Growing up, Julia Stovall Howard, BSN, RN, used to accompany her father, who was a country doctor in Jefferson, Georgia, to house calls and pretend to be his nurse. She started out studying quantitative analysis, and decided that getting married would get in the way of her dreams. She worked two summers in a small hospital near her home, and felt she could be more involved with the patient as a nurse. She felt that nursing was the way to get that one-on-one connection, like her father had with his patients. Specializing in home and public health, Ms. Howard has been a staff nurse at the University of South Carolina Upstate (USC Upstate) Health Services in Spartanburg, South Carolina, since 2003.
Ms. Howard began her career as a staff nurse at Prisma Health Baptist Hospital in Columbia, South Carolina, in 1970, remaining in this position for one year before joining the Richland County Health Department as a public health nurse from 1971 to 1972. She then directed the home care services section of the Appalachia III Health District of the State Department of Health & Environmental Control from 1977 to 2002. In addition to this tenure, Ms. Howard has worked with the FACT Cancer Society from 1982 to 1993 and the Caring Coalition-Council on Aging since 1992. She has also been a member on the advisory board of Spartanburg County Community Long Term Care since 1990.
Before starting her professional career, Ms. Howard pursued a formal education at Mercer University, completing coursework between 1964 and 1966. She then matriculated at the University of South Carolina, where she obtained a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 1970. Additionally, she is a registered nurse in the state of South Carolina and certified CPR instructor.
To keep up with the many trends in her field, Ms. Howard maintains involvement with numerous related organizations. She formerly served on the board of directors of Zonta International, an international service organization with the mission of advancing the status of women. Furthermore, she has been an active member of the Colonial Dames, the Daughters of the American Revolution, and Sigma Theta Tau. In recognition of her many accomplishments, Ms. Howard received the Home Health Care Services Administrator Award from the state of South Carolina.
What motivates Ms. Howard is the ability to make a difference in people’s lives, even if it is in a small way such as making sure that they are immunized correctly. To make a difference in someone’s health care is worth it to her. Today, Ms. Howard resides in South Carolina with her loving husband of 52 years, Robert Inman Howard Jr., with whom she has raised two incredible daughters, Sally and Anna. She has been known to enjoy playing the piano and flute, gardening, and youth work in her spare time.
The changes that Ms. Howard has observed in her profession since she started is in technology, which has become huge in developing new medicine and procedures. She thinks that nursing has gained a lot more respect as a career as well as a lot more males in the field, which is a good thing. There are many avenues to pursue in the nursing field, and the independence is much greater for nurses. The advice that Ms. Howard can offer the next generation or others aspiring to work in her profession is to care about the patients and your fellow staff members. She urges those interested to be fair because this is a career that helps change people’s lives; people need to have the passion to help them and understand them.