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06/08/2018

Unique Clinical Experiences Kickstart Alumna’s Career

UHart's community outreach program 'Project Horizon' helped Daileann Hemmings become a better nurse.

Hands-on clinical experience is essential to become a good nurse. At the University of Hartford, students gain that from clinicians at local hospitals but also by participating in our unique community outreach program, Project Horizon. As one of the only programs of its kind in the Northeast, students intern weekly at local homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and schools to build rapport and offer education. In many instances these residents don’t have access to health care. 

For alumna Daileann Hemmings ’06, M’11 Project Horizon was a life-changing experience that helped to broaden her knowledge, which directly impacted the care provided to her patients. 

“Through the program, I learned to think outside of the standard plan of care. The experience emphasized the importance of providing individualized care," Hemmings says. 

Hemmings was an intern at the South West Boys and Girls Club of America in Hartford, Conn., Here she focused on helping young girls gain self-esteem through creative programs and team-building exercises. 

Her multifaceted skills helped Hemmings land a job as a traveling nurse right after college. She worked for hospitals around the United States, including Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta and Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. Soon after, her path led her back to UHart. 

With strong encouragement from her former advisor and mentor Karen Breda, associate professor of nursing and program director, Hemmings decided to pursue a Master of Science in Nursing. Through her studies, she participated in a three-week study-abroad trip to Australia, where she learned about international nursing practices.  

“The program at UHart is phenomenal and the faculty really want you to advance,” Hemmings says.

To help other nurses become better leaders, Hemmings taught in the Project Horizon program at the University of Hartford for a few years and she now works as a team leader for Community Health Network of Connecticut. She has also done international research and is a co-author of an article focused on Sickle Cell Disease, a genetic disorder that causes red blood cells to become misshapen.   

“Students at UHart have an opportunity to gain positive life-changing experiences that can alter their way of thinking, change their trajectory and ultimately effect generations to come,” Hemmings says.