VCU School of Nursing News Archive

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Nursing student Grace Nowadly

What draws students to a nursing education? Grace Nowadly, class of 2023, says it’s that the possibilities are endless

For many newcomers to the VCU School of Nursing, the website might be the first glimpse of what a nursing education can offer.“ Even just a quick scan of the faculty interests page shows that the research being done at the school ranges from genetics studies that are microscopic in scale all the way to widespread nursing education studies that impact nurses and patients across the country” says Grace Nowadly, class of 2023, a B.S. student in the research fellowship track. That variety and clarity was one of many reasons she was attracted to the program at VCU. “As an applicant, I could see that the VCU School of Nursing was investing in training nurses across various levels of clinical practice and that graduates ended up succeeding in disciplines all across the hospital and beyond.” Making sure students see all of the possibilities is front and center of all that the school does. The make-your-own path appeal of nursing is a concept the school’s faculty visits repeatedly with students throughout the course of their time in the school. “They have shown me that there is no one definition to nursing research and, no matter my interests, I could find a place within this discipline.”

Nursing shortages of the last few years have meant more than a strain on personnel at the bedside–it has also meant a shortage of the resources that have a hand in preparing nurses for the profession. The availability of instructors, clinical sites and classroom space have remained flat or have even declined, unable to keep up with the demand of a growing prospective nursing student population. Nowadly says the tremendous effort the school makes to secure those resources and placements is evident. “We learn from nurses, both formally from those that teach our small-group clinical classes and organically from those that we’re paired with to shadow and work alongside in the hospital,” says Nowadly. “Limited staffing means our clinical instructors and coordinators must work even harder to organize meaningful opportunities for the hundreds of students we have at the VCU School of Nursing. I can only imagine the effort these teams are putting in behind the scenes to help all of us reach graduation and I couldn’t be more grateful for the work they do!”

Keep an open mind while you go through school and never turn down an opportunity to experience something new!

Grace Nowadly, Class of 2023

Almost any nursing student will tell you that being successful in their education means attention to coursework and practicing clinical skills. Nowadly says she would add a third element to that balancing act–learning while staying open to possibilities not yet explored. “Keep an open mind while you go through school and never turn down an opportunity to experience something new!” Her advice? Explore every path. “Before I started this program, I had numerous assumptions about which disciplines of nursing I would like or dislike and consequently had courses and clinicals that I looked forward to more than others. Once we got into the hospital, I had to toss all my preconceived ideas out the window. The units I assumed were not for me have brought me some of the best learning experiences, most knowledgeable nurses, and gracious patient populations. Now I look for any opportunity to work in and learn from a new setting.”

by Moira Neve

Categories News, Students