For National Nursing Week, NOVA celebrates another class of nursing graduates. In the next couple weeks, these students, tucked away in their new jobs, will look very different than they could have imagined as they enter the workforce during a global health crisis. The pandemic is not only affecting current health care professionals, but also aspiring nurses ready to join medical teams on the front lines.
Reporter Nicole DiAntonio of WUSA9, the local CBS affiliate, has featured NOVA MEC Nursing faculty members, Dr. Mary Pat O’Brien, Christine (Chris) Slevin, Anne-Mette (Mette) Harding and nursing student, Maritsa Cholmondeley, to talk about empowering the next generation of healthcare workers.
The story can be found here.
Maritsa Cholmondeley, a graduating student at NOVA said, “it was inspiring watching fellow health care workers make a difference during this COVID-19 season, and I now feel ready to graduate and make a difference. I want to go into adolescent psychiatry to help young people who may already have mental health needs, and now have this added stress. It made me feel even more confident of the need for the work. I guess that makes it extra satisfying and rewarding because, when you do overcome these hurdles and you reach a summit of learning, you feel like you’re constantly building on the knowledge.”
Cholmondeley, after graduating with her Bachelors from Columbia University in New York, pursued her passion for giving back by working in development for non-profits and fundraising for programs. She enrolled as a student at NOVA in 2018 and saw nursing as her second career.
Like all NOVA courses, the transition to remote learning was made even more difficult after being forced to move classes and clinicals online. “The students came through in such a beautiful way, everyone showed up prepared and ready to do the work,” faculty member Anne-Mette Harding said. “We had already worked at putting on a robust clinical simulation program for our graduating students. We put together this program that would take them through a bunch of cases and simulations. Then, all of a sudden, the coronavirus hit, and everything stopped. We decided to take it online. We are going to make it virtual. We will make it happen. We need to get these students the hours they need for the Virginia Board of Nursing.”
The next class of nursing students plan to graduate soon during a first ever ‘virtual’ pinning ceremony. “I don’t think anyone in the class will ever forget. Each student that goes forward, they all go in different areas and they are all going to have an impact,” Dr. Mary Pat O’Brien said. “We look to you, the next generation. You are the future. Everyone goes out to make a difference and improve the situation. We don’t have all the solutions or answers, but we are always looking for them.”
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.