Alumnus Jordan Barney steps into medical residency

Nov 09, 2021
Jordan Barney

Jordan Barney enjoys working through problems and helping people in the process. That’s why he decided to become a doctor — so he can do that every day.

To begin his journey toward becoming a physician, Barney enrolled at Newman University as a biology student.

“My experience at Newman was the foundation for everything I’ve gone through so far,” he said. “I think it’s the place to go as a pre-med student in Kansas.”

A unique undergraduate experience

Barney felt his classmates were outstanding and went out of their way to help him create an MCAT study plan, as well as work through the “confusing” medical school application process.

“I felt a sense of camaraderie rather than competition with my classmates,” he said. “I also had some great mentors and professors who inspired me when I was feeling overwhelmed. Not only did I survive, but I thrived in organic chemistry thanks to Dr. David Shubert’s flipped classroom model. Physics and general chemistry were actually fun rather than scary. Dr. Michael Bradley was a great mentor, research instructor and adviser to me. I felt like he knew exactly what I needed to take to be successful in medical school.”

Professor of Chemistry David Shubert
Professor of Chemistry David Shubert

Barney truly enjoyed the courses he took that combined multiple areas of study. For example, he took a class that highlighted the differences and similarities between science and religion.

“I think those classes are special because they stimulate the mind to think in ways that I wouldn’t normally think in an otherwise black and white, left and right society,” he explained. “This open way of thinking is a very important part of being a physician because you will come across people from all backgrounds and cultures.”

Finding his niche

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree in 2014, Barney went to The University of Kansas School of Medicine. He said this experience was one of the most challenging, yet memorable, times of his life.

“The entire process was humbling, but something I would never change,” he said.

Barney had a difficult time settling on a specialty but ultimately chose to go into radiology during his fourth year after being mistakenly placed in a radiology rotation, which turned into “love at first sight.”

“There are so many things to love about radiology, but one thing that I enjoy the most is how many opportunities there are to perform procedures and even interact with patients,” Barney said. “I think we get a reputation of being the people who sit in a dark room all day. While that’s mostly true, there are still plenty of opportunities for patient care in the procedural setting. I also love the fact that I get to be involved in helping nearly every patient who comes through the hospital.”

Entering residency

Barney is currently doing his residency at Southern Illinois University School of Medicine, which has been “exhausting and difficult.” As a radiology resident, Barney is required to do an intern year in general medicine before he can start his specific radiology training. He’s currently five months into the internship — one of the more challenging years of residency.

Jordan Barney and his growing family.
Jordan Barney and his growing family.

“The expectations are so much higher compared to medical school,” Barney said. “I have a true responsibility for my patients and actually make decisions that could impact a person’s life. My wife and I also moved from Wichita to Springfield, Illinois, with our newborn baby at the start of residency, so we had, and still have, a lot working against us.”

Despite all this, Barney has met amazing and talented people and enjoyed his work, which makes it all worth it. Once he finishes his residency, he hopes to move back to Kansas to practice as a radiologist at a Veterans Affairs hospital, as well as participate in medical school education.

To the pre-med students at Newman who may be experiencing self-doubt about their ability to get through the rigors of medical school, Barney has some advice.

“I just want you to know that these feelings are perfectly normal,” he said. “I want you to know that you are worthy, that you are good enough, that you can work hard enough, and you are smart enough to take this journey. I also want to let you know that these feelings will never fully go away, but you can minimize them by taking care of your mental and physical health. The most important lesson that you can learn before medical school is to only compare yourself to who you were yesterday.”

The most important lesson that you can learn before medical school is to only compare yourself to who you were yesterday.”

Jordan Barney

Keep calm & get into med school

Whether you’re about to start high school or have recently graduated college, you’ve probably heard how important it is to plan ahead, especially if you’re looking to tack “M.D.” behind your name.

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