The loved one we cared for who helped us picture it. The mentor who identified a strength we hadn’t yet realized.

The hospital imperative that transformed into a deeply-felt personal goal. The specialty we sensed we needed as we cared for patients each day. The research project that ignited our brains. The clinician colleague we watched return to school with awe and respect. The hunger for business, financial, and leadership savvy to “be at the table” everyone’s always talking about.

The moment when we realized the nursing we thought we knew was just the tip of the iceberg.

There are many ways that nurses and nurses-to-be become and amplify their practice at UVA. From our three BSN pathways, two routes to a DNP, a fully funded PhD program for nurse scientists, and the five specialty tracks to a master’s degree, including our award-winning CNL program, there is something for every nurse (and those who want to be nurses) at every professional stage.

But showing is always better than telling. And, so, we invite you to meet some people for whom these transformations are happening.

Learning to Lead

Students come to the Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) master's program from an almost absurd variety of backgrounds:

they're arborists and artists, pastors and pilots, bench scientists, beer brewers, filmmakers, musicians, teachers--and more. 

"Nursing isn't any different [than music]," explained CNL student Sarah Russell-Hunter, a violinist since age six, a Suzuki method violin instructor, and member of the Charlottesville Symphony Orchestra. "We all have to be on the same page."

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A Do-Able BSN for RNs

In a moment when RN to BSN enrollments are declining, UVA's part-time, hybrid program is growing.

"The idea of going back to college is a lot," said INOVA cardiovascular ICU nurse and RN to BSN student Diana Hernandez, who is part of the Fairfax cohort of students, "but when you start breaking it down into little steps, it's like, 'OK, here's a win, here's another win,' and by the time I look up, it's like, 'Oh, my God, I'm halfway there. And I'm still OK.'" 

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When High-Level Learning is Fun

For a lively lesson in collaboration and rapid cycling PDSA ("plan, do, study, act"), DNP students used toys to drive home deep lessons about process improvement.

The Potato Head family is rushed to the hospital after a terrible bus accident and multiple critical injuries. The emergency response team are responsible for putting them back together again correctly under a variety of conditions . . . over, and over, and over. Hilarity (and quality improvement lessons and learning) ensued.

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Distinguished Major to Doctorate

Former professional ballerina Molly Yeo (BSN ’24) remembers getting the HPV vaccine while still a teenager, but, at least at that point, not giving much thought as to whether her male peers would or should also receive it.

But when she observed during clinical rotations the impact that HPV-related cancers had on men, she found her "thing": research. Now, as a PhD student, urging upticks in HPV vaccination among boys and men will become her focus.

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Daring to Dream

Nursing students truly make the best recruiters. It's why this annual event, which draws dozens of high schoolers to the School of Nursing from across the state is so energized.

"It just takes one person for them to see themselves here," said Nakayla Figgins, a BSN who's president of the Diversity in Nursing for a Better Community group, "to see that they really can belong in this field. That's what we're doing."

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An Accelerated BSN

This spring, the School's first 24-members cohort of Accelerated BSN students will earn their degrees.

Their pathway, which included two years of full-time study at UVA preceded by a serious of prerequisites that they took off Grounds, is intense, which sometimes means people get "scared away," explained ABSN student McKenna Mason, but they shouldn't be. Yes, "there are no pauses, no rests; you just keep on going and you feel as you go that you're really, truly ready."

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Diving into Clinicals

Direct entry into nursing programs like UVA's are great for those ready to dive into clinical rotations,

which begin second semester of BSNs' second year. Once practice site is Innisfree Village, a residential home for adults with intellectual disabilities, tucked away in rural Crozet, Va., where students like Isabelle Carney and others get experience caring out in the community.

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