Nursing Major Nykaza Interning at Mayo Clinic

"Every day I wake up and learn what it is to be a real nurse,” Julia Nykaza says about her internship at Mayo Clinic.

July 8, 2016

BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— Nursing major Julia Nykaza ’17 is one of only 53 students selected to intern this summer at the world-renowned Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. Nykaza was chosen as a Summer III student intern from among more than 1,000 applicants.

Under the supervision of four specifically trained registered nurses who serve as clinical coaches, Nykaza said she learns something new every day, whether that new skill involves multi-disciplinary conversations, patient care and communication, documentation or critical thinking.

 “In simple terms, every day I wake up and learn what it is to be a real nurse,” she said. “The Summer III students take on full patient assignments. I learn patient prioritization and other skills.”

Nykaza said she was driven to apply for the paid internship because of a positive personal experience with Mayo and because of the medical organization’s reputation as one of the world’s greatest hospitals. “Mayo Clinic is one of the best hospitals in the world,” she said.

After learning Mayo Clinic representatives would be attending Illinois Wesleyan’s Nursing Career Fair last fall, she watched videos and read blogs to make the best impression possible. After she applied in January, she said she “waited for what seemed like the longest month of my life” until she learned she had been accepted.

“The values taught at Illinois Wesleyan have shaped me into a nurse who is capable of working at the Mayo Clinic,” she said. “Through all the resources and support from IWU, I was able to make my dream a reality, something I will always be grateful for.”

 “This internship has changed my life,” she added. As one example, she said that by working on the oncology/hospice floor, “my clinical coaches have taught me there are more ways than one to save a life. Sometimes, easing the transition from life to death is just as meaningful to a patient and the family.”

The Oak Lawn, Ill. native said she has always known her passion in life is to care for others, “but this summer I learned how to truly and sincerely care the Mayo Clinic way. I want to be an extraordinary nurse. Every day I wake up and know that no matter how hard this job is or how tired I am at the end of the day, this is what I want to do with my life.”

Illinois Wesleyan nursing graduates enjoy a 100 percent job placement rate. Other distinctive features of Illinois Wesleyan’s nursing program include early clinical experience, the opportunity to conduct collaborative research with nursing faculty, and study abroad.