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In-Depth Clinical Experience Leads to Career at Vanderbilt Medical Center

Faith Barbin '18 and a classmate working on a simulator baby
The use of Clinical Simulation is one of many hands-on strategies nursing students use to enhance clinical judgment and handling real-life

Faith Barbin ‘18 grasped every opportunity that came her way while studying nursing at Endicott College. Now, she works as a full-time registered nurse (RN) at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn., on the Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD)/Transplant Cardiac Stepdown Unit—a specialty she found out she was passionate about during her undergraduate clinical experience.

Here’s what Barbin has to say about the Endicott School of Nursing and how studying abroad has shaped the way she views the world.

Why did you choose to study nursing?
I transferred into the program not knowing a lot about what it meant to be a nurse. I knew I was someone who enjoyed science, and took a leap into starting Endicott’s nursing program. I was greeted by passionate and knowledgeable instructors, as well as an adviser who helped me tremendously in my first few months. After I started my first clinical rotation, it became clear to me that I had made the right decision and my passion for nursing began.

Nursing students work on simulator subjects in the lab.

How would you describe the School of Nursing?
Endicott’s nursing program is large enough that you can meet the most amazing classmates and support system, but small enough that your professors all know you and have the ability to work one-on-one with you. Every professor was more than willing to work with every single student to ensure that they understood the concepts and were able to succeed both academically and clinically.

In what ways did the School of Nursing prepare you for your career?
Endicott’s School of Nursing has done an incredible job at preparing its students for their careers, especially in the clinical setting. I was able to complete rotations at top-notch facilities with instructors who encouraged independence, growth, and knowledge. I went into my first job as an RN confident in the fact that I had already been exposed to many different aspects of nursing as an undergraduate.

Where did you do your internship/clinicals?
During my undergraduate years, I worked at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Lahey Hospital and Medical Center, Holy Family Hospital, MacLean Hospital, Boston Children’s Hospital, and North Shore Medical Center.

How were you supported by the nursing faculty?
The School of Nursing’s faculty are incredible in that they will stop at nothing to make sure that you are able to succeed. I met with my professors countless times outside of class. My adviser was kind, understanding, and supportive, and I have experienced the faculty going above and beyond to ensure that every student is getting the most out of their education. Especially in preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX), the staff and faculty are eager to work with everyone individually to ensure success.

How did your clinical experience prepare you for your career?
The most valuable undergraduate experience for me was my internship, which was in a cardiac surgery intensive care unit (ICU). I was able to gain confidence and autonomy in this setting, and I was so passionate about cardiac nursing that I ended up choosing a career with the same patient population. I now work on a heart transplant and VAD step down unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The knowledge that I acquired during my internship has directly correlated to my career and made me much more confident in my ability to care for my patients as a new graduate RN.

Explain the value of real-world experience in the nursing program.
(While classroom knowledge is extremely important, I have found that the information that I have used in my career as an RN has mostly been what I had been exposed to in clinical settings.) Being able to complete many different clinicals in a wide variety of settings has really set a strong foundation for my nursing practice and given me a lot of experience to build on.

Endicott also makes it possible to work while in school, and many of my friends worked as nurse assistants at local hospitals. For me, being able to work in a hospital, as well as having clinical experience in seven other hospitals, really made the difference and set me apart from my nursing peers.

How did studying abroad benefit you as a nursing student?
Studying abroad was one of the best decisions that I have ever made. I studied in Prague for four months in the fall of 2016. While I was there, I was able to travel to 11 different countries and experienced many different cultures. I am now able to take this experience and apply it to my nursing career, and I believe that it has made me a more culturally-competent nurse. I would recommend the study abroad program at Endicott, as I was able to experience a completely different way of life for a semester, and it has really shaped the way that I view the world.