I am an IU nurse

A favorite memory

In all these many roles, says Natalie, “I had the pleasure of learning with – and from – students from all walks of life, some who were involved in sororities, fraternities, ROTC, IU Marching Hundred, some who were mothers, and much more.”

“I have so many memories from my years at IUSON BL, but some of my favorites are the nightly meetings with some of my classmates in the basement of St. Paul’s Catholic Center for study sessions or just ‘hanging out’ … sometimes until 2 a.m.! The dance parties, laughs, and tears we shared in that small church basement bring me such happiness when I look back on them,” she says.

Natalie and her IUSON BL undergrad classmates in clinical.
Natalie and best friend Elizabeth Maguire in Las Vegas.

Earning her Master’s Degree

After graduation, Natalie accepted her first nursing job at Indy’s Ascension St. Vincent Hospital in their Level 1 Trauma Emergency Department, spending spent four years “working alongside the most amazing nurses, management, and doctors,” she says.

Then, COVID hit … causing Natalie, like so many other nurses, to re-examine her career choices.

During the summer of 2021 – and in the heart of COVID – Natalie decided to earn her master’s degree in Nursing Education from IUSON Indianapolis. “I have always had a hidden passion for teaching, mentoring, and precepting,” she says. In the three years it took for Natalie to earn her degree going part-time, “I learned about advanced pharmacology, advanced physiology, advanced physical assessments, nursing education, technology in nursing, and much more.”



Capstone with Dr. Roxie Barnes

For her Capstone (an “immersion into practice” semester for students), Natalie worked with IUSON BL’s Dr. Roxie Barnes and her senior critical care nursing class, completing 150 educational hours throughout 15 weeks. 

Natalie (upper right-hand corner) and Dr. Roxie Barnes' clinical class. "The students came to Dr. Barnes' first exam wearing party hats, saying, 'you can't cry in party hats!,'" says Natalie.

“I chose Dr. Roxie Barnes as my preceptor,” says Natalie, “because she had such a positive impact on me during my undergraduate years. I hope that everyone in Bloomington gets the opportunity to learn from her! She is very energetic, passionate, knowledgeable, and uses unique teaching strategies. I can say with confidence that Dr. Barnes thoroughly prepared me for my future in nursing education!”

So, let’s recap. During 2021-2023, Natalie navigated her way through a global pandemic, worked part-time at Ascension St. Vincent as an ER nurse, worked as a PRN (“as needed”) nurse at a local surgery center doing ambulatory post-operative care, and attended school part-time, earning her master’s degree in May 2023 … all while trying to maintain a social life, an athletic lifestyle, and remodeling her first house. “I WAS BUSY!” she says with a smile.

"Make sure to allot time in your week to bring yourself joy. If our nurses aren't happy or refueled, then we cannot properly care for those who need our undivided attention."

Adding to the resume

Looking to the future – and in keeping with her personal style of meeting challenges head on – Natalie has decided to add “travel nurse” to her already impressive resume. Natalie is currently on her first travel assignment in Denver, CO, with an eye to “spending these upcoming months creating new memories and taking on new adventures.” And after that?

“Who knows?” she smiles. “I have been considering going back to school AGAIN for a possible doctorate or MBA.”

Words of advice

One question we always ask our “I Am an IU Nurse” alumni is, "do you have any words of advice for our current nursing students?"

“That is a loaded question,” says Natalie. “In today's world, nursing isn't always the glamorous career we see on television. Society seems to be fixated on the images and assumptions about nursing that are provided by sources like Google or Grey’s Anatomy.

“But like the famous saying goes: ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’ Yes, nursing is very rewarding, but it is also hard, demanding, tiring, and strenuous. My biggest advice for new graduates or nursing students is to find what brings you joy in life and make that a priority during the work week – whether it’s working out, going on a walk, reading a book, watching a movie, cooking, or something else.”

“Make sure to allot time in your week to bring yourself joy. If our nurses aren't happy or refueled, then we cannot properly care for those who need our undivided attention.”


“I Am an IU Nurse” is a regular feature of The Nursing News, in which we feature the accomplishments and personal stories of IUSON Bloomington’s student nurses and alumni.