In continuing our Moments of Pride series and celebrating nurses all month, here’s another alumna sharing why she loves being a nurse and how her education prepared her for her role, especially in light of the current unprecedented health care challenges. Meet Nicole Downey (B.S.’19/N), a registered nurse on an inpatient unit at VCU Health, North 5 Comprehensive Medicine.

Q. What do you enjoy most about being a nurse? 

photo of nurse in protective gear

A. I absolutely love interacting with my patients every day and how no day is the same. We get to be with patients in their most vulnerable times and getting to be a part of that is such an honor. I love that nursing is a field where you are constantly learning and get to increase your knowledge and skills. While some days are very difficult for many reasons, I wouldn’t want to do anything else and I feel so lucky to be a nurse!

Q. How has your VCU School of Nursing education prepared you for your work as a nurse, particularly in situations such as the COVID-19 pandemic?  

A. Having clinicals at VCU as well as being a care partner helped prepare me for what my role would be as a nurse. In situations like this where things are changing each day, it helped to have the experience to go with the flow and be adaptive to constant change and always ready to learn. My clinical instructors and professors at VCU SON helped me to learn to remain calm in situations while knowing when to escalate care when needed. 

Q. Can you share any words of encouragement or advice to current and future nurses? 

A. Even though nursing school can be so tough, try to stay encouraged and remember that it will be SO worth it. I love my job even more than I could’ve ever imagined and I still think about how grateful I am to have gotten into such a great program at VCU. Knowing that the little things make a difference like making sure patients are comfortable and feel cared for really helps on the hard days, and remembering that no nurse is perfect and there is something to learn from every mistake helps as well. 


Categories Alumni and Friends, Moments of Pride
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