UCF nursing students and faculty returned from the Florida Nursing Student Association annual conference with a new resolution passed, more scholarships and several honors, including the Diamond Chapter Award.
For the third year in a row, ninth time overall, the Student Nurses’ Association (SNA) at UCF Orlando was awarded the highest honor in the state — the prestigious Diamond Chapter Award from the Florida Nursing Student Association, which represents more than 5,000 nursing students across Florida.
The award recognizes chapters for excellence in their commitment to prepare nursing students for a role as professional nurses through continuing education, community service, and advocacy toward improved healthcare. SNA at UCF Orlando also is recognized as a Stellar School Chapter by the National Student Nurses’ Association.
“Winning the 2023 Diamond Chapter Award has meant so much to our chapter,” said Jamielyn Lanza, president of SNA at UCF Orlando and senior Traditional BSN student. “Although SNA at UCF Orlando has earned the award nine of the last ten years, it is up to each year’s membership to continue the streak.”
To continue the streak, Lanza completed an extensive application process to showcase the achievements of the chapter’s board and membership. SNA at UCF Orlando is active in the community and efforts have included creating a connection program to visit senior citizens, volunteering at a free clinic to help provide care to uninsured children, conducting a donation drive to support new mothers in need of resources, and providing meals to the homeless.
Chapter members are also involved in nursing advocacy and mentorship. The chapter created a mentorship program where senior students assist junior students in their transition to the upper-division program. Members also meet with UCF’s pre-nursing student association and speak to local high school students about the nursing profession.
“As chapter advisors, we couldn’t be prouder of our outstanding members,” says Brian Peach, one of the faculty advisors for SNA at UCF Orlando. “Besides winning the Diamond Chapter, and numerous other awards and scholarships, they represented UCF well.”
Honored for Excellence
UCF nursing faculty and students returned with several other awards from the Florida Nursing Student Association annual conference in Kissimmee last week. SNA at UCF Orlando received the top newsletter award for Lifeline, which is currently produced by Nathan Moran, the chapter’s media director and senior Traditional BSN student.
Adjunct faculty member Karen McDaniel was honored with the Star RN Award. McDaniel, who is an ICU nurse, was recognized for being a model example of a nursing preceptor and educator. “She consistently goes above and beyond to expose students to key skills and concepts,” says nominator Kate Dorminy, a faculty advisor for SNA at UCF Orlando.
Dorminy and Peach also were honored at the convention with Faculty Excellence Awards. “We are so grateful for our advisors, faculty, and staff at the UCF College of Nursing,” says Lanza. “None of this would be possible without their continued support.” Both faculty members also presented at the convention.
In addition, four UCF College of Nursing students received scholarships in recognition of their academic achievements and leadership:
- Alondra Bravo, Heather Scaglione Leadership Scholarship
- Trinity Eloriaga, Helen Ann Dean Scholarship
- Nathan Moran, Paula Massey Leadership Scholarship
- Julianna Silva, Dr. Claydell Horne Leadership Scholarship
Advocating for Mental Healthcare
Senior nursing student and chapter legislative director Sarah Bell saw her resolution, Increasing Awareness of How Insufficient Insurance Coverage for Mental Healthcare Affects Youth with Chronic Illnesses, pass unanimously in the House of Delegates during the convention.
Improving mental healthcare access and utilization has been a passion of Bell’s since high school, where she launched Canines Fur Education. The website seeks to educate youth about mental health and self-esteem with an emphasis on the benefits of animal therapy.
She is lead author on the resolution and co-wrote it with Klade Rodriguez and Krystal Craft — two students from the Arlington (Texas) Nursing Students’ Association that Bell met at the Spring 2023 National Student Nurses Association convention.
“I recognized that our goals aligned, and while we share similar experiences as nursing students, they had unique strengths in healthcare administration, business administration and mental health advocacy,” says Bell. “From that connection, we have created a multi-state resolution which I am very proud of and I feel has the potential to help create real change for those who need it.”
The resolution also recently passed at the state level in Texas, and will now be presented at the upcoming National Student Nurses’ Association convention in April 2024. Last year, four SNA at UCF Orlando chapter members advocated for increased critical care nursing education. Their resolution passed unanimously at both the state and national level.
“We can only gain from collaborating with others, and we can do amazing things when we work together as nursing students,” says Bell.
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