The Importance of Nursing & Beyond


I know a few mentees either aspire to be a nurse, currently in nursing school, or just started their Nursing career. The purpose of these blogs is to touch on general topics that can help everyone such as home-buying, health, love, counseling, fashion, travel, etc. But I also interview experts in various career fields to help those mentees in that specific field. As a mentor I am not the expert in every single area, therefore, I bring in other experts to provide additional extensive information to provide a full experience.

This blog focuses on Julia M. Steed, PhD(c), MSN, FNP-BC, my Line Sister and her experience with nursing school, being a Registered Nurse, Nurse Practitioner, Professor, and Doctoral student. She started her career off being a Registered Nurse working as a hospital nurse of a medical/surgical floor. She gained a variety of employment experiences including Weight Loss, Urgent Care, and Integrative/Functional Medicine. She is currently employed part-time with an Internal Medicine physician who owns her own practice.

Julia's education:

Bachelors of Science in Nursing - Middle Tennessee State University - Dec 2006 - Board Certified Registered Nurse from 2007- present

Masters of a Science in Nursing - Vanderbilt University - Aug 2010 - Board Certified Family Nurse Practitioner from 2011 - present

Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing Science - Concentration in Health Services - pending completion Fall 2017.

As a doctoral student, my research interests include health promotion and prevention, population health interventions, evaluation for health intervention programs, and quality improvement. My dissertation research study was conducted to determine the influence of internal and sociodemographic variables on smoking-related health behaviors. I am in the dissertation writing stage and am projected to complete the requirements of my degree by October 2018.

I recently received an appointment to serve as a full-time faculty member at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing in the Family Nurse Practitioner Speciality Program. I began my career venture as an Assistant Professor on August 15, 2017.

1. What inspired you to pursue nursing?

There are two main reason. First, I have always had a desire to impact the lives of others by supporting a healthy mind and body. I wanted pursue medicine and become a doctor when I was a child. In high school, I learned that the purpose of Nursing is to provide holistic care for the entire person. Nursing philosophies aligned most appropriately with my ambitions. Second, my mother is a doctorally prepared nurse and educator. She is my SHE-ro and I am her biggest fan. I hope to one day become half the nurse that she is today.

2. What is the most rewarding part about nursing?

The most rewarding nursing experiences are created when I can help people feel empowered to improve their health status and feel supported to make a plan and follow-through.

3. What is your least favorite part about the nursing career field?

I do not enjoy receiving bad news about patients if they have experienced a major medical event or expired. I always find myself in reflection and considering what I could have done or said to change the outcome.

4. What is the best advice you can provide to mentees looking to aspire to being a Nurse and those just starting their RN careers?

If you aspire to be a nurse, it is very important that you pursue this career because you have a passion to serve others and a heart for empathy and understand. Nurses provide care for people during some of the most vulnerable times in their lives. One should not chose to be a nurse for financial gain alone. The money is not worth the hard work required to provide good, competent care. If you aspire to be a nurse, you should also maintain high scholastic achievement. Nursing schools are very competitive to get into and challenging to complete.

New nurses are the most ambitious people in the world and usually feel inspired to change the world. I want them to remember to not overburden themselves with over-working themselves and that you can only affect what you can touch or have control over. Stay inspired but be realistic.

5. What is the best advice to prepare for boards and other required test?

There are lots of resources available to prepare for certification exams which include websites with practice exams along with workshops and seminars that you can pay for. However, my best advice is prepare while you are still in school. Take excellent notes, gain clarity to understanding concepts that are challenging for you, and take practice exams throughout.

If you know content and need help with test-taking strategies specific to the exam, there are Kaplan and Hurst courses that are very helpful.

6. How do you balance work life, school, motherhood, and being a wife?

I BARELY balance the many different roles in my life. :) I try to handle each area with care and plan ahead to carve out time to dedicate to each. Sometimes, one area takes the priority temporarily but all roles must be managed effectively to achieve the success in life that I want for myself. I probably won't ever balance my roles perfectly but I try to do the best I can.

7. What advice would you give someone as far as becoming a nurse practitioner from a RN? How was your experience?

I would advise an RN to gain a few years of experience before becoming a nurse practitioner. Experience as a nurse on the hospital floor or in a healthcare facility is absolutely invaluable and supports the foundation you will need to be a great nurse practitioner. I am a product of my own advice. I worked for three years before starting graduate school and continues to work as a RN part-time through the nurse practitioner program.

8. How different is the experience with being a Nurse Practitioner verses RN?

Your responsibility as an RN is to manage the health-related tasks that are critical to support patient care. An RN is a patient advocate when communication with other providers and makes decisions that impacts the stability of heart and lung functions.

As a nurse practitioner, your job is to make decisions that benefit the patient and provide instructions for the RN and other support staff follow. The nurse practitioner must communicate clear goals and expectations to the patient and explain things in a way they understand. You have to act independently but are also expected to collaborate with other health care providers and specialist to coordinate the patient's health care. There is much more responsibility associated with being a nurse practitioner.

9. What separates your job role from a physician and physician assistance?

This a complicated question to answer but I will provide the most direct answer that I can think of...

A physician is trained to treat medical illnesses and is an expert in knowing how the body works even down to the cellular level. A physician's expertise typically places them in a supervisory position above nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Physician assistants and nurse practitioners typically function in the same capacity in a health care setting. They both see and treat patients for acute and chronic issues. They both prescribe medications. However, training, skills sets, and career options may differ. NPs are nurses first and are taught to treat the whole person meaning they fix what is going on physically while considering what other issues may be influencing their health. These influences may be cultural, social, or associated with their mental state. PAs are taught from the medical model and taught to approach an medical issue from what is going wrong internally, inside of the body. NPs have the flexibility of working an a variety of capacities outside of the hospital or a clinic. NPs can teach, do research, work in healthcare compliance or administration, manage clinical programs, and more.

10. Where did you compete your clinicals? Can you give me an interesting story about your time during clinicals?

I have gone through a lot of clinical rotations throughout undergraduate and graduate education programs. But, the most impactful clinical experience was at the Rutherford County Health Department as a nursing student. The clinic provided care to underserved, underprivileged, and undocumented patients. It was there that I found my passion for population health promotion and prevention.

11. What other information could you provide young women apart of AYCM Inc.?

I would like to just encourage the young women of AYCM, Inc to set high goals and do whatever it takes to accomplish them. And WHEN you experience set-backs and failures in the process remember that your testimony will one day a blessing to someone else.

Julia provided a lot of valuable information! I know you ladies will retain it and put it into action. Feel free to communicate or follow her on Instagram @jules_be.well or www.bewellbyjulia.com.

#nursing #doctoralstudent #professor #NursePractitioner #school #registerednurse

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