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Robert Townsend

As an Emergency Room nurse, Robert Townsend makes it a personal goal to make sure people always know what their next step is. “People who come into the ER often have information overload and stop listening. I enjoy helping them with that,” explains Robert. “I also really like the camaraderie and teamwork that happens among the ER staff to make things happen during a true emergency. That’s a huge blessing.”

Robert, who grew up in Halifax, also considers working in a rural area to be a blessing. After graduating from high school in 2008, Robert studied to become an RN at Southside Virginia Community College and obtained a BSN from Sentara. He chose to stay in the area because he appreciates the community and because healthcare makes a real impact here:  “A rural hospital makes a huge difference in caring for a huge number of people.”

Making a difference is what drew Robert to nursing; while he was growing up, he was an Eagle Scout, and he has always believed in helping others through good will. He finds nursing extremely rewarding as well as challenging, and encourages others to explore the field: “There are millions of ways to make a difference in the world of healthcare.”

Robert chose the path he did—a two-year-degree at SVCC followed by a year and a half of online work through Sentara’s program—because it was cost effective and provided him with a great education. At SVCC, he had access to a simulation lab with two beds, which creates a clinical setting to prepare students for possible medical scenarios. His work through Sentara, which has an RN to BSN “bridge” program, was focused on classwork and nursing theory.

Robert recommends that anyone pursuing a nursing degree talk to a friend in the field, or find someone with experience who is willing to be a mentor or guide. He also has some great advice for your years of study: “You don’t have to lock yourself away. You can obtain a nursing degree and still have a life; it’s all in how you apply yourself during your time.”