“I chose Shenandoah University because of their ability to look at every student individually and not as just a number,” said Nicole E. Kunkel ’20. “Shenandoah goes above and beyond with teaching and will stop at nothing to make sure you understand the material given to you. Additionally, Shenandoah’s small class sizes make you feel like a family and not just another class.”
Kunkel decided to pursue a degree in nursing from Shenandoah’s Eleanor Wade Custer School of Nursing because she wanted to provide people with the education they needed to live healthier lives and she wanted to be there to comfort patients and families during some of the most difficult times in their lives.
One of Kunkel’s fondest memories of her time at the School of Nursing was having the opportunity to travel to Ghana with students from the different divisions of the university, including athletic training, physician assistant studies and occupational therapy students. While in Ghana, the students treated more than 900 Ghanaians who lived in a rural part of the country that has limited access to medical care. “The trip still lives with me as a nurse today and makes me want to eventually help on NGO medical mission trips,” said Kunkel.
She also enjoyed all the clinicals she did throughout her time at the university, which were at various units at the Winchester Medical Center and the Berkeley Medical Center in Martinsburg, West Virginia. This allowed her to discover which patient population she wanted to work with after graduation.
Kunkel works as a nurse in the Medical-Surgical Unit at Inova Loudoun Hospital in Landsdowne, Virginia. She provides care to a variety of different patients, but they have mostly been COVID-19 patients the past few months. “I collaborate with other health care professionals about a patient’s care, advocate for patients when they aren’t comfortable and educate them about their medications and disease processes,” said Kunkel.
Kunkel believes her Shenandoah education prepared her for her career by giving her the fundamental nursing skills she needed and confidence to share her knowledge to care for her patients. She also credits Shenandoah for her time management skills and personable nature.
“This ultimately allowed me to become a well-rounded nurse,” said Kunkel. “The professors are so inspiring and compassionate that it has made me think about pursuing a master’s level nurse educator program in the next few years!”