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Leading Care: Junior Dana Galgano and Villanova Nursing Without Borders

In this interview, junior Dana Galgano reflects on her leadership in advancing nursing through service in a pre-professional organization.

She is president, Villanova Nursing Without Borders, 2018-2019.

How did you rise to this leadership position?  I joined Nursing Without Borders my freshman year as soon as I came to Villanova. I was extremely excited about the potential to attend clinics and care for patients without having any prior clinical experience. Then my Sophomore year I was on the executive board as the Education chair. Through my experiences on the executive board, at the end of the year I decided to run for president. I am so thankful to have been elected!

Who influenced you?   One of my biggest influences during my time at Villanova has been my advisor Dr. Elizabeth Bruderle. She has been part of my Villanova experience since I began applying to the University in high school. Her leadership style is one I aspire to emulate, and she has always pushed me to take leadership roles on campus and ignite change.

Why is it important to you? Why are you enthusiastic about your work in this role?     Being in a leadership role in a service based organization like NWB has made it one of my favorite groups that I am part of on campus. Knowing that what we are doing, by organizing weekly clinics to help populations in need, is directly helping local Philadelphians in our community is such a rewarding pursuit. We coordinate clinics to allow Villanova students to connect with the community and learn how to care for patients from varying cultural backgrounds and circumstances, something that is imperative for nursing students to experience.

What are the issues you deal with and what’s the biggest challenge in your area?     Nursing Without Borders is a multi-faceted organization that focuses on our clinics, however we also must coordinate the areas of education, fundraising, and maintaining our social media platform. Fortunately, NWB is comprised of an incredible board that does a fantastic job managing their designated areas.

How are you effective in your role? What’s critical to your success in the role?    As I said earlier, I rely heavily on my executive board. They are always ready to assist in whatever task they can do for the betterment of the organization. Effective and open communication is critical in order to discuss our ideas to improve our the overall benefit our organization provides.

 How does innovation fit into your role as leader?   Innovation is a major part of being a leader. As President, it’s imperative that I am continuously thinking about ways to make our program better. Additionally, I try to think innovatively while considering the populations that we are caring for in terms of how we can better meet their health needs and deliver effective education.  

Is there anything you wish you’d done differently on your rise to this position or while in it?      I am currently working on improving the involvement of Villanova students in our clinics. We are developing our social media platform to spread the word about the various opportunities that we can offer students to participate in. I am also trying to improve our faculty involvement in promoting our clinics to their students, as well as increasing their participation in the clinics.

What’s your advice to someone who wants to be a leader in their area of interest?     My advice would be to lean into discomfort and take on risk. At the end of my freshman year, I applied to be on the executive board with the expectation that I would never be selected. I was nervous about applying to work with older,  more experienced nursing students, but they became my mentors within the organization and I was able to learn an incredible amount from them.

What is your leadership philosophy?     Ultimately, I try to lead by example. Enthusiasm is contagious with in our organization, so as long as I remain passionate about our cause and continue to serve with everything that I have, others will follow. I lead by setting goals and earning credibility through honesty and trust. Hopefully, it will help continue to improve NWB!

What’s your hope for our profession?      All nurses are blessed with the gift to take care of others. Our responsibility is not only to work after graduation, but to also serve. There are so many individuals out there that are in great need. If every nurse was able to get involved with service opportunities after graduation, we would live in a much healthier world.