Columbia Nursing student Julie Y. Yoshimachi

DNP Student Profile: Julie Yoshimachi

Julie Y. Yoshimachi, RN, Applies Global Learning to Nursing Leadership

November 11, 2019

Columbia Nursing has changed my life, not just because it’s helping me to become an NP but to become a great NP who’ll do something exceptional in the future. 

Julie Y. Yoshimachi, RN


Q: Why did you choose Columbia University School of Nursing?

A: Columbia focused on me as a person and on my goals. The school also focuses on building nursing leaders, and leadership is my ultimate goal.


Q: Why did you choose the DNP Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) program?

A: One of the reasons I chose nursing to begin with was because nursing offers an opportunity to explore a wide variety of clinical fields. I have many interests I want to pursue, and a Family Nurse Practitioner degree will allow me to pursue those various clinical opportunities and possibly even mix them together.


Q: How academically rigorous is your program?

A: The MDE program was very rigorous. I always felt challenged, but I didn’t feel overwhelmed because I enjoyed being in class. I also received a lot of support from classmates and professors. The DNP program has rigor but it is set up so that you can have a job on the side, or time to focus on other things.


Q: What is your relationship like with your professors and mentors?

A: The professors are always there to support you. I also had a great peer mentor who helped me ease into the MDE program. I became a peer mentor, and then a peer leader because I wanted to be someone students could go to. It’s nice to have students you’re connected with.


Q: Do you receive financial aid?

A: Partially. I still need student loans, but it’s nice to know there’s some portion of those loans that I don’t have to take. I also received financial support for two global opportunities I took to work in a hospital in Malawi. Both times I was able to enjoy the opportunity without having to think about how I was going to pay for it.


Q: How has globalization affected you academically or professionally?

A: I always wanted to do something in global health. I went to Malawi twice as part of the Columbia Nursing Global Program and both times I worked in the same hospital, Kamuzu Central Hospital in Lilongwe. I learned so much from the people of Malawi in terms of the medical profession and my life, especially when it comes to what we have here in the U.S. and what they don’t have. They’re very low-resourced in Malawi. They lack materials and personnel. There’s a lot of quality care that you can’t provide. You have to choose what type of care to provide and who to provide it to. This gave me perspective in terms of my role as an NP. It made me appreciate what sort of care I can provide here that I couldn’t provide there. It made me appreciate that I can care for people here, be a creative and strong advocate for my patients, and make sure they receive what they need. This has made a huge impact on my career goals. I’d like to continue the relationships I built in Malawi and possibly work with an NGO to support the people I met, and help improve their health care system.


Q: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities?

A: I’m a school senator, which is an elected student position. I also helped found the Student Council to create a strong voice within the school of nursing and on the Columbia campus, and I serve as a senator on its executive student board.


Q: What is it like to manage work and school at the same time?

A: I work as a per diem RN, providing homecare and health screenings and vaccines two to four days a week. I’m in class one to two days a week. It’s a lot to balance but it’s definitely possible, especially in the DNP program. The program is designed so that you get hands on experience and apply what you’re learning while you’re still in school.


Q: Where do you hope this education will take you?

A: I want to be a family nurse practitioner and specialize in primary care or family medicine. Eventually I want to pursue an administrative leadership role, something that allows me to impact a hospital or health system.