Villanova, PA, October 21, 2010 — Melding nursing and campus leadership is not new to Villanova nursing students but one senior, Megan A. Walsh, has put an even more unique spin on it. Walsh, the oldest of three children from Langhorne, PA. and the daughter of two Army officers, is the first nursing student to be the Battalion Commander of the University's Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps (NROTC) Unit, a role she assumed in Spring 2010 for this academic year.
"Nobody has really attempted this job so far because of the time commitment of the position, the hours necessary to commit to nursing clinical and class, and the amount of time required for planning, coordinating, and carrying out all NROTC events," explains Walsh. "I owe my ability to successfully carry out the semester to the help of my Executive Officer, Nicholas Moran, who is a senior marine option, and to the other dedicated members of the battalion staff." She is a humble, smart, talented —and very busy—student who also balances membership in Alpha Phi sorority and the campus club lacrosse team.
Why Naval ROTC? Walsh was inspired by the sister of a high school friend, Lt. Emily Karonis, '07 BSN who was then a Villanova Nursing student in NROTC. "She really introduced me to the relationship between Villanova and the Navy on campus and the important role of the nursing school in Villanova's Naval history," explains Walsh.
The NROTC experience complements the nursing leadership skills she continues to develop, as well as her clinical education. "ROTC enhances my nursing education by providing me with extensive summer training experiences. I came into clinical with experience and confidence after my summer training in a ship's hospital ward after my freshmen year, and at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego during this past summer," notes Walsh, where she was also able to shadow alumna Karonis. "After working in the naval hospital this past summer, I experienced the excellent reputation that Villanova Nurses have in the Navy, set by Villanova grads who are junior officers up to the Director of the Navy Nurse Corps and higher," she adds. Both training sessions essentially served as externships, providing her with hands-on experience treating general medical-surgical, obstetric and pediatric patients. It also exposed her to career options. She offers, "I would like to be stationed in NMC San Diego on either a postpartum, pediatric, or labor and delivery floor and eventually cross train into the NICU." She hopes to become a neonatal nurse practitioner.
Walsh sees how she has grown with even sharper skills in time management, short- and long-term planning, risk management and delegation. "These are crucial to my nursing career in managing patient care and delegating to make sure everything is completed to a high standard during the shift," says Walsh, adding "I've also learned how to adapt myself and my leadership style to work with a variety of people. I've learned the importance of honing in on what motivates people in order to help them appreciate the importance of getting a task done."