You Should Know … Jordan Osterweil

Jordan Osterweil
Jordan Osterweil (Courtesy of Jordan Osterweil)

Proud Franklin High School graduate Jordan Osterweil wants to comfort patients during operations as an anesthesiologist.

After growing up in Owings Mills, 21-year-old Osterweil continued her education at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a senior, Osterweil is a molecular, cellular and physiological neuroscience major and minors in disability studies and humanities, health and medicine.

After college, Osterweil hopes to work in phlebotomy while applying for anesthesia school.

She lives in Owings Mills and attended Hebrew school at Beth Israel Congregation.

What do you plan on doing after graduation?

I’m certified as a medical assistant and phlebotomist. So I’m going to be working for a year while also applying to anesthesia school. [Anesthesia school] is more similar to [physician assistant] school than to medical school. I absolutely love, love, love pharmacology and organic chemistry, biochemistry, all of those classes. I definitely wanted to do something heavily involving direct medical treatment. The perfect mix for me is actually being in an operating room and administering medication, especially with pain management.

Why are you taking a year off anesthesiology?

To apply, I have to submit my application while I’m still in college. It takes a year and a half for the admissions process. Pretty much everyone does that. I would have had to apply mid-junior year if I didn’t want to do a gap year. It’s still too early [to know where I’m going to work next year] but there’s a big variety of places. I could work outpatient. I could work inpatient in a hospital. I could work at Quest labs or Labcorp. I’m excited because since my future job in anesthesia hopefully will involve a lot of needles, I need to become skilled at phlebotomy to be able to insert IVs, central lines, arterial lines and everything like that. So I’m excited to get really comfortable with that.

How are you feeling about being a senior?

It’s bittersweet. I lost my first year to COVID-19, but I was still on campus so I kind of got the experience. At this point, I’m ready to graduate. I really like school, especially my major. It’s such a small community. I actually popped by my adviser’s office today just to get some candy and say hi. It’s such a cute major. There are ice cream socials, and it’s really exciting because we’re the first graduating class. The major started when I was a freshman, so this is going to be the first four-year class of it.

When did you get interested in this type of medicine?

I have chronic pain, so being able to manage other people’s pain is definitely something that would be incredibly rewarding. Making patients feel comfortable during surgery is obviously very scary. The anesthesia team is with you before, during and after the procedure. They’re the one constant that’s there throughout the entire thing. They are the people who are talking to you beforehand, and they’re the people that wake you up and making sure you’re comfortable after. Of course, they also make sure you are safe throughout.

Do you think a lot of people don’t really know what anesthesiologists do?

Oh yeah, absolutely. A lot of people think it’s just sitting in a chair, playing on their phone or reading a newspaper during surgery. It’s actually so many different things. There are even different fields of anesthesia, like labor and delivery. The people who do epidurals and regional anesthesia for C sections, that’s a whole field of anesthesia. People who do anesthesia for things like dental work, where it’s more sedation. There are also nerve blocks and pain management, like injections directly into a big nerve in your leg. The anesthesiologist degree is a general degree similar to PA, so I would be able to work in any or all of the specialties rather than just having to choose one, which is really nice.

What is something that someone would be surprised to learn about you?

A surprise might be that I played violin for quite a few years, and I really, really enjoyed it. It kind of took a bit of a motivation hit during COVID-19. I got into this American Music Abroad national orchestra. We were going to go to Europe over the summer and play different concerts.

Because of COVID-19, it got canceled. During my first year at UMD, I couldn’t find an orchestra to play in and the dorm walls were very thin, so I didn’t really want to bother anyone. I think once I get more into my career, I will pick it back up because I love learning, and music is something that’s beautiful. It’s an important part of my life that I’m going to continue at some point.

Can you describe your relationship with Judaism to me?

I grew up going to Beth Israel synagogue and occasionally some Shabbat dinners. After my bat mitzvah, I stayed involved in Jewish organizations. In college, I had a bit of trouble trying to find my relationship with Judaism. There are so many organizations on campus. MEOR found me. I quickly became involved in J Health, the Jewish pre-health organization on campus. I started on board and most recently became the president. Last winter, I went to Poland on MEOR Poland, which is a really powerful Jewish history experience at different Holocaust sites and then I went to Israel for the very first time with MEOR as well.

Do you feel that MEOR has helped your college experience?

Definitely. I also have to give a shout-out to Hillel and Chabad. I would not have anywhere to go for services for High Holidays if there was no Hillel. Shabbat dinners are unmatched at Chabad like it truly is such a homey environment. I think all three [organizations] heavily contributed to my college experience.

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