Jagielka only community college instructor to receive Nurse Educator Fellowship

  • Julianne Jagielka

Morton College’s solid reputation in nursing just was validated again.

Julianne Jagielka, a second-year nursing faculty member at Morton College, was the only community college instructor honored from a group of 22 when the Illinois Board of Higher Education named its Nurse Educator Fellowship awards for 2014.

“It’s an absolute honor, especially being the only one from a community college,” said Jagielka, who was one of 22 nursing instructors honored statewide. “I’m still shocked that I was selected for this prestigious award.”

Jagielka is pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice. Her target date to complete the program from Loyola University Chicago is in the summer of 2015.

The IBHE program, in its seventh year, helps to ensure the retention of well-qualified nursing faculty at state schools. Jagielka says the $10,000 award from the fellowship will go a long way to help pursue her dreams.

“School is very expensive,” Jagielka said. “I knew I wanted to pursue a doctoral degree, but I didn’t want a financial burden hanging over my head.”

Jagielka followed in her sister’s footsteps in deciding to become a nurse, but created her own path.

“I shadowed my sister and that sparked an interest,” Jagielka said. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to do the nurse or doctor. I chose nursing because of the patient contact and being an advocate for the patient.”

After receiving a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Elmhurst College, Jagielka found a job at Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge. In addition to her duties, Jagielka worked with nursing students. While Jagielka’s manager liked her style, she also discovered she enjoyed the teaching aspect.

Jagielka was soon asked to be a preceptor whose duties were to assist newly-graduated nurses during their training period at the hospital. She then decided to return to school for her master’s degree in nursing with a focus on nursing education from Elmhurst College.

“I ended up absolutely loving it and decided teaching was for me,” Jagielka said. “I love the excitement of being around the students and enjoy seeing when the light bulb goes off when they’re able to apply what they’ve learned in the classroom in a clinical setting.”

Her passion for teaching was quickly notice by Dr. Patricia Brown, Jagielka’s supervisor and director of Morton College’s nursing program.

“First of all, she is very student centered,” Brown said. “She frequently has told me how much she loves doing her job. Teaching is her passion. I’ve observed her in a clinical and classroom settings and she is a wonderful mentor to the students. She wants them to succeed.

“She is like a sponge,” Brown added. “She wants to be the best she can be. She loves learning and takes every opportunity she can to learn and then pass it on to her students.”