BSN Students Earn Awards and Leadership Positions during NSSNA Conference

Clarkson College Student Nurse Association (SNA) members and faculty advisors traveled to the annual Nebraska State Student Nurses Association (NSSNA) conference in Gering, Neb. on Feb. 17. Several attendees returned home with accolades, including Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) students Jocelyn Ramos and Eric Langan who accepted leadership positions on the State Board and Raven Lance who earned the Student Nurse of the Year Award.

Raven Lance, Student Nurse of the Year

Each year, NSSNA awards one student nurse from the state of Nebraska with the Student Nurse of the Year Award. Nominees must demonstrate excellence in leadership abilities, quality of nursing care, professionalism, and community or civic activities. Each nursing program in the state has the opportunity to nominate one SNA member, and Undergraduate Nursing Instructor and SNA Advisor Valerine King, MSN, RN nominated Lance for the award.

Lance then began the application process by obtaining two letters of recommendation from faculty members and completing a personal essay. To complete her entry, Lance participated in an in-person interview with five community leaders at the state convention.

“I was so honored to receive this award,” said Lance. “It was a moment when I felt that years of hard work and perseverance finally paid off. Being named the Student Nurse of the Year wasn’t only for me; it was a symbol for anyone who is passionate about becoming a nurse, and I hope it lets them know that they can overcome any barriers that might come their way.”

Lance is in the final year of the BSN program, and she works full-time while caring for two young children and battling personal health problems including a congenital heart defect. She is grateful for her time in SNA because it provided her with a support system and offered her the ability to advance her nursing career before leaving school.

“Being an SNA member is something that I recommend to all nursing students,” she said. “It helped me tremendously through nursing school because I not only got to meet amazing new friends, but also network with professionals while still in school.”

Student Leadership on the State Board

Also during the state conference, two Clarkson College BSN students earned positions on the NSSNA State Board. Following elections, Eric Langan became the Image of Nursing Chair and Jocelyn Ramos became the first Vice President.

Langan’s position as Image of Nursing Chair allows him to work with other board and SNA members across the state to promote the nursing profession in a positive light. In his role, he will help educate students about professionalism and communicate ways in which they can explore opportunities within the field.

Ramos’s induction onto the State Board continues a long tradition of leadership within SNA. She served as Treasurer of the Clarkson College SNA chapter in 2017 as well as President in 2018, and these roles inspired her to try and reach a larger student population through the State Board. “SNA provided me with opportunities that helped me excel as an undergraduate nursing student by connecting me with others who are just as excited about the field as I am,” she said. “This motivation was what I wanted to bring to other SNA members, and the best approach to doing so was to take on a leadership role.”

NSSNA members elect two vice presidents each year to help with duties that support their role as advocates for Nebraska nursing students. One of Ramos’s primary responsibilities is to plan the 2020 annual conference, an important event for many students. “The annual NSSNA conference is an amazing opportunity for students,” she said. “Each year, many students attend the conference to further their nursing practice by learning about different nursing programs available to them. They also have the chance to network with specialty nurses who provide them with information and advice on how to reach their career goals.”

Student attendees at this year’s conference had the opportunity to participate in a variety of activities, including a presentation from flight nurse Tracy Meyer, BSN, RN. They also had the option to participate in a simulation exercise, National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) review session and vendor fair.