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Julia Hejl


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I am a junior double majoring in Spanish and Nursing. I am excited to be able to combine both degrees to be able to care for and communicate with more people of different backgrounds.


Northern Arizona University

Bachelor's degree program
2021 - 2025
  • Majors:
    • Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing


  • Desired degree level:

    Doctoral degree program (PhD, MD, JD, etc.)

  • Graduate schools of interest:

  • Transfer schools of interest:

  • Majors of interest:

  • Not planning to go to medical school
  • Career

    • Dream career field:

      Hospital & Health Care

    • Dream career goals:

      Nancy B. Shirley Memorial Nursing Scholarship
      I have always felt a calling to serve others and impact their lives for the better. One of my earliest memories was helping and befriending a deaf girl at my preschool. I remember watching her mother and older sister drop her off and pick her up, seeing them use sign language and physical touch to communicate with her. I noticed how her sister was fiercely protective of her, and then I noticed how once her family left she would usually sit by herself, other kids coming and going once they realized she wouldn’t talk to them. I wanted to help and take care of her, and protect her as her sister did. I quickly became friends with her by sitting near her, and sharing toys, and pulling her up by her hands whenever music played to dance with her in the classroom. I’ve noticed how this desire to seek out and help others has continued to follow me throughout my life. Because of this, for the longest time, I believed I wanted to be a teacher. I have been lucky enough to have teachers who have been fun, patient and kind. But what stuck out to me about my teachers was the impact they have on their students. The connection they are able to make with their students can be one that changes the trajectory of their lives, that makes or breaks that time of their life. I want to be that person for others; support the ones who need it the most and be a warm and light presence in the lives of everyone else. My focus began changing from wanting to teach, to wanting to care for and support others through nursing after my freshman year of high school. 3 days after the school year ended, I had open heart surgery to replace a heart valve. I was born with a congenital heart defect that was corrected when I was 2. I have seen a cardiologist at least once a year since then, waiting until I needed surgery again. While I have always been intrigued and liked my cardiologists and the work that they would do, it wasn’t until after my surgery that I seriously considered working in healthcare. During my stay in the hospital, I was shocked at how uncomfortable, homesick and scared I was staying in the PICU alone at the “old” age of 15 years old. My mom is a single mom who works full-time to support my older sister and I, so she couldn’t stay at the hospital all day to be with me. I had my nurses for company. While I was very healthy going into my surgery, and therefore only spent 4 days there, I remember wanting to go home every single morning and night. I would watch the clock to see when my mom would be back. I can’t imagine how difficult and terrified I would be had I been sicker, or had I had to stay longer. The one positive of being in the hospital was my nurses (and fixing my heart of course). Each one was so very different, but they were all so amazing, patient, and kind. I still remember all of them very distinctly. My favorite nurse was named Jeanie. I liked the name because my grandma shared her name. In the beginning, I remember disliking her because she was direct. She would come into my room and scold me for not using the spirometer to help my lungs or come in insisting that I drink something of substance (like milk, not just water). At night, she sat at my bed and took the time to explain everything she was doing and what it’s used for because I was curious. I asked about her tattoo and she told me more about her life and family. She wouldn’t get upset when she would suggest I drink Sprite, bring it to me, and then have to go back for a different drink because I didn’t like the Sprite. She was only forceful because she was so invested in my health and wanted me to get better. When my family couldn’t be with me, the nurses were. Yet they didn’t just do their job, administering medicine and following doctor’s orders, they would stay longer than necessary to keep me company and check in at random times and give me encouraging words of support. The positive impact they made in my life and the care they gave me during my time of need is the reason why I want to be a nurse. To me, nursing has a similar, if not stronger, impact than teaching. Nurses have the privilege to comfort and care for people in their most vulnerable state. I will be able to walk out of my work every day knowing I helped someone and that I made a difference. And that is exactly what I hope to achieve in the profession that I chose. I hope to get to work in pediatrics. I would like to be able to build a relationship with my patients and know them intimately enough that I know exactly what I can do to make them smile and be a friend in an otherwise difficult and scary situation. For this reason, I am interested in working in inpatient oncology, as these patients are most likely the patients who will stay in the hospital for longer periods of time. While pediatric oncology will be heartbreaking to work with, I feel that I am called to help these people the most. Lastly, I have worked in different jobs in healthcare to support myself and be able to pursue an education in nursing. In high school, I got my caregiver and nursing assistant certifications so that I could work in different healthcare facilities throughout college and explore a career in the nursing field. In both jobs (caregiving and being a nursing assistant), I have worked with different minorities. Sometimes I would work with residents who only spoke one language, making it impossible for workers to communicate with these people without family members present or others who know the language. These residents would become withdrawn and isolated as they couldn’t communicate and socialize with others. When family came to speak to these residents in their language, their whole demeanor would shift and their faces would brighten. This is part of the reason that I am double majoring in Nursing and Spanish. I want to be able to connect with as many people as possible, and one of many barriers between myself and others can be language. By studying Spanish, this barrier can be eliminated and allow me to care for, and advocate for these minorities. I am very excited to pursue a career in such beautiful work and get the opportunity to care for patients and support their families.