Jessica W.

NRWhat has been your career path? Where are you now on your path?

While I was getting my Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), I participated in the Vanderbilt Experience: Student Nurse Internship Program (VESNIP).  After completing VESNIP, I started working at Vanderbilt University Hospital as a Nurse Extern in the Float Pool for Medical/Surgical units.  I then transitioned into the Nurse Residency Program in the Behavioral Health track and worked at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital for five years (full-time) and became a Registered Nurse 4 and obtained my board certification in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nursing.  I spent three years during that time as a Clinical Instructor for Mental Health Nursing in a BSN program.  Next, I transitioned into my current role as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) for Homeless Health Services and the Adult Psychiatric Consultation Service where I have been for about eighteen months.  I will soon finish my Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and plan to continue my current full-time job and also work part-time in a PMHNP program.

How did Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Nurse Residency Program support your transition to practice? What has the experience meant to you?

The VUMC Nurse Residency Program enabled me to become a psychiatric nurse.  The additional classes, training, and mentoring helped me become more comfortable and skilled at my job.  I would recommend VUMC's Nurse Residency Program to everyone; it is something that I will never regret as it was tremendously beneficial. 

Did you consider other residency programs?  Why did you choose Vanderbilt?

I knew I wanted to do psychiatric nursing, and it was very difficult to find a psychiatric nurse residency program in 2010 when I graduated.  I was fortunate to be part of the pilot program for the Behavioral Health track at VUMC.  I was already working at VUMC and knew it was where I wanted to continue my career.  I chose Vanderbilt because it provides exceptional medical care to patients and has many talented employees to learn from in a teaching environment.  I also appreciate the numerous opportunities for continuing education such as when I participated in the Evidence-Based Nursing Practice Fellowship and was able to conduct a quality improvement project in my work setting.

What is it about being a Vanderbilt nurse that makes you proud?

I have always been proud to be a Vanderbilt nurse because the institution provides me with the resources needed to provide excellent care to my patients and has developed me into a well-rounded healthcare provider who has had many different experiences over these past seven years.

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