More than 25 undergraduate students from two UCF campuses united with nursing students and faculty from across the country to impact the future of nursing at the 2023 National Student Nurses’ Association convention.
UCF students shined once again at the National Student Nurses’ Association convention, which provides a valuable educational and networking opportunity for students.
“I gained so much ranging from learning professionalism from peers and faculty, networking with chapters, and a team building experience,” says senior Michael Keller, secretary of the Student Nurses’ Association (SNA) at UCF Orlando and one of 16 nursing students from Orlando who attended.
“We learned lots of valuable information about malpractice, lactation practices, certified emergency nursing, flight nursing and more,” adds Emily Morar, president of the SNA at UCF Daytona. “We will be able to use this information in our future careers as nurses and beyond.”
Keller, along with Alexis Wade, Annaliece Balensiefen, Morgann Betterly, Pearce Copeland, Angela Frantz, and Kaitlyn Mullen from SNA at UCF Orlando, wrote a resolution that passed unanimously at the national level during the convention. This means that the association has declared its support, will share the resolution with professional nursing and healthcare organizations, and may hold future education sessions on this topic.
“In Support of Education about Human-Milk Feedings in Neonates to Prevent Necrotizing Enterocolitis” was led by Alexis Wade, chapter legislative director, who was inspired to write the resolution based on her own experience in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and in clinicals.
“The group worked tirelessly to first pass (the resolution) on the state level and then revise it to face the national House of Delegates,” says Kaitlyn Yu, 2022-2023 president of SNA at UCF Orlando. “Given that resolutions are oftentimes passion projects and have the potential to initiate change throughout the country, we were very excited to see such an important topic be adopted by the National Student Nurses’ Association.”
“I know many people who I am friends with and care deeply about who were in the NICU,” says Keller. “In addition, one of my clinicals was on a mother-baby floor where I saw firsthand how hard nurses work to get breast milk for moms of healthy babies and sick NICU babies.”
SNA at UCF Orlando brought three delegates — BSN juniors Sarah Bell and Jamie Lanza, and accelerated BSN student Pearce Copeland (pictured on left) — to represent the chapter’s more than 100 student members in the House of Delegates.
The National Student Nurses’ Association House of Delegates is a collective body of delegates representing constituent chapters across the nation that discuss and vote on matters that shape the organization’s leadership and actions for the coming year.
Samantha Garcia, treasurer-elect for SNA at UCF Orlando (pictured on right in center), also demonstrated her leadership by running for the Nominations and Elections Committee South Division. “No one has run for national office from UCF in several years, and we are proud Sam did,” says Yu.
While she didn’t win, it was a memorable moment as all of UCF’s attendees rallied together to support her in campaigning. “We know she will make an impact in other ways,” says Yu.
“The future of nursing will start with us lifting each other up, and as president, I could not be more proud of how my chapter’s attendees shone,” adds Yu.
For the second year in a row, a student in SNA at UCF Orlando received the Pit Recruiter Award for registering the most members in a year. This year’s winner was Annaliece Balensiefen who recruited 70 new members to the student organization.
In addition, Angela Frantz received the Best Social Media Award for the Orlando chapter’s Facebook page.
SNA at UCF Daytona, which had 11 seniors in attendance at the convention, also earned bragging rights for the second year in a row. The chapter once again came in first place (this year a tie) among chapters from across the nation in the UWorld competition, answering the most practice questions correctly for the national RN licensure exam.
“The students gained much from this experience, including learning about areas of nursing they were less familiar with, how to best prepare for the NCLEX licensing exam, and it prepared them to assume leadership positions in professional organizations after graduation,” says Brian Peach, assistant professor and one of the faculty advisors for SNA at UCF Orlando. “Additionally, they networked with future nurses and faculty members from all over country, including our sister SNA chapter at Villanova University.”
“In the SNA chapter, UCF College of Nursing has truly created a place where students like myself are able to grow and build leadership qualities,” says Keller.
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