Nursing Graduates Hit the Floor Running

Helen Yousef/Photo Courtesy of Jersey Shore Medical Center

 

Just hours before Hurricane Sandy roared ashore on October 29, 2012, Helen Yousef packed an overnight bag and reported for work at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune. A member of the first graduating class of the Georgian Court-Meridian Health School of Nursing, which bestowed 20 B.S.N. degrees in May, she didn’t know what injuries the superstorm would bring or when she would return home. One thing was certain: Helen was prepared to do her job.

“Working the day of the hurricane and in days after, I learned and truly appreciated the dedication, positive attitudes, flexibility, sacrifices and continued quality of care we—as hospital team members—provided despite the adversities in the hospital or in our personal lives,” says Helen, a 2012 GCU graduate. “Our staff shrunk significantly while the patient population was the greatest I have ever seen.”

In early 2013, the New Jersey Nursing Initiative highlighted the GCU-Meridian Health program for its innovative simulation project, which pairs nursing students with medical students. Led by nursing educators Teri Wurmser, R.N., Ph.D., department chair, and Jane Bliss-Holtz, R.N., D.N.Sc., associate chair, the program has received full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The goal was to build collaboration skills that would serve both professions once students enter the workforce. Since Helen’s pinning ceremony at the spring 2012 commencement, the university has graduated more than 30 additional nurses as the model partnership continues to attract industry attention. Georgian Court’s third class of nurses is set to march in May 2014.

Meeting Market Demands

Students are taught to work collaboratively with other members of the health care team as they provide holistic, patient-centered care. They also learn what it means to consider scientific evidence alongside the needs and values of patients, their families, and communities.

Students, faculty, hospital administrators, and industry observers say the GCU-Meridian Health emphasis on experience is key. In addition to taking tough classes, GCU students complete intense clinical rotations long before they look for employment. Helen Yousef, for example, worked in drug rehabilitation, parenting, early childhood healthcare, and other areas before graduation in May.

“Being able to help someone in their time of need is one of the most powerful things you can do,” says her classmate Brian Kiley ’12, who did stints in home health, oncology, orthopedics and psychiatric services at Jersey Shore Medical, Riverview Hospital and Ocean Medical Center.

“The B.S.N. is becoming the standard that employers look for, and through the program I found it interesting just how much nursing has to offer,” says Brian.

A Challenge and a Dream

For Lauren Taliaferro ’12, the road to becoming a nurse began before she finished high school.

At 17, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After treatment and as she moved into remission, Lauren volunteered a special camp for other kids battling cancer. After her experience as a patient and as a companion, she knew she wanted to work as a pediatric oncology nurse.

“It’s been a dream come true,” says Lauren, now a graduate student and a registered nurse at Ocean Medical Center. “Completing the nursing program was a challenge, but it really reinforced my dreams and my determination. When I first enrolled at GCU, I thought I was a follower, but because of all of the group work we had to complete and my experiences, I’ve become a leader.”

The original version of this story was published in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of Georgian Court University magazine with the title, “Nursing with Honor: Georgian Court Graduates Hit the Ground Running,” by Gail H. Towns.

 

Just hours before Hurricane Sandy roared ashore on October 29, 2012, Helen Yousef packed an overnight bag and reported for work at Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune. A member of the first graduating class of the Georgian Court-Meridian Health School of Nursing, which bestowed 20 B.S.N. degrees in May, she didn’t know what injuries the superstorm would bring or when she would return home. One thing was certain: Helen was prepared to do her job.

“Working the day of the hurricane and in days after, I learned and truly appreciated the dedication, positive attitudes, flexibility, sacrifices and continued quality of care we—as hospital team members—provided despite the adversities in the hospital or in our personal lives,” says Helen, a 2012 GCU graduate. “Our staff shrunk significantly while the patient population was the greatest I have ever seen.”

In early 2013, the New Jersey Nursing Initiative highlighted the GCU-Meridian Health program for its innovative simulation project, which pairs nursing students with medical students. Led by nursing educators Teri Wurmser, R.N., Ph.D., department chair, and Jane Bliss-Holtz, R.N., D.N.Sc., associate chair, the program has received full accreditation from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

The goal was to build collaboration skills that would serve both professions once students enter the workforce. Since Helen’s pinning ceremony at the spring 2012 commencement, the university has graduated more than 30 additional nurses as the model partnership continues to attract industry attention. Georgian Court’s third class of nurses is set to march in May 2014.

Meeting Market Demands

Students are taught to work collaboratively with other members of the health care team as they provide holistic, patient-centered care. They also learn what it means to consider scientific evidence alongside the needs and values of patients, their families, and communities.

Students, faculty, hospital administrators, and industry observers say the GCU-Meridian Health emphasis on experience is key. In addition to taking tough classes, GCU students complete intense clinical rotations long before they look for employment. Helen Yousef, for example, worked in drug rehabilitation, parenting, early childhood healthcare, and other areas before graduation in May.

“Being able to help someone in their time of need is one of the most powerful things you can do,” says her classmate Brian Kiley ’12, who did stints in home health, oncology, orthopedics and psychiatric services at Jersey Shore Medical, Riverview Hospital and Ocean Medical Center.

“The B.S.N. is becoming the standard that employers look for, and through the program I found it interesting just how much nursing has to offer,” says Brian.

A Challenge and a Dream

For Lauren Taliaferro ’12, the road to becoming a nurse began before she finished high school.

At 17, she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. After treatment and as she moved into remission, Lauren volunteered a special camp for other kids battling cancer. After her experience as a patient and as a companion, she knew she wanted to work as a pediatric oncology nurse.

“It’s been a dream come true,” says Lauren, now a graduate student and a registered nurse at Ocean Medical Center. “Completing the nursing program was a challenge, but it really reinforced my dreams and my determination. When I first enrolled at GCU, I thought I was a follower, but because of all of the group work we had to complete and my experiences, I’ve become a leader.”

The original version of this story was published in the Fall/Winter 2012 issue of Georgian Court University magazine with the title, “Nursing with Honor: Georgian Court Graduates Hit the Ground Running,” by Gail H. Towns.

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