Nursing, Biochem prepare students for medical fields

Featured Image: Students in Advanced Biochemistry work in groups for lab. Sasha Saxon | Marlin Chronicle

Virginia Wesleyan University has recently added two new programs of study, Nursing and Biochemistry, to its list of majors to select. These additions increase the number of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) majors for students to choose from. 

Mary Brennan is a student of the Nursing program at VWU. “I decided to study nursing during the pandemic because I saw how few caregivers there were and how much we all relied on them, especially during that time,” Brennan said. 

The job and career field of nursing is one connected to emotion and humanity. “As a kid, I remember one nurse, Miss Francis, always gave me shots and she hated them as much as I did. But she would always make me feel comfortable and safe and to this day I have yet to find a nurse as caring as Miss Francis. She made me want to care for and help others just like she did,” Brennan said.

Brennan said the Nursing program inspired her to come to the university and many aspects of the new nursing program will benefit the students in the future. 

“One of the reasons I decided to attend VWU is because of their partnership with the Sentara Family Medical Center. I will apply for their program at the end of this semester and, if accepted, I will be taking classes at their School of Nursing as well as electives at VWU,” Brennan said. 

Anna Milligan, a junior in the Nursing program, is complementary of the program. “I definitely would recommend it to anyone that thinks they want to be in the medical field,” Milligan said.

The nursing program at VWU offers a wide range of classes. “So far, I have found that the hardest class in the nursing program is anatomy and physiology, which makes sense because there’s a lot to learn,” Brennan said. “We were also required to take psychology during our first semester and that class was very intriguing.” 

“There’s so many opportunities to see so many different things at Sentara so there’s something for everyone,” Milligan said. “The education is top tier, with an NCLEX pass rate of 90% or something. The professors are really passionate about education and they will hunt down clinical experiences for their students.”

What makes the nursing and biochemistry fields so interesting is the fact that the students can be academically challenged and persevere through the tough workload. “In all, the classes I have taken so far, while challenging, have been very rewarding and prepared me to continue studying a profession that is near to my heart,” Brennan said. 

Biochemistry is a field that combines disciplines from biology and chemistry to understand and explain more complex situations and problems. According to the Virginia Wesleyan website, Biochemistry is a major applicable to a variety of careers.

“The program accommodates chemistry and other science majors, pre-med/pre-vet students and students planning to pursue health and allied health professions, as well as students wishing to teach biochemistry at the secondary level,” the website said.

Brooke Anderson, a senior Biology major, expressed interest in the Biochemistry major. “I think the Biochemistry major is a great addition to the options for a major here at VWU. If it had been an option when I was declaring a major I would have picked it. It provides an amazing integration of the biology and chemistry classes at VWU. A great option for any kind of Pre-medical track,” Anderson said.

Students interested in the Nursing program or Biochemistry major can find more information on the fact sheets at The program chair and faculty contact for the Biochemistry major is Dr. Kevin Kittredge at

By Franklin Washington