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Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Meet Arlena, an Army ROTC Student in the #UVA School of Nursing!

Arlena is taking over the blog today to talk about her experiences in the School of Nursing and the Army ROTC program. The list of places Arlena has traveled as part of the ROTC program is impressive! She's as well-traveled as a seasoned, international admission officer!
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My name is Arlena Burns. I am a fourth year nursing student from Sag Harbor, NY. I am
also Cadet Burns, a member of UVA’s Army ROTC program. This May I will not only be
graduating with a Bachelors of Science in Nursing, I will also be commissioning as a 2nd
Lieutenant Officer in the Army Nurse Corps. Although I devoted most of my time to the UVA
School of Nursing and Army ROTC, I continued to be a part of organizations that I was
passionate about. Over the last four years I have been a member of Kappa Delta Sorority, Order
of Omega Greek Honor Society, a volunteer at Montanova Stables through Madison House, an
outdoors club member and a work exchange student at Fly Dog Yoga. I also participated in UVA
intramural sports like volleyball on a team with my Kappa Delta Sisters and softball with cadets
in Army ROTC. There is so much you can be involved with at UVA. If there was an eighth day
in the week, I would probably join more clubs if I could. Although I wasn’t involved in
everything, what I was a part of, I was dedicated to, and it impacted my life in a way that truly
shaped who I am today.

Army ROTC offered me many opportunities to develop my leadership skills. This past
summer I completed Advanced Camp at Fort Knox in Kentucky. This is a rigorous 31 day
training event in which you are evaluated on your ability to demonstrate skills expected of an
army officer in both tactical and garrison environments. At Fort Knox, I was physically and
mentally pushed to my limits, but in hindsight, the challenges that I faced made me feel stronger,
more confident and resilient. After successfully completing Advanced Camp I went to Brooke
Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas where I completed the Nurse
Summer Training Program. This is unique to Army Nursing Cadets and offers us the opportunity
to intern at an Army Hospital. This clinical experience was invaluable to me. It helped me to
expand my nursing skills and medical knowledge exponentially.

Another experience that Army ROTC granted me was the opportunity to travel to India
for a language program called Project GO. I studied Urdu in New Delhi, India for two months
and received credit through the program’s host school, University of Wisconsin. I also traveled a
great deal while I was there to other cities in India like Jaipur, Amritsar and Rishikesh as well as
to surrounding countries such as Kathmandu, Nepal and Dubai, United Arab Emirates. The
people I encountered during these travels left such impressions on me. They gave me a renewed
sense of gratitude and showed me that with a better perspective you can appreciate more than
you could ever imagine in life, even the smallest things.

I was fortunate to have experiences that enriched my life both on grounds and beyond. In
terms of on grounds experiences, the UVA School of Nursing gave me so much. They didn’t just
impart the skills and knowledge that I needed to be a nurse, but the personal attributes as well.
As a nurse you are charged with taking care of people when they are at their most vulnerable. To
do this well it requires more than medication and medical skills. Upon graduating from the
School of Nursing you will likely have cultivated the ability to listen, lead, be compassionate,
and resilient. This is because the faculty and staff at our program displayed these attributes to us
and everyone around them in order to develop a safe, healthy learning environment.
I could likely go on about everything I have been involved with while at UVA and detail
every impactful experience that I have had as a result, however I hope that if you are interested
in anything that I have mentioned volunteering, greek life, ROTC, or Nursing that you consider
the experiences that you will have had when you are standing in my shoes about to graduate
from UVA. I would trade places with you and do everything over again in a heartbeat!
If you are interested in any of the organizations or programs that I have been mentioned feel free
to reach out to me at afb7av@virginia.edu!