Professors Kathy Connolly and Colleen Carrington are among BSN student’s favorites. During a volunteer health screening event in Westfield, NJ, the group brainstormed about an interesting way for nursing students to study abroad and an idea was born. Professors Connolly and Carrington planned a trip to Italy that would combine intensive NCLEX training along with cultural immersion and service and exciting travel experiences. They were able to see many historical and religious sites, including St. Anthony’s Basilica, San Marco Cathedral, the Colosseum and the Vatican. They stayed at monasteries in Venice and Rome and saw many beautiful sites in Florence, where they spent two weeks. They even spent a fun-filled evening at a winery in Tuscany.
The idea began to take shape as the two nursing professors developed a firm framework for their trip. Each day would begin with 4-5 hours of dedicated small group review. These interactive sessions included both substantive subjects and test-taking strategies. At around 1 pm the students and faculty would end their academic sessions and wander out to discover their surroundings.
One of the highlights of the trip was the time spent in Padua with the Franciscan Sisters of the Poor. These Sisters felt compelled to help victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution. Project Miriam, as it is known, addresses the women’s immediate need for food, medical care, and professional, legal and domicile counsel. It also provides access to job training, and emotional and spiritual guidance.
Notes Professor Connolly, “This experience really opened our eyes and drove home the scope of this issue on a global scale. Spending time with the Sisters, as well as the women they help, was a transformative and unforgettable experience.”
“These women were so extraordinary; it almost seemed that they were glowing,” added Dr. Carrington. “These women exuded a warmth and deep spirituality that we all felt.”
The students appreciated this exceptional experience and the outcome illustrates its success: The trip resulted in a 100 percent pass rate on the NCLEX-R.N. – all of the recent graduates on the trip passed the licensing exam on their first attempt.
“If it’s possible to make studying for the boards less painful, it definitely involves traveling to Italy and spending three weeks in probably one of the most beautiful places on the planet. We vacationed hard, and reviewed harder. We covered practically every nursing topic all while visiting the top destinations in Venice, Florence and Rome,” stated Anthony Nickele, ’15, R.N., who now works as a staff nurse in the emergency department at Bronx Lebanon Hospital Center.
Patrice Journick, ’15, R.N. agrees. “We split our time between studying and touring and were lucky to have a really great group of people who were both dedicated students and good friends. We were motivated and helped each other through two NCLEX reviews. We could not have done it without Professors Connolly and Carrington, who are both incredible educators and amazing role models. I can attribute my success on the NCLEX-R.N. to the studying I did in Italy and the test taking strategies I learned while reviewing.”
The College of Nursing has worked to expand opportunities for students to travel internationally. This model is unique, in that it incorporated intense NCLEX-R.N. preparation. Based on its success, along with the feedback of students and faculty, it may be replicated in the future.
Categories: Health and Medicine