took advantage of a job shadowing opportunity and explored healthcare careers through an internship.

“My career path has not been something I planned out, other than I knew I wanted to go into emergency medicine after graduation,” Inman says. “Deciding to go into emergency medicine wasn’t a tough choice for me because I always had a lot of interest in it — the organized chaos of the department, not knowing what types of patients you were going to have that day, helping a broad spectrum of patients and ages.”

Her ultimate career goal is to become a part of U-M’s survival flight team.

“Nursing has been a great career choice for me," Inman says. "Somewhere along the line I remember hearing, ‘If you really like your job, you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I can say that’s a true statement. Every day, I look forward to going to work and taking care of my patients, and working with my co-workers as a team and a family.

“That experience in the restaurant has definitely prepared me even more; if something like that happens again, I’ll go help, I’ll be there,” Inman says. “Being in healthcare, I could choose to ‘leave work at work,’ but I also have the skills and the ability to help people, even when I’m not ‘on duty’ — which is really rewarding.”