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IU 2024 Graduate Profile: Julia Hallman, B.S.N.

Julia Hallman

Julia Hallman ’24 knows the value of support systems, both for herself as a student and for her patients. When she felt drawn to the field of nursing, she looked for a program that would support her as she tackled the challenge of preparing for a demanding career.

After she earned a behavioral neuroscience degree at a liberal arts college, she wanted to pursue a nursing career. She researched programs and settled on Immaculata’s second-degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing, noting its affordable tuition and the small class sizes, usually about 30 students.

“You know your professors, and they know you,” she said. “They’ll encourage you and guide you in the right direction.” Hallman appreciated their help, along with the encouragement of her classmates, during the intense 15-month program. “Having a support system is very important during this program,” she said. She spent much of her first semester figuring out a balance of studying, working part-time and managing other aspects of her life, and she gradually settled into a rhythm.

As she progressed in the program, Hallman discovered how much she enjoyed helping people and making a difference in both their physical and mental health. “You’re giving them their medications, and you’re doing assessments, and you’re making sure that their overall health is improving. But I also think there’s a social and emotional aspect that a lot of people don’t think about,” she reflected.

When Hallman completed a community clinical experience for one of her classes, she noticed that her patients didn’t have adequate support systems and often didn’t have someone to talk to. Drawing on her training in holistic nursing, she found it rewarding to connect with those patients and find things in common. “You’re going to improve faster if you think the nurse actually cares about you and hears your concerns,” she said.

Similarly, Hallman improved as a student thanks to the caring way her instructor Venus Smith, associate nursing faculty, delivered feedback as students tried out new skills. “Professor Smith was good at throwing us into things,” Hallman said, mentioning that Smith demonstrated procedures and then asked students to follow her example. On their first try, students often made mistakes, and Hallman said Smith affirmed her students while asking them to think about how they could improve the next time or sharing what she would have done differently.

Smith, a certified pediatric nurse, has encouraged and mentored Hallman, who wants to specialize in pediatrics. Hallman completed a clinical rotation in a cardiac stepdown unit at a children’s hospital and reflected, “You have a lot of very, very sick kids, and some don’t have a support system. I’ve learned so much, because every single nurse there is so supportive and so helpful.”

At the beginning of the clinical experience, Hallman administered medications and feedings under supervision and documented clinical information for patients. After a month at the hospital, her assigned nurse allowed her to take the lead in caring for three patients and prioritizing tasks. She analyzed electrocardiogram strips and identified premature atrial contractions in a patient. She also progressed to independently administer patients’ tube feedings and medications. “I feel more prepared than ever to become a registered nurse,” she said.

As she prepares to take the nursing licensure exam and enter the workforce, Hallman looks forward to the support she will have through Immaculata’s network of nursing alumni. “A lot of times, even if a nurse didn’t graduate from IU, they know someone else who did. It’s nice that you can build connections.”

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