Julia Gravelyn | OBGYN/Women’s Health Nurse, Spectrum Health

Julia Gravelyn | OBGYN/Women’s Health Nurse, Spectrum Health

Year of the Nurse Scholarship Recipient

When Grand Rapids, Michigan, native Julia Gravelyn was a young newlywed, she fell into multifamily property management when the jewelry store where she was working closed and the manager of the apartment complex where she was living offered her a job leasing apartments. 

“I was pretty good at it and liked it, and just kept doing it, eventually switching companies and doing some property management of some family members’ rentals as well,” says Julia, who had studied behavioral science at Grand Valley State University out of high school, but stopped going to college when she wasn’t sure she had the direction or stamina to continue. 

Fast forward to 2011, when the country was in recovery from the Great Recession and Julia was downsized. “My husband and I had this heart to heart and I said, ‘I love people, and I’d like to become a nurse,’” Julia recalls, adding that nursing was a pursuit she’d considered during her first time as a college student. She soon enrolled at Grand Rapids Community College and started taking prerequisites for the nursing program. 

A goal reached 

Over the next several years, Julia took prerequisites for a BSN program and earned the ADN, all while working in property management. In 2017, she started her nursing career with Spectrum Health in Grand Rapids as a women’s health charge nurse. But she didn’t just begin working—she became a champion for many different causes. Julia is an Ethics Steward, Shared Leadership Chairperson and Skin Champion for her floor. “I’m someone who likes getting involved, and I love Spectrum because there are so many opportunities to do that,” Julia says. “It was a great way to quickly grow accustomed to this career that I was new to.” 

Next stop: BSN

A condition of being hired by Spectrum Health was that Julia would earn a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She started at another university, but quickly found herself wishing she was in a more flexible, streamlined program. “A nurse I knew told me that I should explore the American Sentinel University SIMPath® program,” she says. “I emailed them for information and they got back to me right away. I loved what I heard and liked that I could essentially earn my BSN by proving my knowledge and experience rather than going to school for another few years.” 

Year of the Nurse Scholarship

Julia started the RN to BSN SIMPath program in fall 2019 and has been able to fast-track her education. On a whim, she applied to the Year of the Nurse Scholarship and learned that she was a recipient in July 2020. The feeling was more than pride, Julia says. “In my first nursing class in the program, we talked about Florence Nightingale and I recall thinking what amazing ideas she had and what an inspiration she was,” she says. “I am humbled to receive this scholarship in her name and truly so excited.”

More education in her future

Julia is just getting started in her career and is already thinking about the MSN or Doctor of Nursing Practice Educational Leadership so she can teach one day. “I’m not going anywhere but American Sentinel University!” she says. “There’s so much I can say about why I recommend this program and university. They manage to pick out the things you need to work on in your professional life and help you make them shine.” 

The word “gratitude” sums up Julia’s feelings about her experience. “For me, becoming a nurse was a deliberate choice and it took pure grit to make it happen,” she says. “I’m really so grateful for the scholarship. It will help me pave the way to further my education so maybe one day, I can be a pioneer like Florence Nightingale was.”

The World Health Organization (WHO) has designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” and American Sentinel is celebrating by offering a Year of the Nurse Scholarship. Five scholarships are awarded per quarter in 2020. Congratulations to this quarter’s recipients. Learn more and apply here

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