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Human Lactation Consultant Certification Program Meet Beckie Walker

Rebecca A. Walker, BSN RN IBCLC

Beckie was part of the very first cohort for the Human Lactation Consultant Certification program. Since her time, the program now handles all local placements for students, with literally dozens of sites available for the students throughout the Philadelphia tri-state area. For students out of the area, we work closely with the prospective student to find a site with high-quality IBCLCs to direct and teach them.

Hometown: Hershey, Pennsylvania
Undergraduate: Drexel University – BS in Nursing, Addictions Counseling minor, Human Lactation Consultant Certification
Graduate: Georgetown University – MS in Nursing Certified Nurse-Midwifery/Women's Health Nurse Practitioner Dual Program

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself before you came to Drexel?

I came to Drexel in 2010 right after graduating high school so really became an adult while attending Drexel as an undergraduate nursing student.

What drew you to the Human Lactation Certificate program, and to Drexel, specifically?

I came to Drexel because my brother went here and when I visited, I felt right at home. I knew when entering nursing school I wanted to do something with women's health/reproductive health. My goal was to become a midwife, and so when the Human Lactation program became available my junior year, I jumped at the chance. I utilized my elective course requirement to do the lactation courses without having to pay more than my standard tuition so it was really a win-win. I am extremely passionate about helping all parents who wish to provide human milk to their child to be able to. I'm also passionate about increasing the awareness and access to education regarding lactation/breastfeeding/chest feeding to both health care professionals and parents in my community.

What did a typical day in your program look like? What is something unique about your experience in the program?

Oooh this is a blur. I attended Drexel from 2010-2015 and was extremely involved. I look back and think "How in the heck did I do all that I did?" When I took the lactation classes on the Center City Campus, it wasn't much different than taking my regular courses, but when I started clinical, I had both nursing clinical one time per week, and anywhere from two to three clinical days for lactation. I also attending nursing courses, had a work study in the simulation lab on the Center City Campus, and worked at both HUP and CHOP my senior year. It was super busy but I loved all of the opportunities I was able to experience.

What have you been doing since you completed the program? How did your time here prepare you for your work today?

Since graduating the program, I continued to live in Philly and work at CHOP as a nurse (2015-2018) and Lankenau as an IBCLC (2016-2018). I also started a private practice lactation business where I did home visits to parents in need in the Philadelphia area. After I had my daughter in 2018, I started working at HUP on their postpartum unit (2018-2020) and continued doing home visits when I could. I started graduate school at Georgetown University in 2019 in their WHNP/CNM dual program. I moved to Northern Virginia for my partner's job in 2020 and currently work as a postpartum nurse there part time while I finish up clinical for my graduate program. I have about three more weeks to go and will graduate in May from Georgetown! I plan to work as a CNM/WHNP and start doing lactation visits again!

What advice would you give incoming students in your Drexel program?

I would encourage students to start studying for their certification exam ASAP and take a review class if they can! I think I struggled to study as much as I wanted to because I had so much going on. Additionally, not sure if Drexel handles their clinical sites but I encourage students to be sure to think about their clinical sites and network with local IBCLCs to ease the process of getting their hours.