Four WVU School of Nursing students receive Beckley VAMC nurse residency

Pictured from Left: Elijah Brown, Robert Harris, Jestin Smith and Ted Cancel. 

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Four West Virginia University School of Nursing students on the Beckley Campus have been awarded a nurse residency through the VALOR program at the Beckley VA Medical Center.

Elijah Brown, Ted Cancel, Robert Harris and Jestin Smith have been accepted into the competitive VA Learning Opportunities Residency (VALOR) program, which provides opportunities for outstanding junior level Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students who want to provide care for those who have served our nation.

Selected students receive clinical experience with a qualified BSN RN preceptor, as well as an hourly rate or stipend. The program curriculum also helps students identify career goals and develop a professional development plan to help them reach those goals.

“We’re so proud of these outstanding students for securing this educational opportunity,” said Hillary Parcell, WVU School of Nursing Beckley Campus Chairperson. “We’re also grateful to the Beckley VA Medical Center for creating unique paths to employment for our graduates.”

The one-year residency program begins Aug. 8. Upon completion of the residency, VALOR program awardees will have an opportunity to join the Beckley VAMC staff if desired.

“This residency program provides opportunity for future registered nurses to experience the VA health care environment and gain understanding and dedication to the VA mission of caring for our nation's heroes,” said Tara Hulsey, Dean and E. Jane Martin Endowed Professor.

"I want to work at the VA and serve our veterans when I graduate and the VALOR program is the way to get a foot in the door. The acceptance means so much to me. I hope I learn as much as possible while I can also serve our veterans. I look forward most to learning hands-on nursing interventions and practicing as much as I can."
— Elijah Brown
"I’m a veteran and it's something I’ve always wanted to do — to serve my brothers and sisters in the armed forces. The military wears and tears on your body, mentally and physically. I can relate because I’ve been there. They signed their life away to protect us to give us the comforts and freedoms we have, and I’m willing to give them my all."
— Ted Cancel
"Though I am not a veteran myself, I applied to the VALOR program to help give back to the veterans that have served and represented the community that I came from. Having the opportunity to give back to the community and provide care in such a unique way has been a lifelong dream of mine. I am thankful for this opportunity and looking forward to expanding my knowledge of nursing throughout this process."
— Robert Harris 
"I applied to the VALOR program because it seemed like a great opportunity to learn and further progress my skill set, while also being able to help people who truly deserve it. This residency opportunity to me means everything to me. I am very thankful and appreciative that I have the opportunity to participate in this program at such a wonderful place."
— Jestin Smith, who has been in the Air Force for six years

Individuals interested in applying for future opportunities can contact Robin Monasmith at


CONTACT: Wendy Holdren
Director of Communications and Marketing
WVU School of Nursing