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Ryan Summers and Meghan Baron will enter nurse residency at Vanderbilt.
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Nursing Grads Enter Prestigious Residency Program

By Christian Taske '07

Two graduates of Notre Dame College’s nursing program were chosen over hundreds of other applicants to enter one of the most prestigious nurse residency programs in the country.

Meghan Baron ’11 and Ryan Summers ’11 will begin graduate studies at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., next week. They are two of 100 students who were accepted into the program that offers each participant a salary, concentrated training and two years of employment at the medical center, along with the opportunity to pursue a doctorate.

Baron and Summers were chosen despite tough competition. Nearly 1,000 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduates from across the country applied for the program. Two-thirds were invited to interview for one of the sought-after spots.  

“The interview process involved three individuals who are professionals in the nurse practice, clinical and education sides of the nursing field,” Baron said. “The people we met were really low-key and very relaxed throughout the process. It was a positive experience from start to finish.”

Baron and Summers will begin classes on July 11. They can choose to train in one of six areas: psychology, pediatrics, adult critical care, surgery, med/surge or women’s health. Baron will focus on psychology while Summers hopes to specialize in pediatric oncology.

“The first seven weeks we rotate through all the units at the teaching hospital,” Summers explained. “Once we finish our seven weeks, we have a ‘match day,’ which lets us choose where we’d like to take more time. The clinical preceptors also have a voice in where they’d like us to visit.”

After completing the one-year-long program, the students are guaranteed two years of employment and free tuition at Vanderbilt. They can choose to continue their education all the way up to a Doctorate in Nursing Practice degree.

Summers and Baron said they hope to gain confidence as nurses and get experience in their chosen fields. Summers plans to continue his education with a Master’s of Science in Nursing, while Baron wants to pursue her Certified Nurse Specialist degree and become a nurse practitioner.

Both Baron and Summers joined Notre Dame’s BSN program in 2008 and are members of only the second BSN class to graduate from NDC. The program taught them what it means to be a nurse and prepared them for a successful career, they said.

“I learned that nursing means taking care of the whole person. It’s general wellness, not just physical,” Summers said.

The College’s location near Cleveland with its many leading healthcare facilities and the chance to spent time in some of the best clinical locations in the country was a major advantage, Summers and Baron said.

“Our education at NDC helped us narrow down our interest areas,” Baron said. “We got a great overall picture of each of the areas of medicine and then networked with people and really were able to focus on what we loved.”

When Baron and Summers were invited by Judy Risko, instructor of mental health nursing at NDC, to speak to junior nursing students about being successful, they told them to get involved.

“Get involved with committees and the student nursing association,” Summers said. “Even if it’s the last thing you think you have time for. It’s really important.”

Baron said that nursing students at Notre Dame College can have an impact.

“At NDC you can have a big voice if you serve on the committees,” she said. “You can help on the curriculum, student activities, admission and retention committees by being the voice of your fellow students. Both Ryan and I saw the impact our involvement had. It was really powerful.”

Baron and Summers hope they will have an impact on the nursing field during their careers. They just recently took the next step to accomplish that as they passed their NCLEX exams in Tennessee, which officially made them registered nurses.

Christian Taske '07 is the editor and writer at Notre Dame College.