ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: From Bedside to the Boardroom
When Julie Lynch was in high school, a family member’s illness enlightened her to the difference that great nurses can make. A couple years later, when she attended the University of Iowa College of Nursing, Lynch realized that she also wanted to be someone making a difference in health care.
Lynch (BSN ′03), who grew up in Clive, Iowa, took her degree and passion for helping others and went on to co-create Inspire Pulmonary Media, a multifaceted health care media company. She currently lives in Phoenix, Ariz., and recently took time to talk about her experiences at the UI, and what inspired her to pursue a career that is dedicated to educating a widely diverse audience about pulmonary arterial hypertension.
Describe the moment you knew you wanted to be a nurse?
I loved science, especially biology, in high school and thought I wanted to be a veterinarian or a physician. My sophomore year, my oldest sister became ill and required a liver transplant. I experienced the difference a kind, capable, intelligent nurse can make firsthand and knew I wanted to help other patients and families like my sister's nurses had helped us.
Why did you choose the University of Iowa to pursue your education?
The UI College of Nursing has a reputation for excellence. I didn't want to be "just a nurse." I wanted to be the nurse that patients were confident in, comforted by, and thankful to have on their side. I wanted to have a career of learning and contributing, not following. I felt that the nursing program encouraged nurses to think independently and develop a thirst for knowledge.
Was there a particular class or instructor that stood out?
Karen Griffith, PhD, RN, greatly influenced me. She was my instructor for my first clinical in the hospital. I was a very timid, very scared, very inexperienced nursing student at the time. I had never worked in a hospital or any other health care setting and I was both excited and terrified. Dr. Griffith challenged but also encouraged me. She helped me realize that education and learning was the answer to fear. It was okay to not have an answer the first time a patient asked but it was unacceptable to not search for the answer. During that clinical I realized how complicated a patient's story can be and how nurses are vital in putting all of the pieces together.
What do you remember most about your time as a UI College of Nursing student?
The moment I remember most is walking across the stage at graduation. My classmates and I had worked so hard and we were all so proud to be graduating from UI’s College of Nursing! It was a very special moment.
Describe your current professional occupation.
I am a Co-Founder of Inspire Pulmonary Media, a media company that focuses on educating patients, caregivers, friends, family, and the community about pulmonary arterial hypertension and other advanced lung diseases. Our first project was launching pulmonaryhypertensionrn.com, a website devoted to pulmonary arterial hypertension. We also recently offered The Southwest PAH Symposium to physicians and nurses from around the Southwest offering CMEs and CEs and hope to do the event annually. Our most recent project is pulmonaryfibrosismd.com. This new site will focus exclusively on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.
Do you believe your educational experience at UI enhanced your preparation for this role?
My experience at college opened my eyes to the many different roles and opportunities for nurses. The program and its instructors instilled confidence that my role as a nurse was going to be as important and as influential as I decided to make it.
What words of advice would you offer to current or future nursing students?
Take advantage of every opportunity that you can while you’re a student. Be open minded to areas of health care … even ones that you don't think you’ll like. Ask lots of questions and search for lots of answers. Admit when you don't know something, ask for help when you are unsure, and learn to be confident in what you do know.
What’s next for Julie Lynch?
I am looking forward to developing our newest website (pulmonaryfibrosismd.com) into a valuable educational tool and working on additional educational symposiums on pulmonary arterial hypertension and other advanced lung diseases.
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