Julie Frederick, an assistant professor in the nursing program, is a well-known face around the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus. A self-proclaimed busy-body, she is involved in many aspects of campus and community life and can be found attending any number of charity or school related events, such as sports.
Originally from this area, Frederick’s father worked at MNSU for 30 years teaching business administration. In high school, she worked in dietary work at Immanuel-St. Joseph’s Hospital, or the Mayo Clinic Health System as it is known as today. While everyone else was working in fast food, Frederick, who loved math and science, decided to pursue something different.
After high school, she moved out west, got her associate degree in nursing, and worked in Nevada for five years before coming back to Mankato to further her education. She finished her Bachelor of Science in nursing here at MNSU.
Frederick has been a nurse for 35 years. Before coming to work as a professor, she worked at South Central College as a Health Care Grant creating new opportunities for healthcare. Before that, she worked at Allscript as the Director of Healthcare Innovation helping them design barcode medication administration for their hospitals.
At South Central College, Frederick created the first conscious sedation program for dental hygienists and dentals assistants in Minnesota. This was her first taste of teaching, as she had to develop the class that taught students this new program. She got to participate and watch the students as they learned.
“I liked watching the ‘ah-ha’s’ of people, the learning, the next steps they had to go through,” she said.
Frederick was approached to teach a class at MNSU as an adjunct faculty member five years ago and has slowly been adding more courses to her curriculum each semester. She has been considered a fixed-term professor for the last three years, meaning her contract with the school is renewed every year.
Her favorite class to teach is Nursing Leadership and Management because she gets to teach seniors who are in their last semester.
“They are so focused on task-orientated and this class is not at all like that. It’s about how your neighbor is going to be coming to you because you are a nurse and you will have to take on these different roles that you never thought you would have,” she said.
Frederick says that she loves teaching these soon-to-be nurses what it means to always be a leader.
“For the last 20 years, nursing has been the highest profession that has been recognized for integrity and respect and honesty,” she said. “So [the students] take that and that’s a huge responsibility.”
With her experience in nursing, Frederick loves to share her stories and first-hand knowledge with her students. She says that the things that make her stand out as a teacher aren’t some of the usual things. She is visible in the community.
“I attend the games. Students know me wherever I am. I’m here, I’m engaged, I participate. You don’t necessarily see that a lot,” she said.
Frederick is busy both on and off campus. She is involved in committees, including the Faculty Development Committee, Sesquicentennial Committee, and Grant Committee. She is also the
Faculty Advisor for the Student Nurses Association and an ambassador for the Foundation.
“What I like about [all these] is I get to mix it up,” she said. “I’m not just nursing, I’m all over. I love that.”
She and her husband, Tom Frederick, are big philanthropists; they love to volunteer their time and efforts into many things.
Frederick has also been working with the MBA program to get some more healthcare classes into it. There are now three classes available through the MBA program. She is also hoping to develop a Master’s and Bachelor’s program in Healthcare Informatics, an area where health information technology is used to improve health care to a higher quality and efficiency so that nurses are able to utilize the tools and information they need. This is all in efforts to diversify the nursing program and help those students who are pre-nursing but don’t get into the program.
“We have 300 pre-nursing students that come through our doors,” she said. “We take 40 per cohort. So, it’s very, very hard to get into nursing, but that shouldn’t mean we don’t have other healthcare opportunities for people.”
Healthcare is a team effort and just because you aren’t a nurse, doesn’t mean you don’t play a vital role, said Frederick.
“I just taught 101 last semester and I’ll teach it again this spring. I can sit in that class and go, ‘This person would make a great business leader,’ or, ‘This person would be dynamite in informatics, if you can convince them to go there.’ To have other choices would be very good.”
Frederick was recently appointed to the Minnesota Board of Nursing by Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton. As a state employee, her position is voluntary, but every month she has the responsibility of attending one day of hearings, or “conferences” as they are called, to judge disciplinary actions for nurses. Frederick is on a number of sub-committees within the board, one being data analysis, but the bottom-line of the board is to protect the public, she says.
“The excellent thing about it is it is a wonderful learning opportunity that I give to my students, because I’ve been there first hand,” she said. “I actually got to listen to them and hear why, so I can speak to what is sloppy nursing or what to do if you feel you are becoming addicted to the meds or alcohol, or what is best practice?”
One in eight healthcare workers become addicted to drugs or alcohol; the Board of Nursing exists first and foremost to keep the public safe, but they also want to help nurses get the treatment they need to overcome an addiction.
“If they have a fall, we’re here to put them back on the right track. We’re not here to say, ‘We’re taking your license away,’” Frederick said. “We will take it away if we have to, obviously, but our goal is to keep the public safe and then, if we need to help nurses into programs, we will.”
When she is not volunteering her time or on campus, Frederick love to be outside as much as possible, whether that be golfing, gardening, hiking, walking her dog, snowshoeing, or camping, she just loves being outdoors. She also loves traveling and seeing new places. Through the Minnesota Board of Nursing, she got to present some of her research on Smart Glass in Spain this year and will get the chance do so again next year in London.
“Those research [opportunities] and developments I would’ve never dreamed I would want to do it, but now that I am, I love it,” she said.
While not really “research driven,” Frederick said that she’s getting better liking the research-side of being a professor because she is doing research in what she enjoys learning about, which is technology.
“I get to mesh what I love and have always worked with to what I am doing,” she said.