This past summer, College of Nursing students Kristin Donadio and Daisy Acevedo were selected to participate in the highly competitive Veterans Affairs Learning Opportunity Residency (VALOR) program at the VA New Jersey Health Care System at the East Orange and Lyons campuses. This program provides students the opportunity to work individually with a designated registered nurse preceptor, assuming the same work schedule. The ten-week program is designed to develop and refine the competencies not only necessary for an RN, but in particular the competencies to care for our nation's veterans.
Upon reflecting on the experience, Kristin Donadio commented that the values at the VA are consistent with the values at Seton Hall University "it's all about 'giving back' to the vets and showing kindness and respect towards patients and staff." She is pleased that the opportunity enhanced her competence and confidence in delivering nursing care. Daisy Acevedo spoke passionately about an experience where she was alone with a patient taking vital signs and she noticed that the person's oxygen level was low. Although her assignment at the time was to take vital signs on several patients, she recognized the urgency of the situation, prioritized, and reported the observation to her charge nurse who guided her to place the patient on oxygen. Daisy commented that "it felt really good to be on my own and know what to do and how to do it".
Both students rotated to multiple units including intensive care, psychiatry, same day surgery, and long term care and worked side by side with many other professionals and medical students. The VALOR students participated in the Nurse Practice Council, weekly educational programs, and delivered final capstone presentations to the VA nurses and staff, the College of Nursing senior Clinical Nurse Leader students, and Dean Marie Foley.
In their ten weeks, both students felt they developed personally and professionally and can already translate their new competencies to current clinical courses. What seemed so overwhelming initially now seems more routine, allowing them to focus on other areas. Both students commented that they are more comfortable with change of shift reporting, patient assessment, IV management, and working with other members of the team. As result of their rotations at the VA, they plan to pursue professional careers in the critical care setting – ideally at the VA Health System.
The VALOR program is very competitive and the College of Nursing students Donadio and Acevedo were selected for the two available positions. Nurse Recruiter and VALOR Program Coordinator Marlene McLeod-Robinson, MSN worked closely with the students throughout their program. When asked about her impressions of the students Ms. McLeod shared that she "… was very proud of our selection this year. All of the Nurse Managers, Educators and Staff on the unit could not stop talking about the great selection that was made. It was a great pleasure to have Kristin and Daisy at our facility. My hope and wish is that they will work for our cherished Veterans in the future."
We are honored to have the College of Nursing represented by such stellar students, true ambassadors for Seton Hall University. Their participation not only enhanced their individual growth and development, but provided the VA Health System with new ideas about how to improve care for our nation's veterans.
Seton Hall University is a major Catholic university. In a diverse and collaborative environment, it focuses on academic and ethical development. Seton Hall students are prepared to be leaders in their professional and community lives in a global society and are challenged by outstanding faculty, an evolving technologically advanced setting and values-centered curricula.
Categories: Health and Medicine