Devin Heiling
RN, Post-Surgical Unit, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
Devin Heiling

A calming presence

Devin wanted to be a nurse since childhood, but her passion for the field was confirmed when she worked as a certified nursing assistant at a care center while in high school. She found that she loved caring for people firsthand. Nursing was an obvious career choice because it was a way to combine her love for science with the joy she experiences providing care.

Why did you choose Northwestern?

Northwestern’s nursing program stood out among others based on their variety of clinical settings, their pass rates on the NCLEX exam, and the personal approach to teaching the professors had. Northwestern’s Christian focus really drew me to the school too. I liked that Christ was the center of why they teach and that during my education there, I would be learning how to engage with the world and my Christian faith. On top of it all, the professors really seemed to care not only about the subject matter, but about the students as well.

What did you appreciate about Northwestern’s faculty?

I absolutely loved Northwestern’s faculty! It could be easy to feel lost in the crowd during college, but I felt the complete opposite. Both nursing faculty members and other professors poured into my life and really cared about me as a person. I remember being invited to a professor’s house the night before a big exam so she could lead a study session. Northwestern’s nursing professors embraced the faith aspect of our education and really cared about how we integrated faith and nursing. I always felt very supported, both in my nursing life and personal life.

In what ways did you grow in your faith at Northwestern?

I definitely grew in my knowledge of my faith at Northwestern, but I grew in the application of my faith too. The two-semester Christian Story classes gave me a strong overview of biblical knowledge and early church theology. I went on a Spring Service Partnership trip to Mississippi my sophomore year, I was actively involved in my residence hall discipleship groups, and I was on the Campus Ministry Team my senior year. These opportunities all helped me grow in my faith.

How would your patients and their families describe your bedside manner?

Overall, I’m a gentle and patient nurse. After undergoing major surgeries, stress levels can be pretty high for both patients and families. I’ve had families thank me for my calming presence in the room. Recently I received the coolest compliment yet: A family member found me in the hallway and asked if I knew Jesus as my Savior because she could tell from my actions that something was different. That is one of the best compliments to receive, to have someone notice my Christ-like caring without me even saying a word about my faith. 

How well-prepared have you felt for your current position?

Nursing students have a big learning curve post-graduation, but I was as prepared as I could have asked for. Mayo Clinic is large enough to have very specific specialties, so I was able to dive into the colorectal surgical specialty to learn more. My education at Northwestern taught me the skills to be able to continue learning, and Mayo has provided the opportunity to do that.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time at NWC?

Some of my favorites happened in the lobbies of the dorms. I believe I pulled an all-nighter in every dorm’s lobby! Many of these involved playing games, baking, goofing off, eating and even a little studying. My apartment senior year became a hub for food and game nights. There weren’t too many weeks that went past without a night or two spent with 10 or more friends piled into my living room eating a pan of fresh brownies and playing cards or board games. 

What have you come to value about your Northwestern experience?

The community is one-of-a-kind! So many people became my best of friends and helped me learn a lot about myself. Northwestern also brought new perspectives for me to consider. I interacted with worldviews that were different than my own and learned to appreciate and value the differences. Northwestern did a great job of addressing prominent issues and encouraging conversations about them. This helped me to learn the importance of confronting these issues rather than making uninformed assumptions.

What are your dreams for your nursing career?

I have a passion for teaching, and although it’s not something I want to pursue for a few years yet, I’m interested in becoming a nurse educator—maybe even a professor someday. This requires a few years of working as a floor nurse to gain the experience necessary to teach before pursuing graduate studies. In the meantime, I am already taking some steps toward being a leader on my floor—joining unit committees, preceptoring nursing students, and training as a charge nurse.