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And the question is, “Who is Joanne Mercer, BSN?”

Okay, our Nurse of the Week did not win Jeopardy! on Monday night, but she made an impressive showing in a battle of Ohio natives. The 21-year-old nurse faced a now-famous Jeopardy! juggernaut, the seemingly unbeatable Amy Schneider—a transgender engineering manager who amassed the second-highest number of consecutive wins in the show’s history. And even if your mother always dismissed second-place Jeopardy! contestants because they don’t collect any winnings, it was Mercer, NOT Schneider, who scribbled the correct Final Jeopardy question in the end.  Because a cool-headed nurse is going to get a lot of correct answers, even when competing against a record-breaking champion.

Prior to the game, Mercer added a Jeopardy! logo, a photo of late host Alex Trebek and a trademark Jeopardy! answer and question (“This person just graduated nursing school.” “Who is… Joanne Mercer, BSN?”) to her graduation cap.  She’s currently dividing her time between working as a Unit Clerk/Nurse Aide at ProMedica Russell J. Ebeid Children’s Hospital in Ohio and studying hard to attain her goal of becoming an RN in a neonatal ICU (NICU). “I had to miss a couple of my exams to be able to do this [i.e., go on Jeopardy],” Mercer told local interviewer Jaden Jefferson. As game shows tend to be Top Secret before they air, the young nurse couldn’t even provide an explanation. “I had to be like, ‘Hey, Dr. M. I have something going on – and I can’t tell you about it…'” Mercer had three balls to juggle, as Jeopardy competed for time with her duties at the hospital and nursing school, but at least she can now reveal all to Dr. M.

“It’s the biggest adrenalin rush that I’ve ever had!”

Mercer has dreamed of being on Jeopardy! for “a long time,” she says, but she had figured that it would remain a dream. In her case, the inspiring figure was not a mom, though. It was a grandma! “I watched it a lot with my grandma,” she recalled. “I’m an only grandchild, so I spent all my time with her, and we would always watch it as I was growing up. So I thought it would be super-cool to go on one of my grandma’s favorite TV shows.” Is grandma proud? Well, “she was telling strangers about it at the grocery store,” according to Mercer.

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Her sorority sisters were psyched as well. “I’m usually a homebody,” Mercer said, so when she went missing for a couple of days – and returned carrying a big suitcase – they knew something funny must be going on. Her co-workers at the hospital would try to trip her up with questions about the show and her nursing manager begged for inside dope on what happened, but she remained mum until the producers finally allowed her to share the news.

What was it like to be ON the show? “It’s the biggest adrenalin rush that I’ve ever had!” The iconic set that she’d seen since grade school almost gave her goosebumps.

So, BSN student Joanne Mercer made her grandma happy, had a fine showing on a historic game show episode, overcame her acrophobia enough to board a plane (travel nursing is probably not in her future), and was so clearly pleased just to be there that the audience couldn’t help but feel the same way. AND she was the only contestant to come up with the correct question for the Final Jeopardy answer, so her grandma will have bragging rights for a very long time.

Congratulations, Joanne!

And we hope you made up those exams you had to miss!

In case you are wondering what the answer and questions were in her Final Jeopardy round, by the way, here they are…

Answer: Named for a benefactor, it was established in 1893 to house artifacts from the nearby World’s Columbian Exposition.

For Joanne’s correct response, click here.


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Koren Thomas
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