After graduating in 2005 from Radford University’s nursing program, I traveled to Washington, D.C., for an interview and received the surprise of my life: The interviewer looked at my resume and said, “You graduated from Radford? You’re hired!”
I had no idea that a small college in Southwest Virginia had such a prominent reputation. Subsequently, in working with some new graduates of other programs, I found their clinical experiences were mainly observational, as opposed to the hands-on clinical experiences that Waldron College offered. I was grateful for how much work the professors put into my education. They held the students to the highest expectations and emphasized the importance of lifelong learning. The small size of classes and clinical groups allowed the experiences to be personalized for each student’s needs. For example, Professor (Virginia) Weisz noted that I was struggling with a topic in assessment, so she gave me an extra quiz to take home. Dr. (Lisa) Onega encouraged students to discuss what made us unique and how to implement this in our nursing practice.
Their diligence as instructors motivated me to precept students myself and ultimately to continue on to graduate school, where I am currently enrolled in a family nurse practitioner (F.N.P.) program.
Because of my experience in the Waldron College School of Nursing, I am proud to recommend Radford to anyone considering a nursing career. I will always value what I learned in the health professions library, with its free electronic versions of journals that make research fast and easy. I will remember the lounge as a place to study with a group, take a nap between classes or catch up with fellow students. And can any of us forget the assessment lab and Stan, the simulation mannequin? My favorite place was the instruction area—no cramped, tiny desks but rather a spacious area conducive to learning. Professors found time to talk to us nursing students about the various tracks of study available and to help us choose which one to pursue.
The challenging career path I am following today was made accessible to me by my teachers at Radford. Thank you!
Dana Garnand ’05 lives in Reston and is enrolled in the family nurse practitioner graduate program at Shenandoah University in Winchester.