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Pediatric Nursing

Julia Brown

BSN '13

What drew you to this career?

My favorite part of nursing school was the pediatric rotation and capstone in a NICU [neonatal intensive-care unit]. I knew then and there that I loved to help children and their families. I knew it would be a specialty I would enjoy and flourish in.

How did you prepare for it?

After school I applied for a nurse residency program at Duke University Hospital in hopes to start my career in pediatrics. I was accepted to their pediatric float pool position! Through the nurse residency I took many classes, earned certifications and was oriented to multiple units including the PICU, NICU, PCICU (pediatric cardiac ICU) and the general pediatric floors. It was a busy first year but I learned more than I ever imagined. I could not have been better prepared to begin my nursing career in pediatrics. I highly recommend nurse residency programs to new graduate nurses. We learn so much in nursing school, but nothing prepares us for the highly specialized areas of nursing that exist and the consistent amount of critical thinking we use.

What do you like the most about this career?

I enjoy the rewards that come with helping a sick child and being there for their families. Yes, there are many days that are hard, but there are also very rewarding days. Kids are very resilient; they amaze me every day by how they respond to the toughest of situations.

What are the biggest challenges?

Working as a float nurse, I am constantly adjusting to different units and different patient populations. I have to be very flexible. This aspect of my career makes my job challenging, but also very rewarding. Experienced nurses often forget I am a new graduate nurse, and that is always an amazing compliment, especially working as a float nurse fresh out of nursing school.

What advice would you have for a student interested in this field?

If I could give a student one piece of advice, it would be to go after your dream specialty and make sure you choose something that you will love doing. It makes all the difference to the care given to patient when a nurse truly enjoys their job. Always know that this is a career where education never stops, and patients, families, residents, and fellow co-workers will be coming to you for advice. Nurses hold a profound amount of knowledge and insight about our patients.

Extra info about Julia Brown:

I am a mother of a wonderful 5-year-old daughter. She continuously tells me she wants to be a “doctor AND a nurse” when she grows up. I only hope I can show her the passion I have for my job, and that one day she will have the same passion and follow her dreams to accomplish great things!

Julia Brown and daughter

Julia Brown and daughter
"Kids are very resilient; they amaze me every day by how they respond to the toughest of situations."

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