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Nursing was her career, but teaching was her passion. Maryville provided opportunities for both.


Julie Bekius had been a nurse practitioner for more than 20 years, but there was one career goal that she’d yet to achieve: teaching. When the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree became available at universities for the first time, she was intrigued – and that interest empowered her to seek out the Maryville Online DNP.


“It’s been a career goal of mine forever to teach nurses, and I’d love to do that at the university level. These days, you need a DNP to do that,” she said.


Julie felt the timing was right: Her three children were more self-sufficient, she was confident that she could balance going back to school, and she loved learning. The DNP was a chance for her to do what she’s passionate about – but in a different way.

I love being a nurse, and I want others to learn to love being nurses, too.
Julie Outdoor Art

Finding the right fit – for life and career

“When I decided to get my DNP, I had options,” Julie said. “I knew I needed something part-time and online to be able to navigate my life.”


Julie evaluated several schools, and she even considered her alma mater – which was in driving distance. But the programs she analyzed seemed to be for individuals still learning how to be nurse practitioners. Or were on-campus only DNPs. Then she found Maryville.

From the moment I spoke with a Maryville advisor, I knew that was the fit for me. I felt welcomed and important. It was a good feeling.

Maryville also provided the flexibility that Julie needed, which would allow her to continue her duties as a mother and wife without much interruption. She was grateful for this, and that she could share her doctoral journey with her family.


“Having daughters, I feel extra responsible to help teach them to be strong women, to have empathy, the benefits of hard work, and – if they choose – to be career-oriented. That’s all a big motivator.”


To help her get her doctorate, Julie’s family all took on increased responsibilities with housework, meals, laundry, and more. “I couldn’t have done it without them – this was a family affair. And I hired a house cleaner!”

Online learning. Real-world impact.

Through Maryville Online, Julie learned what it was like to be on the front end of policymaking and leadership in her courses. In one class in particular, she had to interview the chief financial officer of her 70,000-employee health system. She’s also enjoyed the reflections from her classes, which have helped to improve her learning style, negotiation style, and conflict resolution.


Then there’s the Maryville Online students, whom Julie has learned so much from their experiences and shared expertise.


“I think we all stand to learn something anytime you have to sit and discuss a similar topic with different people, and with an open mind as professionals,” she said.


In addition, the accessibility of her professors has continued to bring a deeper benefit from the program – especially Dr. Rita Wunderlich.


“Dr. Wunderlich helped me feel connected, was very encouraging, and was available for questions. She provided key feedback and guidance during the [institutional review board] process,” she said.


Julie’s experiences with the program and her professors only continued the trend of what she’d experienced at the very beginning of her Maryville experience: that this was a place she could grow, be supported, and help bring her goals within reach.

Maryville does an amazing job at helping remote learners feel like they’re part of the university, and to feel connected to the culture there.

Managing the demands with goal-setting and teamwork.

Throughout the program, Julie continued to work full-time, as well as remain active in her church and children’s school community. Though some, according to her, “juggling,” was involved, she also considers it valuable to make time for the most important things in life. For Julie, that included crafting, scrapbooking, and wreath-making.


And all of this – the work-life balance, support from her professors, and the real-life expertise from the Maryville Online DNP – represented what Julie considers her personal success.


“For me, success is figuring out the things that are important to you and setting goals. Sometimes those goals don’t always get met as you would want them to. But setting the goal, achieving it, and constantly pushing yourself forward – in anything – is a success.”

“Do the hard things. Take some leaps. Push through.”

Though Julie’s doctorate process hasn’t been without its challenges and compromises, she’s proud of the full-circle moments it has presented.

Being able to fulfill a career and life goal is the most rewarding part of earning my degree.

She is also excited at the possibility of directing her passions like never before, and has earned practical wisdom on what it takes to fulfill a career dream.


“Being brave is doing the hard things. Saying when you’re in your mid-40s, ‘I think I’m going to get my doctorate degree’. It’s taking some leaps, learning about yourself and that extra bit of strength you didn’t know you had.”


Take your leap. Find out where your career goals and lifelong passions intersect with Maryville’s online nursing degrees. With programs at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels, there’s something to fit every professional. Schedule a call with anadvisor today.

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