A senior reflects on nursing practice

Meet Molly Burke from Massachusetts

Molly Burke
"I hope I never stop learning," says senior nursing student Molly Burke.

Molly Burke, a senior from Andover, Mass., admits that her father, a Villanova alumnus, may have influenced her decision to apply to the school, but she wasn’t completely sure until she toured the campus.  Molly remembers “touring a number of colleges in high school and nothing compared to the feeling I had when I walked around Villanova. As cliché as it may sound, as much as I chose Villanova, Villanova chose me.  There was a sense of community, a sense of happiness, and a sense of home.” Over the past four years, Villanova has been her home away from home, and allowed her to build new relationships, both professional and personal. “I owe all of my success to the professors and instructors whose hard work and support has made me the professional that I am today. I felt supported every day of the past four years and I will be a better nurse because of them.”

Molly’s interest in nursing began in high school where in her anatomy and physiology course she won a class contest and was allowed to observe an open heart surgery.  An interest in the medical field blossomed and she spent the following months shadowing professionals in different disciplines until she spent some time with a nurse practitioner.  She realized nursing was her calling, “I loved how intimate the relationship between the nurse and the patient was compared to the other provider-patient relationships and I knew that being able to see the impact I was making was important to me.”  As her nursing education progressed Molly realized “how integral nurses are in connecting all the pieces of care, how their scope of practice covers far more than I realized, how they are critical thinkers who can use clinical judgment in a different way than other health care providers because of their relationship with the patients and the families, and how they are depended on by the patients and also the providers to maintain a safe environment and a level of care that fits the patients’ needs.”

In the summer of 2015, Molly joined the outpatient oncology team at Massachusetts General Hospital.  When reflecting on that opportunity she considers it to be “unbelievably eye-opening” and allowed her to  “see a side of nursing that I had never experienced before, and that if you make an effort to be what your patient needs in that moment, you will find yourself making a much more substantial impact.” She found herself learning something new every day from not just her patients, but her co-worker mentors as well.

When thinking ahead to her future career as a nurse, Molly would be happy working in oncology, critical care, or in the operating room. As of right now she plans on moving back up to the Boston area, “but nothing is out of the realm of possibilities.”  One thing that she is certain about is sharing her knowledge and experience at Villanova with her peers, “I hope that I can be a mentor to nursing students the way that Villanova and all the providers in my clinical rotations have been mentors for me. I hope I never stop learning, and that I take every day as an opportunity to further my education.”