When Julia Darlak ’24 shadowed nurses as a high school student, she was surprised to meet so many who had earned their Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Immaculata.
“I was inspired by their devotion to their patients’ holistic well-being and safety. They poured so much love and generosity into their patients,” Darlak reflected.
She made it her goal to become a nurse herself. “What a gift it would be, as a nurse, to care not just for people’s bodies but for the whole person—their physical, mental, emotional, psychological and spiritual needs,” she said.
Darlak toured Immaculata and knew she wanted to become a student there. “I applied to other schools, but they were just back-ups. I could tell right off the bat this was such a welcoming, beautiful community to be a part of,” she said. “It’s so comforting to know that you’re not going to be hidden in a huge lecture hall.”
Some professors have checked in with her and asked if she was OK when they sensed she was struggling. Because of Immaculata’s small classes, “professors actually know you and your learning style,” she said. “I’m really inquisitive. And no one has ever said, ‘Julia, stop asking questions.’”
Darlak’s professors provide encouragement when she needs it. “With nursing, you have lives in your hands,” she said. “At one time, I was terrified to make a mistake. It helped to just talk with my professors about it.” Her instructors reassured her that errors are inevitable, and the nursing simulation labs are the place to practice. When Darlak and her classmates make mistakes, their professors gently correct them without judgment, “just sincere concern and care that we become the best nurses possible,” she said. With their help, she is learning to be patient with herself, move on and keep learning.
For Darlak’s Nursing Fundamentals course, Assistant Professor Suzanne Wurster, Ph.D., gave the class the option of discussing test answers with her. Darlak thought she had done well on an exam, but when she got her grade back, she realized she hadn’t. Wurster helped Darlak realize she was second-guessing her answers.
“Julia, you’re smart—just go with your gut!” Wurster advised.
“It was a very affirming, encouraging moment,” Darlak reflected. “So I’ve been doing better since then.”
At Immaculata, “you’ll meet such incredible friends, mentors and role models who will set you on a great track,” Darlak said. “You grow when you challenge yourself and continue to persevere through things that aren’t easy.”