From the History of Art to the Art of Nursing
Published Dec. 1, 2021

For Sarah Yeager, a personal health experience led to a profession centered on caring for people.

Sarah Yeager, BSN, RN, was on her way to getting her bachelor’s degree in art history when her mother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer. Within a year, her mom had died. Yeager’s terrible loss presented her with a new perspective on nursing as a career. “My mom felt truly cared for by her nurses,” she says today. “I realized I wanted to go into a profession where I could help people, too.”

After graduating from nursing school, Yeager began UVM Medical Center's yearlong Nurse Residency Program in February 2019. Soon after she started working as an inpatient nurse on the general medicine unit. The Nurse Residency Program aims to strengthen and support nurses in their first year on the job by providing a community of peers and mentors who are invested in ensuring a successful transition to practice.

During the residency, Yeager and her colleagues practiced skills in a simulated setting during four-hour monthly sessions. There, they shared experiences and learned from experts, but Yeager says she most appreciated the emotional bonding that took place. “My nursing school did an amazing job, but nothing can prepare you for the reality of being a nurse – it takes patience and humility,” she says. “The Nurse Residency Program was a real draw for me to come to work at UVM Medical Center – not all hospitals have it.”

Yeager is now on the inpatient pediatrics unit, an assignment she adores. “I feel so grateful and honored to work with children and families during a unique and often very scary time for them,” she says. “If my mom knew I decided to be a nurse, she’d be surprised. But I think she’d be very proud.”

To learn more about UVMMC's Nurse Residency program, please click here.

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