Viji George got her start in the nursing field as a military nursing officer in the Pune area of India, where she trained in a very competitive scholarship program. The military taught her discipline, organization, and teamwork. From there, she became a clinical instructor, nursing supervisor, and staff development administrator at the Armed Forces Hospital in Kuwait, and she earned her master’s degree before moving to the United States.
In the United States, she worked in various hospitals as a clinical nurse, mainly in neonatal ICU settings. She appreciates the autonomy the nursing profession has in America versus India, and she transitioned into her current role last year.
Viji is now serving as a clinical excellence program manager at Texas Health Resources, a system of 14 hospitals. She is also the magnet program director for one of the hospitals. In this role, she is responsible for the implementation, consultation, support, promotion and evaluation of clinical excellence. At the same time, she is earning her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at USAHS.
She is passionate about her work and continues to be involved in her professional community.
“Viji has an amazing attitude,” said Dr. Amy Herrington, professor in the DNP program. “She brings fascination, excitement for learning, and a passion to grow as a professional to our program.”
Fun Facts About Viji
Family: I’m blessed to have a loving family—my husband, James, is my strongest supporter and cheerleader who always encourages me to pursue my passions. My daughter Trifeena (19) is a BME undergrad at Johns Hopkins, and my son Bradley (15) is in 10th grade. I am looking forward to graduating along with them in 2022. My parents always encouraged me to be who I am. They went above and beyond to teach me the most valuable things in life—faith, kindness, family, and education.
Favorite book: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, an all-time favorite that teaches valuable life lessons in a captivating way.
Role model: Nicholas James Vujicic, a Christian evangelist and motivational speaker. He is a man born without limbs and with everything against him, but faith and a positive attitude in life have given him everything. He is a father of four—a true inspiration to all! If he can do it, what do we have to complain about?
Q&A with Viji
Why did you go back to school to pursue your DNP?
I am a learner. I always have been, and I believe in giving back what I have learned to others. So, I have been involved in preceptorship, mentoring, and career-level programs. Through this, I was very involved in the magnet program at my hospital. I was then presented with the opportunity to take the role I have now, which is a doctoral position, and I knew that one day I wanted to do the terminal degree. I happened to see my friend and my classmate at the military nursing college reunion, and she asked me, “Hey, what’s your plan?” I said that when my daughter starts college, that’s when I want to go back to school myself. She told me to join USAHS and that they have a great program. I strongly believe in showing, not telling, which is why I wanted to show my kids that if I can go to school and do well, they can too. My son is in high school and I have a college girl. I thought, “How much fun would it be to graduate with them?” So, my son will graduate from high school, my daughter from her undergrad program, and myself from the DNP program at USAHS in 2022. Getting the magnet program director position, talking to my friend about the USAHS program, and with my kids in school, I felt like it was perfect timing to pursue the DNP.
What are some things you love about USAHS?
At the start of the program, Dr. Herrington had this assignment about how we plan our day. That helped me to organize and I’m a very organized and disciplined person to begin with. So, that helped me to process what is coming and it’s a lot of work. But, USAHS has great leaders and great faculty. The program is so organized, and help is available every time you need it. I’m happy and I’m also very fortunate that I found USAHS.
What are your goals after you get your DNP?
I want to improve my scholarly writing skills and know how to seek out the best research and best research practices. This is just my second term in the program, but it has opened my eyes to the reality that not all research is valuable research. I am learning how to look for quality research that will improve my practice. Also, I am very happy with my profession, but maybe in the future the DNP will help me become a magnet program consultant.
What is your greatest accomplishment?
My best accomplishment is the comments I get from people. They tell me, “Viji, you don’t only grow yourself, but you bring people along with you.” So that’s great, coming from multiple people. I was very surprised when I was nominated for the National Magnet Nurse of the Year Award, and I was one of the finalists, but I did not win. I received the DFW Great 100 Nurse Award. It’s kind of a lifelong achievement award that you get here in our area, and most other states have it, too.
Why are you so passionate about continuing your education?
I’ve always been that way. If my family had more money and we could afford it, I would’ve been in med school to become a doctor. That was my initial passion. So, I found a scholarship program for nursing because my family was always big on education and since the scholarship program, I never stopped learning. Soon after my bachelor’s degree, I got my master’s degree. I took a break because I started a family but even during that time I was always involved in short courses and educational programs. I took any free education that came with work.
When new technologies are released in the medical field, I’m here to help other nurses and maintain clinical excellence. I must learn what are the best practices out there, because how can I tell others to practice something which I myself do not know?
My favorite quote is by Mahatma Gandhi and it is, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever.” That is truly what I believe. Learning is an ongoing thing, not just professionally, but it has enabled me to connect with my kids by learning about current events and current technologies. Learning applies to all aspects of my life.