Nurse Practitioner Launches Nursing Conference Empowering Millennials
By Mariam Yazdi
She is intelligent, she is elegant, she is widely successful - and she's out to share that with all of us in the nursing community! Julia Eze, also known as The Nurse Julia, has created a brand that would make any millennial nurse #swoon. But not to worry, Nurse Julia is in the business to share the wealth of knowledge she has acquired, as well as the resources she has made along the way. Founder of The Nurse Link, Julia has eloquently formed a conference where nurses can come together and learn from each other; aspiring entrepreneurs, new graduate nurses, even students who are interested in getting into nursing school can come together and learn from those who have done it, who are doing it, and who have stories and advice to give. In this interview with Nurse.Org, Nurse Julia shares her story, how she took her business from idea to reality, and what motivates her to keep creating.
How it all started
MY: What inspired you to become a nurse?
JE: Initially I never considered nursing, I thought I would work on Wall Street. I loved history and economics and was interested in the corporate world and business. However, after delving into related coursework, I did not feel as fulfilled or inspired as I would've hoped. This doubt led me to explore other interests that felt bigger than myself. As a child, my mom used to care for sick relatives and those in need at church. I had a special encounter with a church member who had been hit by an 18-wheeler when she was just 19 years old, leaving her quadriplegic. I used to think, ‘wow if I were in her shoes I would be so bitter and upset.’ But she wasn't. She was so resilient and full of life and soon enough we became really good friends. A few years later when I found myself questioning my initial endeavors, I reflected back on my time with her and knew I was a nurse at my core. In addition to that, caregiving came naturally as I have four younger siblings.
MY: At what point did you decide you wanted to become a Nurse Practitioner?
JE: From the time I learned about the NP role in undergrad, I knew I wanted to be a nurse practitioner. I loved the autonomy of the NP role and I loved the fact that I could see patients on a more intimate level if I desired to, while having prescriptive authority and the possibility of opening my own practice. It just seemed like the best of both worlds.
MY: What inspired you to create the 'The Nurse Julia' brand you have now?
JE: A major role of the Nurse Practitioner is to promote health and prevent disease through education. While in grad school I did the majority of my clinical at an underserved clinic and I was able to witness the effects of health illiteracy and the detriment it has on patients. When I graduated from NP school, I knew I wanted to do something different. My background is Hematology/Oncology, but I wasn’t quite sure what opportunity was right for me. While I was trying to figure it out, I decided I'd make a social media page and begin educating the community in the meantime. I began making healthcare content such as videos referencing national guidelines around prevention and the rest is history.
Cultivating a new idea
MY: How did you create The Nurse Link?
JE: The Nurse Link was born out of my desire to create something that would be well suited for millennial nurses. By combining the legitimacy of a traditional nursing conference with socially hip elements, I quickly realized I was creating something that had never been done before. The goal has been to provide resources to nurses at all stages and to laminate the voices of professional leadership but also recognize nurses that lead informally by providing a platform for both. While it seems fairly normal now, when starting- events that brought together nurse influencers was unheard of. The Nurse Link has been truly disruptive and a leveler to say the least. The Nurse Link continues to inspire a new generation of public speakers, nursepreneurs and curators of innovation. Overall, the nursing community has become more accessible and collaborative and we're proud to help lead this shift.
Really, it was about identifying problems and find solutions for everyone, no matter what stage – nurse, student, or prospective nursing school applicant. It is something that I could have used myself when I was applying to nursing school. We all have different pain points along the nursing journey, and everyone’s experience has validity. Although we may all have our giants, how much more powerful can we become when we share our experience with other people?
MY: What are some of your secrets in juggling the various commitments?
JE: (Laughs) Well, if there is a secret, it would be that I’m very prayerful. When I set out to do a project, it doesn’t have to make sense, and everything doesn’t have to line up perfectly because I have a strong sense of faith; but I definitely have to rely on a higher power to maintain and I know that that’s my foundation and source of strength. Secondly, I’m nothing without my team. I’m very fortunate to have people around me that believe in what I’m doing. From day one they have been supportive and for that, I’m so grateful.
Motivation and aspirations
MY: What motivates you the most?
JE: Seeing something I've envisioned come to fruition it motivates me to do more. In business, when I look and see connections that have been made at The Nurse Link events, I feel as if the model has and continues to serve its purpose. As a nurse practitioner, I'm motivated by the power of health promotion and its potential to transform the lives of patients. As a woman, I'm motivated by imparting my experiences to fellow women as well as listening intently to the narratives of others. I believe empowerment is non-directional and can be sourced from the most untypical of places.
MY: What do you have planned for the future?
JE: I plan to continue to strive for work-life balance in my personal life. I do have some projects in the works, for both The Nurse Julia and The Nurse Link, but I can’t say much right now. It is my goal to grow both platforms by years end. I’m excited for what’s to come, it’s all been a great journey.
MY: What advice do you have for other nurses who may be aspiring to create a social brand within their nursing career?
JE: Do your research. When I have new ideas, I immediately do my homework and couple my findings with what’s happening in the field. I allow the research and my own nursing knowledge drive me. Never just pursue something because it sounds catchy or has worked great for someone else. It’s easy to get sidetracked and drawn into other avenues that may seem lucrative and trendy; however, you must stay true to your vision, your story. Be innovative. And lastly, write your ideas and plans down. There’s just something special that happens when you put the pen to pad. With every new idea, I buy a new notebook and that notebook becomes my bible for that project. So stay true to yourself, do the research, write everything down, draw pictures and put things on the wall where you can see them.
MY: What is the biggest advantage to attending The Nurse Link?
JE: Networking! We work really hard to connect people and provide resources for them to be successful on their nursing journey. Whether a participant in the event or an attendee - everyone walks away either having made a valuable business or personal connection, gained insight on the various nursing roles or pathways, or leave with an added layer of confidence about the field. Student nurses gravitate towards mentorship, test prep and scholarship opportunities, while the many seasoned nurses benefit from professional development and entrepreneurial advice.
Don’t miss The Nurse Link in New York City on Saturday, October 6th from 12pm to 5pm! Tickets are $35, and speakers include Wali Khan, Jannel Gooden, and Cat Golden, just to name a few!
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