Student Nurses’ Association wins national award

GVL / Luke Holmes - Megan Buchman (left) and Madeline Madison (right) practice giving shots to test dummies in the Center for Health Sciences building downtown on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes – Megan Buchman (left) and Madeline Madison (right) practice giving shots to test dummies in the Center for Health Sciences building downtown on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016.

Meghan McBrady

Nursing involves years of training and study, a love for helping others and an appreciation for life.

For Jamie Platt, the president of the Grand Valley State University Student Nurses’ Association (SNA), having the SNA recognized for its members’ hard work and dedication demonstrates the organization members’ willingness to serve their surrounding community.

“I see firsthand all the hard work people do to put on these events for people in our school and our university,” she said. “It’s nice to be recognized so that other people can see the hard work that we are doing.”

Winning the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Stellar School Chapter Recognition Award, which is the highest award an SNA chapter can receive, GVSU’s SNA was recognized for promoting leadership, governance and professional development.

Platt said having the Kirkhof College of Nursing (KCON) and SNA get this award was a great achievement for the university. KCON is one of 31 nursing schools in the U.S. to ever receive the award, and GVSU is the second university in Michigan to ever receive it.

“The application itself was six pages long, and I sent it in January, and we found out in February,” Platt said. “You have to send information that looks at at least five years’ worth of information that your SNA has done.

“It really shows the great things our SNA has done over a period of time and not just in the now.”

Beyond showing how the KCON faculty and dean supported the SNA, the application also included student support and the log of volunteer and clinical hours, demonstrating the leadership opportunities students have taken advantage of and the other national awards SNA and KCON have received.

GVSU will receive the award at the NSNA annual convention in Dallas, Texas, Saturday, April 8, where KCON’s assistant dean, the SNA advisor and Platt will attend the ceremony.

Beyond the NSNA award, SNA—along with the GVSU community—also participated in the 14th Gift of Life Michigan Campus Challenge. GVSU was one of 14 universities and colleges in the state competing to register the most organ donors.

According to the Gift of Life Michigan Facebook page, more than 3,500 Michigan residents are awaiting transplants. In January 2017, more than 21,633 individuals registered to join the Michigan Organ Donor Registry, and more than 20,568 individuals registered in February 2017.

With over 1,600 Michigan residents signed up on the Michigan Organ Donor Registry through the campus challenge, GVSU placed second behind Wayne State University.

Hadley Knudsen, the campus representative for the Gift of Life Michigan Campus Challenge at GVSU, organized the tabling for the campus competition to inform the GVSU community about organ donation and eliminate the stigma behind the practice.

Knudsen, who is currently in Ghana as part of a two-week community health rotation for clinical hours, said in an email response how proud she was of the SNA’s second-place win.

“As a student organization, we were able to sign up 204 individuals, and that’s 204 more individuals that have the potential to save or change a life,” she said. “Second place is a huge accomplishment.”

Alyssa Wrubel, the communications director for the SNA, said the organization members hope to have other student organizations become involved to register even more organ donors for the following campus challenge.

Obtaining the 204 donors, she said, was a huge accomplishment, due to the competition against the larger universities and colleges in Michigan.

“Hadley and I owe a huge thank you to all of our SNA volunteers who volunteered at our tabling events, advertised the event, and also a big thank you to all 204 individuals who registered to become an organ donor,” Wrubel said. “Their decision to become an organ donor today has the potential to save a life tomorrow.”

Platt said the recognition of SNA’s hard work for both the Gift of Life Michigan challenge and the NSNA award would ultimately inspire future nurses to join their cause.

“Students are taking the initiative to really (make) a difference in other people’s lives,” Platt said. “That’s really what it is.”

For more information about GVSU’s SNA chapter, visit