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Meet the Program Chair: RN to BSN

By Bay State College on June 9, 2021
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Bay State College: What do you do outside of your work at Bay State College?

JV: I am an actively practicing Registered Nurse at Brigham and Women's Hospital in the level I emergency department. I also volunteer with humanitarian and medical mission trips, am pursuing my Doctorate of Nursing Practice, and am an avid home renovation enthusiast.

Bay State College: What accomplishments are you particularly proud of?

JV: I am most proud of the students I have been able to mentor, either as a faculty member, clinical instructor, capstone preceptor or colleague-mentor. To see nurses continuing their education, become movers and shakers in the profession, exhibiting compassion at the bedside reinforces why I do what I do.

Bay State College: Was there a moment in your youth when you knew this would be where you landed as an adult?

JV: My mom is a retired educator and my father is a retired health professional. I always leaned towards the medical/scientific side of things. But, early in my career, I began teaching clinical for a practical nurse program. I knew then what my mom always knew; I would be an educator. Maintaining clinical competence is the foundation of my teaching, which is why I continue to practice at the bedside.

Bay State College: Working in this industry, what have you learned about your strengths and your weaknesses?

JV: I have learned that...you never stop learning. Once a nurse becomes static in their practice, their expertise fades. I arrive at both of my jobs with an open mind and a willingness to be taught by others...On the flip side, I recognize that I am extremely hard on myself and set sometimes unrealistic goals. I lean on others to ground me in those moments. 

Bay State College: Did you have any mentors or people who deeply influence who you are and what you're committed to in your work and life?

JV: So, so many. Mentors come in all shapes and sizes. I have been fortunate to be mentored by Chief Nursing Officers, Nurse Managers, Nurse Directors, nurse colleagues and even students. I am inspired every day by amazing nurses I work with at Bay State College. Not only are they colleagues but they are friends. They make coming to the college a true delight.

Bay State College: What is one thing you hope your students learn from you?

JV: Don't become complacent. Ask questions. Collaborate. Stand tall in your profession. Embody the definition of a nurse.

Bay State College: What do you view as the greatest challenges and opportunities facing your industry today?

JV: Workload and scope of profession. I'll explain. With the advancements in healthcare, patients are arriving to the hospital sicker and more critical than they did 20 years ago. Now, when a patient presents to the emergency department, they are often in dire need of help. The skill and knowledge required of nurses is vast and they have to be ready for anything. People outside of the profession of nursing don't really understand this broad scope of practice. There is a strong historical notion of nurses being "doctor's helpers" but we are far from it. Nurses can be found not just in hospitals, but in schools, research laboratories, forensics, computer technology, international medical evacuations, and disaster management, to just name a few. As a nurse, you can do just about anything that embodies your interests and passions.

Bay State College: What do you view as the greatest challenges and opportunities facing students - specifically those entering your industry today?

JV: Students in the RN to BSN program, in general, are already practicing. Many fit the demographic described as "non-traditional," meaning not the 18-24 year old typical college-aged student. They are at a point in their careers when they are considering "what's next"? They have clinical expertise and now they are looking to push the boundaries of their personal practice, the profession, and their job satisfaction. Defining what is next requires self-reflection and a careful balance of work-life happiness. Having their baccalaureate degree opens many doors not available earlier in their career.