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Celebrating NP Week 2023: Julie Gottfried

  By Gianluca D'Elia
  Wednesday, November 15, 2023

Portrait of Julie Gottfried next to a window in the School of Nursing.

The University of Rochester School of Nursing was an early leader in the nurse practitioner movement. In the 1970s, nurses across the street at Strong Memorial Hospital’s Surgical Nursing Service originated the acute care nurse practitioner role, paving the way for the School to introduce the nation's first acute care NP master’s program.

Assistant Professor Julie Gottfried ’00N, ’11N (MS), ’15N (DNP), ’22N (PMC), has carried the torch of creating new pathways. A pediatric nurse practitioner (PNP) for more than a decade, she collaborated with colleagues on the School of Nursing’s pediatric faculty to develop and launch New York State’s first Pediatric Acute Care NP certificate in 2021. Last year, she was among the first nurses to earn the new certificate. 

In addition to her role as an educator, Gottfried serves as a PNP at Golisano Children’s Hospital, and at Stony Brook Pediatrics in Geneseo.

How did your UR Nursing education prepare you for your career goals? What kind of doors do you feel it opened for you?

I have been very fortunate to have achieved four degrees here. This incredible level of preparation has served me well over the past 23 years as I have worked in a variety of clinical settings in both pediatric acute and primary care. I strongly believe that my education through the School of Nursing has allowed me to provide exemplary care to children in our community. I am so passionate about UR Nursing’s vision that I have worked for the past few years as faculty in both the primary and acute care PNP programs.

Tell us about a faculty member or preceptor who made a difference for you or shaped your educational journey.

Dr. Susan Ciurzynski has been instrumental as my professor, mentor, and leader since I was in the Masters program. Dr. Ciurzynski’s unwavering support has directly allowed me to be successful in my career and educational journey over the past decade. She is exceptional and embodies the spirit of Meliora and the School of Nursing! I cannot begin to express my gratitude towards her.

How did you know that you wanted to pursue a future as an NP?

I always wanted to advance my education, and I felt really strongly that I wanted to do that here at the University of Rochester School of Nursing. I started the program fairly soon after I graduated with my undergraduate degree from here. I knew at that time that I wanted to eventually teach, and I also wanted to be able to expand my clinical practice so that I was not only caring for patients, but also helping to create their plan of care and their treatment.

How did you discover your passion for pediatric acute care?

It has been a journey for me, trying to figure out where I fit into the community. When I graduated back in 2011 with my degree as a PNP in the primary care program, that was the only option. There was no option to pursue acute care yet.

At the time, I felt a little confused because I had always worked in an acute care setting. I've always worked at the hospital or in other inpatient settings.

I was very fortunate to be part of the team that created the Acute Care Advanced Certificate program here at the School of Nursing.

What kind of support helped you balance work and life commitments with returning to school?

I had a strong social support network of family, friends, my workplace, and the School of Nursing, all of which positively impacted my ability to complete my degree.

What’s the most rewarding part of your work?

I think the most rewarding part of my work is twofold, encompassing both my clinical role and my teaching role.

As a teacher, there is nothing I like more than being able to spend one-on-one time with my students, sharing my experience over the past 23 years working in pediatric nursing to educate the next generation, and lighting a fire underneath them.

In my clinical role, I enjoy being able to form relationships with families. Working in inpatient hematology/oncology, we oftentimes have patients who are there for prolonged stays. You get to know the patient along with the family, and you are able to make an impact. Working in my primary care setting, I get to see patients periodically, but repeatedly over the course of several months to years. It’s incredibly rewarding to be able to see babies and mentor parents from the initial birth visit, all the way up until their children graduate from high school and beyond.

What’s one of your proudest moments as a nurse?

Recently, I was fortunate enough to be a part of a community of healthcare professionals who had a meeting, and I saw an individual there who looked familiar to me. She comes up to me and says, “Are you Julie? I'm Christine Verni. You precepted me back in the PICU 20 years ago, and now I am the dean of the College of Nursing at Niagara University.

She told me that the influence I had on her at that time in her nursing journey helped her spread that wealth to others. To me, that's the pinnacle of nursing: being able to make an impact not only on the patients and families that we serve, but on each other and our colleagues as well. The effects of positive mentorship can be seen throughout generations.

How do NPs make a difference in rural communities and other areas that might struggle with access to health care?

The role of the nurse practitioner is integral in addressing health disparities in our society today. I work in a rural setting with an underserved population, and I've found that in this provider role, I’m able to pull together the pieces and to look into the community I serve to find the local sources of providing different specialized care. As an NP, I consider how I can help my patient, who may or may not have the ability for transportation to get to various appointments, and how I can help them access the resources that are right there in the community. Rochester has a wealth of resources and information, but I've worked pretty far away from here, and so in the NP role, I’m able to help meet the needs of folks where they are in their own environment.

Learn more about the Pediatric NP and Pediatric Acute Care NP programs.

Categories: Nurse Practitioner Programs, Alumni, DNP

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