Before college, Gillian admits she was not interested in health care or in the nursing profession. “In high school, I always thought that I was going to be a teacher. Then, I had the opportunity to attend a medical camp over summer break. After that experience, I knew that I wanted to be a nurse,” Gillian recalls. She learned that she loves working with children and aspires to be a pediatric emergency nurse. Gillian had the opportunity to take her love of providing compassionate care abroad when she traveled to the Dominican Republic with the College of Nursing. “It was such a phenomenal experience,” says Gillian, “I can’t wait to return and to mentor the underclassmen my senior year.”
“As a VEMS volunteer, I have the opportunity to gain hands-on patient care experience and the ability to take on leadership roles within the organization,” explains Gillian. However, the process of becoming a qualified VEMS team member is lengthy and requires a considerable commitment. Initially, she obtained her CPR certification and was allowed to be an observer. Gillian notes, “I watched the upper classmen as they took calls, drove the ambulance, and provided medical care to people in need. Over summer break, I took class twice a week from 8:00 am to 5:00pm to become a certified emergency medical technician.” The certification enabled Gillian to work as an EMT at Hershey Park last summer.
Gillian has worked her way up the ranks of the VEMS organization throughout her college career. She explains, “I usually run one fourteen-hour shift during the week and at least one eighteen-hour weekend shift a month.” Her dedication and hard work earned her a recent promotion, through the election of her peers, to the position of captain. As a captain, “I have to be cleared to drive the ambulance and be a licensed EMT,” she offers. Some of her other leadership responsibilities include reviewing prospective volunteer applications, mentoring new volunteers, and creating the staff schedule. “It can be challenging to coordinate everything and be a nursing student at the same time, but I really enjoy what I do,” says Gillian.
When asked what she would like for people to know about the work that she does with VEMS, Gillian replies, “Overall, we just want to get the message out there that we’re here to help.” VEMS has made great contributions to the Villanova community. Gillian said, “We have helped a lot of very sick students, and our goal is to continue to create a positive image on campus.”