U of A Program Named Stellar School by National Student Nurses’ Association
University of Arkansas nursing students brought home the prestigious designation of stellar school chapter from the annual convention of the National Student Nurses’ Association earlier this month in Nashville, Tennessee.
Grace Davis, a senior who serves as vice president of the Student Nurses’ Association at the U of A, said only two nursing schools were chosen this year for the designation. The schools have to show the work they have done to facilitate professional development for students, encourage involvement in the national association and promote service learning, including volunteer work and community outreach. They also have to show the support they have from faculty members.
“We want to make the best experience possible for student nurses,” Davis said. “We developed a career fair for students, and we work more with Career Development Center now to put it on. We reached out to hospitals not only locally in Arkansas but in places where we have a lot of students come from such as St. Louis, Kansas City and Dallas. We also hosted a resume review for professors to critique our resumes so we present ourselves in the best light.
“We also encourage attendance at state and national conventions,” she continued. “Students get to network with so many people. The opportunities they could end up leaving a convention with are endless. You listen to distinguished lectures by nurses in a variety of fields and get a more global sense of nursing and professionalism.”
The award recognizes student nurses’ associations that demonstrate ongoing involvement in the national organization and a strong commitment to shared governance and professional development of their students and faculty. The awards are open to official school chapters that have maintained constituency status for the previous five years and meet specific criteria for recognition.
New stellar schools are recognized in national publications and receive a plaque.
Allison Scott and Kelly Vowell Johnson, assistant professors of nursing, serve as faculty advisors for the U of A Student Nurses’ Association. Four Honors College students in nursing attended and presented their thesis research in a poster session. Johnson mentored the students.
Also at the national convention, student Emily Dixon’s resolution bringing awareness to support deferred action for childhood arrival recipients in the health-care field was unanimously approved. Before the meeting, convention organizers asked Dixon to work with a student from the University of Center Florida who had proposed a similar resolution.
Dixon said she and her Central Florida counterpart spoke for a few minutes and then introduced a student attending another Arkansas university who lives in the United States with DACA status. This student learned that, after she graduates from nursing school, she will not be allowed to seek licensure to work as a nurse.
“She talked about how her mom worked three jobs to send her through nursing school,” Dixon said. “When she finished speaking, everybody stood up and applauded. Everybody seemed to be in agreement these are good people trying to be nurses. The whole point is to make enough noise that somebody will do something.”
The national association will publish the resolution in its monthly magazine, Imprint, which provides a recap of the conference proceedings as well as articles by student authors, Dixon said. The association will send a copy to the White House and the U.S. Supreme Court.
“It was a really powerful moment,” Davis said of the reception the resolution received. “Our student nurses have a voice and we’re using it for the right thing.”