8600 Old Georgetown Road | Bethesda, MD 20814
301-896-3100

New Grad – New Experiences

Do you remember the first day of your new career? It was something you had been looking forward to since before graduation. So many questions were on your mind.

Where will I work? How soon will I start a position? And more importantly, when can I start making a difference in patients’ lives?

I had been counting down the days until May22nd; the day graduation would finally arrive.  After  taking my NCLEX, an entrance exam that is required shortly after obtaining a nursing license, I was lucky enough to accept a nursing position with this great hospital, a feat that can prove extremely difficult for new graduates. The staff  in the Human Resources department were incredibly helpful, especially Veronica Perrow, my assigned nursing recruiter. Their efforts proved that I would be taken care of in my future here as a new employee at Suburban Hospital.

Day one of orientation on July8th would be what some of my fellow orientee’s would describe as “Survival of the Newbees”. It was a nearly 10-hour long day learning hospital policies, benefits information, codes of conduct, safety and security and other topics that are extremely important, but a lot to absorb in one day. Every speaker and Human Resources employee put  an incredible amount of effort to make sure we understood the material and were well caffeinated throughout the day. We had the opportunity to ask any and all questions and the staff were happy to answer each one thoroughly. Although it was information overload, thankfully I was provided plenty of handouts and information to take home and review on my own!

Nursing orientation started the following day.  It was starting to feel real to me as the long-awaited day was finally here for me to begin my nursing career! From the moment Liz Regan introduced herself as my nurse educator, I knew it was going to be a good week. She had a great sense of humor and such a bright personality. At one point after our hospital tour I was able to talk to her about some goals I had in mind for myself about advancing in the hospital. She was enthusiastic to hear my thoughts and offered simple words of encouragement. It was exciting to see her excited for us and it was easy to tell that she wants us to exceed and do well.

Throughout the week, we learned about some of the things that make this hospital great, which started to instill a sense of pride. Every speaker was so passionate about their specialty and believe that they are all making an impact in patient’s lives in this hospital as part of the entire team effort. I particularly remember Teresa Morella, a nurse on the stroke team, who spoke about the stroke team and their role within Suburban. She encouraged us to specialize in our respective fields and of course also encouraged us to consider specializing in the relatively new field of stroke nursing. Sara Rasmussen, another nurse educator, spoke about the experience we can get by participating in one of the many nursing councils. It is thrilling to hear that nurses assemble together in this hospital to advance their practice through meetings, conferences and research.

Suburban Hospital’s orientation has given me the foundation and knowledge of the hospital that is essential to treat patients who choose to come here for the same great reasons I chose to work here. With help from the orientation staff and my unit preceptors, I will be able to start my nursing career and treat patients with kindness, gentleness and caring, as well as help bring comfort to others.


Alicia Paterno, RN, BSN
Nurse Clinician I
6400 Adult Surgery/Trauma