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Nursing Students Honored for Vanderbilt Medical Center Internships

Pictured from left are undergraduate nursing students Gabrielle Pappas, Sarah Steele, Jennifer Bognar and Dr. Leslie Folds, associate professor of nursing.

Pictured from left are undergraduate nursing students Gabrielle Pappas, Sarah Steele, Jennifer Bognar and Dr. Leslie Folds, associate professor of nursing.

For the past seven weeks, 18 Belmont senior-level nursing students participated in a summer internship program called Vanderbilt Experience: Student Nurse Internship Program (VESNIP) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC) along with students from four other regional nursing programs. Three Belmont nursing students were awarded the highest honors at the culminating awards ceremony held June 25 in the Waddington Conference Room at Monroe-Carroll Children’s Hospital.  A total of seven awards were given; three went to Belmont students.  VUMC credo behaviors identify those individuals that aspire to excellence and expert performance. Jennifer Bognar received the Credo Award for Psychiatric/Mental Health Track, Gabrielle Pappas received the Credo Award for the Perioperative Track, and Sarah Steele received the Credo Award for the Women’s Health Track.  

“It is clear that our students continue to incorporate the mission, vision, and values of Belmont University in their interactions with patients, families, and the entire healthcare team.  Our students consistently pursue excellence,” said Dr.  Leslie A. Folds, who coordinates the program for Belmont School of Nursing.

This is the tenth year of the VESNIP program. The program began as a partnership between Belmont School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It has now expanded to a total of 62 students and includes five Tennessee and Kentucky nursing schools. The VESNIP positions are very competitive and are considered elite opportunities for students from around the region.

“Overall the VESNIP experience allowed me to see myself as a nurse. Through multiple opportunities to practice nursing skills and employ critical thinking, my knowledge base as a nurse has begun to strengthen and grow outside of the school setting.  I feel comfortable working in a hospital setting now, and I have a clearer view of my roles and responsibilities as a future nurse,” said Claire Zetak, a Belmont nursing student in the Critical Care Track.

Betsy Sanders, a Belmont nursing student who participated in the Perioperative Track, said, “Nursing students fortunate enough to participate in VESNIP experience a level of nursing not attainable by simply fulfilling clinical requirements. I am leaving this seven-week program with enhanced nursing skills, a better understanding of the all-encompassing responsibilities of being a nurse and a true appreciation for the multidisciplinary teamwork necessary in providing patients with safe, efficacious and patient-centered healthcare.”

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