Chelsea joined VUMC as a perioperative nurse intern and now works as a Circulator with the
Neurosurgery Team. She is currently pursuing her MSN in Healthcare Leadership.
What has been your career path? Where are you now on your path?
I started my nursing career as a perioperative nurse intern at VUMC. Since completing the internship, I have spent two years working as a circulator with the Neurosurgery team. I have had the opportunity to work as a preceptor for nursing students and new nurses, assist with our Magnet site visit as a champion and escort, and am currently acting as our team's eStar preceptor to assist with our transition to a new EHR. I am also training to take on a more formal leadership role as one of our team's Relief Staff Leaders. VUMC and my team's leadership have supported and encouraged me as I pursue my MSN in Healthcare Leadership.
How did Vanderbilt University Medical Center's Perioperative Internship Program support your transition to practice? What has the experience meant to you?
For me, VUMC's Perioperative Internship program provided the ideal transition into professional practice. The program is structured to provide new perioperative nurses with an evidence-based introduction to a specialty that is nothing like what most of us experienced in nursing school. Not only was the material extremely relevant, but the "class" of new interns provided me with an immediate peer support network. My instructors, preceptors, and mentor ensured that I had the resources, knowledge, and skills that I needed to provide safe patient care, and helped me quickly achieve competence and confidence in my practice. I am extremely grateful that I had the opportunity to go through this program and enjoy acting as a preceptor and mentor for our new interns.
Did you consider other programs? Why did you choose Vanderbilt?
When I learned that we would be moving to Nashville, I researched healthcare organizations in the area that offered transition programs for new graduate nurses. When I discovered VUMC's Perioperative Internship, I knew that I wanted to apply. Although I had had little experience with perioperative nursing, I was excited about the opportunity to enter such a specialized field and work with an outstanding group of healthcare professionals. In addition, Vanderbilt's outstanding reputation, Magnet status, and emphasis on contributing to the growth of nursing and healthcare knowledge drew me in.
What is it about being a Vanderbilt nurse that makes you proud?
I am so proud to be a part of VUMC, and especially proud to be a part of such an incredible team. When I come to work every day, I know that I am going to be working collaboratively with a talented interprofessional team to complete procedures that truly change our patients' lives. Our critical thinking and knowledge base is constantly challenged and I can truly say that I learn something new every day. Our leadership is very responsive to any ideas for quality improvement initiatives, and I know that I have the autonomy to care for my patients to the best of my ability.