GVSU Student Nurses’ Association receives recognition at state convention

GVL / Courtesy - Jamie Platt

Jamie Platt

GVL / Courtesy – Jamie Platt

Emily Doran

This past month, the Grand Valley State University Student Nurses’ Association (SNA) received multiple awards at the Michigan Nursing Students Association (MNSA) convention, which took place Friday, Jan. 27, and Saturday, Jan. 28.

In recognition of the organization’s fundraising, community service and volunteer work this past year, SNA won the Fundraising Award and the Chapter of the Year Award. In addition, Nicole Gustin, an SNA member, won the Nursing Student of the Year Award.

Jamie Platt, the president of SNA, thinks receiving these awards reflects all the hard work the SNA members have done for their communities.

“The past year, our SNA volunteered a total of 5,139.15 hours as an organization,” Platt said. “I’m really proud of everyone. There’s a lot of leadership that is being done by students. (They’re) very dedicated and professional and obviously spend a lot of time trying to make the community a better place.”

Platt said the Chapter of the Year Award was based on an increase in the organization’s size, its involvement in a variety of activities—including community health projects and service and legislative events—and a submitted resolution and essay.

The Fundraising Award, meanwhile, was given based on SNA’s efforts to raise money for their organization and the community.

“(The Fundraising Award) goes to the chapter that raises money for not only their own SNA chapter, but also for organizations within the community, so (it’s) looking at how we’re helping others as well,” Platt said.

In 2016, the SNA members held numerous fundraisers, including a kickball social this past fall, during which they raised $180 to buy stethoscopes for GVSU students who will be studying abroad in Ghana. They also hosted the Comedy for a Cause event last semester, during which the GVSU improvisational comedy group, Subject to Change, performed a skit and raised $406 for Arts in Motion, a community organization in Grand Rapids. In addition, the SNA members raised $60 from returning pop cans and donated the money to a family in Cedar Springs whose two children are fighting cancer.

While the SNA organization received recognition as a whole, Gustin also received individual acknowledgement as the Nursing Student of the Year.

“It’s quite a big honor to receive the award out of all the other great nominations,” Gustin said. “It’s nice to be recognized for all the hard work and the hours we put in aside from schoolwork, like all the volunteer hours we do.”

Gustin is in her third semester of involvement with SNA. During her time with the organization, she has moved from being a regular member to serving as a delegate and adopting more responsibilities. She worked as the event coordinator for the Create Your Nursing Career event last fall, and this semester, she is serving as the SNA student health coordinator. She said she leads weekly workout classes to promote self-care for nurses as part of her position. In addition, Gustin estimates she has put in more than 500 volunteer hours over the past three semesters “with SNA and SNA-approved events.”

In Platt’s mind, Gustin was a perfect candidate to receive the Nursing Student of the Year Award.

“(Gustin is) always volunteering to go above and beyond what a regular member would do in our organization,” Platt said. “She rose above and beyond probably any student in her cohort as far as volunteering her time at Grand Valley and in the community, so she’s a really great role model for the rest of our members.”

Platt thinks receiving these awards at the convention shows how dedicated the SNA members are to helping others and bettering their communities, despite their already-busy schedules.

“The nursing program is so rigorous,” Platt said. “It’s more than what I thought it would be, and it’s very time consuming, so the fact that our students are volunteering so much of their time outside of schoolwork to me is amazing.”