Two College of Nursing BSN students were chosen this summer to participate in the Veterans Affairs Learning of Opportunity Residency (VALOR) program which is operated at the Lyons and East Orange campuses of the VA New Jersey Health Care System.
The VALOR program recruits students each year who have earned a GPS of 3.0 or higher and have completed their junior year in an accredited nursing program.
Daisy Acevedo and Kristin Donadio were chosen for highly competitive 10-week program which gave them invaluable professional and personal experience. Donadio said that the experience strengthened her confidence as a nurse and was grateful for the opportunity to give back to the nation’s Veterans.
Acevedo spoke of an experience when a patient she was taking vital signs for showed signs of low oxygen. She said that the training gave her the ability to recognize the urgency and report it immediately. She added that it felt good to have the confidence to know what to do on her own.
Marlene McLeod-Robinson, MSN, VALOR Program Coordinator said she was proud of Acevedo and Donadio. “My hope and wish is that they will work for our cherished Veterans in the future,” she said.
The two students spent the ten weeks rotating between a variety of medical units including psychiatry, same day surgery and intensive care. Students of the program are assigned a designated nurse preceptor to work with side-by-side in an effort to develop key nursing competencies, especially those required to care for veterans. They were also given the opportunity to participate in the Nurse Practice Counsel. Both students said that their experience at the VA has guided them to pursue careers in critical care.
The program was wrapped up with students delivering a capstone presentation to staff and nurses from the VA and senior Clinical Nurse Leader students from the College of Nursing.