Q&A with UM Nursing Simulation Lab Coordinator Julie Hughes

Kathy Dean Learning, Nursing

As long as she can remember, Julie Hughes wanted to be a nurse. It’s the career the Lord directed her to years ago, she says.

“When I look back on my career in nursing, I find it fascinating to see how the Lord used each detail of my career to lead me to my current position of teaching nursing,” said the University of Mobile assistant professor of nursing. As simulation coordinator in UM’s Center for Excellence in Healthcare Practice, Hughes uses her experience as a certified pediatric nurse practitioner and her spiritual gift of teaching to serve the Lord in her calling as a nurse.

We talked with this University of Mobile graduate-turned-professor about the field of nursing and what it’s like to teach and learn in UM’s School of Nursing in the College of Health Professions.

Q: What are you passionate about as a nursing professor?

A: I am passionate about encouraging students to see the potential that I see in them! I am passionate about encouraging them to stay in the Word and believe the Lord has a great plan for their life…that He has chosen them on purpose for a great purpose.

Q: What is your background?

A: After I graduated from UM with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, I started my nursing career in the newborn nursery. After a few years of working in the hospital, I moved to a pediatric office. Along the way, I became a certified pediatric nurse practitioner and earned a Master of Science in Nursing. I began teaching as an adjunct in January 2019 and started full-time in August 2019.

Q: What is your favorite class to teach and why?

A: Typically I teach senior seminar, which prepares students to take the NCLEX nursing licensure exam, and I also teach in the simulation lab. My favorite is, without a doubt, teaching in the simulation lab! I love to see students apply what they are learning in class to a nursing scenario. I have the blessing of seeing all the pieces of the nursing education come together as the students grow in the program. In their first simulation lab experience, students are nervous and unsure about what to do next. In their senior semester, the same students are critically thinking and managing the care of multiple patients with confidence.

Q: Why should someone choose to study nursing at UM?

A: The University of Mobile is a small university with a big heart! Each instructor is fully invested in seeing each student successfully pursue the calling the Lord has placed on their lives. The foundational education I received at UM years ago prepared me for a life-long career in nursing. It was amazing to return to UM almost 20 years after I graduated and see how much the university had invested in the nursing program. The addition of the simulation lab provides an amazing hands-on experience, giving students an opportunity to function in the role of a nurse in a simulated clinical scenario.

We offer a variety of degrees for students wanting to enter the field of nursing for the first time, like the traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing and the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and for those who are already working in the field, like the RN to BSN program. We also have several Master of Science in Nursing programs, from Family Nurse Practitioner to Executive Leadership and Nursing Education. Our new doctoral program includes the Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice.

Q: What advice would you give to high school students considering nursing as a major?

A: Pray about it! Nursing is not an easy degree, nor is it an easy career path. It is so rewarding, though! Keep seeking the Lord. He didn’t show me everything when I was a senior in high school; He only revealed peace that I was taking the next right step in the plans He had for my life. Just look for His peace in the next step. He will reveal the rest in His time!

About the Author

Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean is assistant vice president for university communications and has helped tell the University of Mobile story since 1993. She is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist. Her husband and daughter are UM graduates. She loves playing in the yard – planting flowers, picking blueberries, pulling weeds and petting her two mini-schnauzers.