Alumna puts skills to work in nurse leadership role in San Antonio

Victoria Conlu
Victoria Conlu, M.S. leadership ’17, moved to San Antonio shortly after graduating from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. She says her graduate degree helped her gain a nurse manager position.

Every day, Victoria Conlu works to build bridges and make connections for young Medicaid recipients in San Antonio. The expertise and perspectives she brings to her work as a public health nurse are a direct result of her education from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis.

“The School of Nursing taught me that connections in my community matter and that these connections are a significant part of what helps make me an effective health care professional,” Conlu explains.

When Conlu completed the master’s-degree leadership program in 2017, she left her native California and moved to Texas with her family and new baby. In the months following her move, she found herself struggling to establish a new identity as a nurse case manager in the community setting. She found quickly that part of integrating into a new community with the intent to heal and serve as a health care professional required many of the skills she learned from her time at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, whether it was utilizing data to drive improvement within health care systems or simply advocating for the concept that health is not determined by the setting alone.

“As a public health nurse in the Sacramento area, I had come to know the local environment and the resources available within it. Being removed completely from that comfort zone threw me for a loop,” Conlu says. “I was the new kid on the block. What was a new nurse to do?”

To answer that question, Conlu started putting into practice the knowledge she gained in her master’s-degree program. She built relationships, talked to the populations she served and the providers who served them, listened to their stories, honored their experiences and broke down silos.

Today, Conlu works on linking high-risk Medicaid recipients, most of whom are children, many of whom are post involvement with the child welfare and adoption systems, to resources they didn't know existed. She makes connections with different agencies and organizations to streamline referrals and build bridges between splintered care coordination.

“This school empowered me to believe that I advance health,” Conlu says. “From the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, I learned the power of having boots on the ground in my community, as well as a 10,000-foot perspective. The skill of acquainting myself with the needs of the system from multiple perspectives is universal, from California to Texas to anywhere in the world.”