Nursing Students Selected for Veterans Hospitals VALOR Program
Radford University senior nursing student Vicki Bernard of Floyd and junior nursing students Michelle Clayton of Pearisburg and Monique Vealey of Sussex County, N. J., have been selected to participate in the 2011 Veterans Affairs Learning Opportunity Residency program (VALOR).
The VALOR program provides students with an experiential learning opportunity in all facets of healthcare for veterans including treatment, infection control, anesthesiology, holistic health and social work issues. Each veterans hospital selects their own format for the residency positions.
Thirty students applied for the program this year. Bernard and Clayton were selected for residencies at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in Salem and Vealey was selected for a residency at the East Orange Veterans Hospital in New Jersey. Last year, two of the three 2010 VALOR recipients were also from the RU School of Nursing – Miranda Bishop of Riner and Nikita Hale of Roanoke who have now completed their VALOR experiences.
Students selected for the program are in the university's B.S.N. program and must have a 3.5 grade point average. The paid internships include 800 hours, beginning each summer and continuing through fall. Students set their own work hours. Application for the program also includes three letters of reference and a written essay on why they want to participate in veterans-affiliated healthcare.
Personal experiences within their families or circle of friends are often the basis for a student’s choice to work with veterans and the route they take to prepare themselves are as diverse as their reasons for entering the program. Bishop’s instructor during her internship encouraged her to journal her thoughts as she worked with the veterans.
“My writing was entitled 'Journey' and I based it on prints made by Van Gogh,” Bishop said. “I thought in the abstract and used his pictures to interpret life experiences.” Her decision to work with veterans was due, in part, to a family member who had suffered a stroke. During this event, she observed how Veterans Administration nurses are a valuable asset to patient care.