We're in the World

Megan in Shanghai

We’re in the World

Going Global!  In this newsletter, our fourth profile is of a Villanova alumna in North America. Future columns will introduce Villanova women in Asia and Australia. If you are an alumna currently in Asia or Australia and would like to be profiled, please contact Amy Molnar at amygmolnar@gmail.com.

Join us now as we take a quick trip down the East Coast of the United States and head 270 miles south from Villanova to Virginia!

Who:  Megan Walsh Vitali, Lieutenant, Nurse Corps, United States Navy

Where:  Virginia Beach, Virginia

Degree:  Nursing, 2011

Why Nursing?  Growing up, I looked up to my aunt and godmother, Anneclaire Walsh Kasper ’74 CON. Her compassion and dedication to her patients was inspiring, and from a very young age I knew I wanted to become a nurse.

Current Role:  I am the nurse manager of Naval Medical Center Portsmouth’s Labor and Delivery Department. Prior to Portsmouth, I was based at Naval Medical Center San Diego in Labor and Delivery.

Length in Role:  Three years.

Why Did You Choose that Profession?  Women’s health is a passion. There are highs and lows, and fortunately more good days than bad, but never a dull moment! I am humbled to be able to help women find strength they didn’t know they had in moments they feel the most scared.

Megan in Nurse Corps
Megan with CDR Katie Stewart (in the middle) and CDR Karen Belcar (on the left

How did Villanova prepare you for the role you are in today?  Villanova offered many opportunities that allowed me to hone my management skills early on in my career. The College of Nursing incorporated leadership in every course, helping to prepare graduates for frontline management soon after graduation. Villanova’s Naval ROTC program paralleled this preparation, teaching me unique leadership skills and providing a strong network of friends and colleagues that I still maintain very close contact with today.

Why did you choose Naval ROTC?  My parents were both Army Officers and, knowing their experiences, I knew I wanted to serve in a similar way.  I knew I wanted to attend Villanova, and when looking at programs, I loved the history and culture that Villanova’s Naval ROTC offered.  It was a difficult decision to go Navy in an Army household, but I’m still very happy with my decision!  The Villanova Naval ROTC program is truly unique and was an amazing experience for me as an emerging leader.

What was your favorite class at Villanova?  Anatomy and Physiology. This course presented a challenge, but Villanova’s professors and teaching assistants were engaged and passionate. They laid a foundation that I still utilize every day as a Registered Nurse.   

What do you miss most about Villanova?  I miss having so many of my closest friends nearby, and the basketball games are not the same on TV!

What is the best piece of advice you ever received?  A truly great leader surrounds herself with talented people who are unafraid to speak up and challenge her thinking.

What do you love about where you are now?  Naval Medical Center Portsmouth is a major military hospital in the busiest military region in the country. This location affords a wide network of connections with all branches of the military.  The Hampton Roads/Tidewater area has large Army, Navy, Air Force and Coast Guard bases all closely located to one another, which encourages enterprise wide thinking and provides a truly unique military experience.  I love working with this network of professionals, especially the gifted nurses I am privileged to lead on Portsmouth’s high risk Labor and Delivery floor.

What are some of your interests?  Working to find solutions to caregiver stress and burnout, seeking creative solutions to nursing shortages and staffing demands, optimizing performance and talent management.

Do you have a major goal for yourself right now?  Currently, I am halfway through a Masters of Business Administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business. My goal is to continue to maintain a hands-on role as a Labor and Delivery nurse while utilizing business expertise to address real challenges the nursing profession is currently facing from a different prospective.

What is something about you that not many people know? I try and find time each day to do something that increases mindfulness. This is typically just a few minutes of my day spent pulling one or two weeds from my garden, but small rituals like this help me reset after a stressful day.

What do you like to do for fun?  I enjoy spending as much time as I can with friends and family.  My husband and I enjoy taking our two-year-old Golden Retriever on trail runs in the local Virginia State Parks.

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Cheryl Carleton
Director, Villanova Women's Professional Network

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