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Spartans of UD - Hannah (Blum) Levin (C'16) and Chloe Blum (C'19)

By University Relations Staff

Spartans of UD highlights what makes the University of Dubuque special - the people.

Sisters Hannah (Blum) Levin (C'16) and Chloe Blum (C'19) were nursing majors as students. They both now work in the nursing field in Dubuque - Hannah as a registered nurse at UnityPoint Health - Finley Hospital and Chloe as a registered nurse in the cardiology department at Medical Associates Clinic.

What inspired you to pursue a career in the medical field?

Hannah: "I had ankle surgery in high school and was intrigued by the nurse's interaction with me and all the various duties nurses performed. Fast forward to my senior year of high school, I knew I wanted a future profession that incorporated my love for science, helping people, and a job that I got to interact with those people on a daily basis. After a career fair, nursing checked all those boxes, and I haven't looked back since."

Chloe: "When I was in high school, I actually hadn't given nursing a thought. I didn't think I was cut out for nursing, but I knew I wanted to do something in the science or healthcare field. During my junior year of high school, I took a class that gave me the opportunity to shadow various providers in the science field such as pharmacy, PT/OT, chiropractic, etc. One of those job shadows was to shadow a nurse. I loved the way she was able to build a relationship with the patient she was taking care of. I also loved how each patient was different, but they all still needed the nurse's guidance and care. She personalized her care depending on the needs of that patient, and you could tell the difference that she made. After that day, I decided that I wanted to be that kind of nurse for people."

What does a typical day look like for you as a registered nurse?

Hannah: "I start my shift at 6:45 a.m. with a report from one of the night shift nurses. After that, I never know what my day will consist of while working in the emergency department setting. We triage and treat patients of various ages, backgrounds, and health histories. It could be anything, anyone coming through the doors. At the end of my shift, it's the same as when I started, but I hand off to a night shift nurse this time. No 12-hour shift is ever the same, and that's one of the beautiful aspects of the nursing field in my eyes. I simply love what I do."

Chloe: "A typical day for me varies depending on where I'm at in my department. Even though I work in the cardiology clinic, each day is very different for me. I am cross-trained into different offices to work with cardiologists or the NPs, where I room patients, take calls, and triage various issues throughout the day. I also work in the stress testing lab, where I assist in performing different types of stress tests on patients. I'm also currently learning how to perform cardiac ultrasounds on patients. Additionally, I help in responding to codes on campus. Depending where I'm scheduled, I arrive to that area and get to working!"

How does it feel to have your sister also working as a registered nurse in the same city?

Hannah: "It's great! I love being able to talk to Chloe about new skills I've learned, certifications I'm working towards or recently received, or simply getting her input on something. Honestly, being able to have someone who understands and can relate if you've had a rough shift is huge, especially in this field. Her living in Dubuque is just an added bonus!"

Chloe: "I love having a sister who is also a nurse, and it's even better that we both live in Dubuque! Nursing can be very demanding, whether it's physically, mentally, or emotionally. It's great knowing I have someone very close to me who experiences the same ups and downs during the day as me. Sometimes it's nice to decompress with someone who just understands what it's like being a nurse. We even learn a thing or two from each other about either emergency medicine or cardiac care!"

What advice do you have for current Spartans in the nursing program?

Hannah: "I can hear Professor Kragenbrink in my head, 'You know more than you think you do.' That's something I haven't forgotten, and she's absolutely right. Take each class, clinical, and semester in stride. Figure out how you study best early on, and give yourself grace. The nursing program is challenging, and it's meant to be that way, but when graduation comes it's the most rewarding feeling."

Chloe: "Take advantage of office hours for your professors! They truly want to help you and watch you succeed! Try and get in on everything you can possibly see in clinical, whether it be a cool surgery, the doctor rounding on a patient, or a bedside procedure. You'd be surprised how much you learn in those little observations. When it comes to test taking, get a good study group and try to make studying fun - the information will stick better!"

In your opinion, what makes the University of Dubuque unique?

Hannah: "In my opinion, it was the ability to build relationships through the smaller class sizes. You're able to have one-on-one interactions with professors and bond more closely with your classmates. I believe it truly aided in my learning experience at UD and made it a perfect fit for me."

Chloe: "Going to UD for the nursing program was such a great decision. I knew all my professors very well and that made going to their office for help or questions so much easier. I had a really small class size, so we all became very close. We studied, hung out together - as if we didn't see everyone enough during class! - and leaned on each other when things got a little too difficult. We still keep in touch to this day."