Erin Jundt, a junior in WSU's School of Nursing and future neonatal nurse practitioner.
Photo: Travis Gillespie
WSU nursing student youngest to lead nursing graduating class
Dec 13, 2013 3:17 PM | Print

There's a young woman turning heads at the Wichita State University School of Nursing; an exceptional student looking to make a name for herself and bring her classmates along for the ride.

Erin Jundt graduated from Derby High School as a junior. Now, at the age of 19, she's been elected president of the nursing class of 2015 – the youngest to earn that honor. She's intelligent, driven and humorous, and she has a clear vision of what she wants for her future. She's a Shocker success story in the making.

Jundt, a junior, is studying to be a nurse in a level-four neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where the earliest premature babies are cared for.

Her first choice for higher education was always Wichita State, she said, because she wanted to live at home but she also wanted a challenge. Jundt chose to study nursing because she wanted to be in a position that would require her to be the absolute best at her job.

"I'd heard that Wichita State was acclaimed for its nursing program, and it really is amazing," she said. "When you have a baby in the NICU, you want the person taking care of it to be super educated, and you want them to be the best. I want to excel. I want people to depend on me to do my job right."

Terri Core, one of Jundt's nursing instructors, says Jundt is a natural leader.

"When patients are asked to describe what it means to be a good nurse you hear adjectives such as kind, caring, compassionate and knowledgeable," Core said. "Erin demonstrates all of these qualities. It is hard to believe that she is only 19 years old. She has the maturity of someone with much more life experience. Her energy is contagious and her smile brightens the day. I have no doubt she will be successful in the path she has chosen."

Jundt has been on the Dean's Honor Roll every semester of her college career and has been a recipient of several scholarships, including the Sedgwick County Scholarship. She's a member of Nursing Christian Fellowship, Kansas Association of Nursing Students and the Dean's Student Ambassador Council.

Jundt joked that the reason she wanted to work with infants is because they aren't mean like older people. That sentiment developed out of her previous work history, which includes the grind of customer service as a restaurant server and as a movie theater manager. On reflection, she identified a different attraction.

"I've always been the baby of everything," she said. "I'm the baby of my family, of my graduating class and of the nursing students – I just have an affinity for little babies."

Family support

Jundt comes from a family of engineers, including her grandfather, father, uncles and four brothers, so working hard to succeed is familiar to her. They're all supportive of her decision to pursue a career in medicine, which she said makes it easier to keep her goals in sight.

Jundt also said she's grateful for her supportive boyfriend.

"He doesn't let me practice on him that much, but he's a pretty good support system. He plays his Xbox a lot so I can study."

After graduation, Jundt plans to work as an R.N. before returning to school for her doctorate. Her ultimate goal is to be a nurse practitioner.

As smart and hard-working as she is, Jundt says she has a lot of respect for her older classmates, many of whom do the same work with more challenging circumstances.

"Other nursing students work full time and have kids, and I have no idea how they do it," said Jundt.

For high school students thinking about a career in nursing, Jundt says she definitely recommends Wichita State.

"The teachers are training future nurses to take care of their loved ones, and they want us to be the best we can be," she said. "They're very connected with students. You really feel like they care about your career and they're really there to help."

Jundt also shared a few things she's learned in her career as a nursing student.

"You have to have a good work ethic," she said. "You don't just sit there and read books and take tests. We're actually in the lab putting in catheters and giving intramuscular injections. Real hands-on stuff. It's definitely worth it."

Created on Dec 13, 2013 3:17 PM; Last modified on Dec 13, 2013 3:23 PM
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