Compassionate care earns nursing alumna Julius Beck recognition

by | Dec 5, 2016

The 2015 graduate received a DAISY Award for her efforts on behalf of one of her patients at Mercy Hospital.
Julius Beck

Julius Beck joined the staff of Mercy Hospital not long after earning her bachelor of science in nursing degree through UMSL’s accelerated program. She’d only been on the job a few months when she received a DAISY Award for her efforts on behalf of one of her patients. (Photo by August Jennewein)

Julius Beck had been a nurse at Mercy Hospital only a few months. She was still in her first week working without a preceptor on the medical-surgical floor and remembers feeling a little intimidated by it all.

But the 2015 University of Missouri–St. Louis graduate had acquired enough knowledge to be certain something was wrong.

The patient she had first started caring for a day earlier had taken a sudden – and undeniable – downward turn. Beck noticed a facial droop and was finding it increasingly difficult to communicate with her.

Fearing that the patient had suffered a stroke, Beck contacted the resident physician for an exam. She later called the Medical Emergency Team when things only got worse. She knew the patient’s seemingly normal blood pressure was, in fact, low compared to earlier levels, and respirations were far too frequent.

It never occurred to Beck that her efforts on behalf of her patient would eventually be recognized with a DAISY Award.

Standing for Diseases Attacking the Immune System, the award was created by the nonprofit DAISY Foundation in California in honor of J. Patrick Barnes, who died in 1999 from complications of a rare autoimmune blood disorder. With the award, the foundation aims to recognize extraordinary nurses across the country.

Truth be told, Beck didn’t know what the DAISY Award was. She was only thinking of getting her patient the care needed.

“I totally attribute my ability to think through that to the Lord,” says Beck, a devout Christian.

With help from Beck and, she believes, grace from God, the patient was eventually transferred to the Intensive Care Unit. The patient died a few days later but not before family members had a chance to visit and say their goodbyes.

“Some of them flew in from out of state, and I was just happy that they could all be there,” Beck says. “That means the world to a patient and their family.”

Her innate sense of empathy might have been one reason Beck decided to go into nursing. She also points to her experience with an eating disorder as a teenager as something that heightened her desire to improve people’s health.

Beck, whose maiden name was Braungardt, grew up in Moscow Mills, Missouri. She graduated from Troy Buchanan High School and began her college studies at Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri. But she transferred to UMSL after being accepted into the accelerated bachelor’s of science in nursing program.

It was at the urging of her instructors and preceptors that she sought a job on a medical-surgical floor after graduation.

“Coming out of nursing school, you have this huge bank of knowledge,” she says. “But unless you really practice it, it’s not going to solidify.”

Beck moved to the labor and delivery unit this fall. She and her husband, Brandon Beck – another UMSL nursing graduate whom she married in March – hope to one day take their skills abroad to do medical missions.

This story was originally published in the fall 2016 issue of
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Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik