By Colin MacDougall
Nursing students are pictured on Washtenaw Community College’s ‘Employed’ campaign that attracts several hundred students to its nursing program every year. WCC has articulation agreements with other colleges and universities, churning out a professional and experienced workforce. For this reason, one of the Student Nursing Association’s founders, SNA President Jim Abraham, opened a chapter of the association at WCC.
The Student Nursing Association is a new club on WCC’s campus. SNA has applied to be a chapter of the National Student Nursing Association because of the wide interest in the nursing program at WCC. NSNA is a 60,000 student member association. Currently, the WCC SNA chapter has 38 members. Although the group on campus has applied for chapterhood, they are still awaiting approval from Michigan’s Student Nursing Association.
“It’s pretty recognized that nursing is a shortage industry. The only way that us as students can kind of fill that void is to come together as student professionals,” said Brian Luther, a 43-year-old nursing student from Canton. “What better way to make that happen than to have a semi-professional organization to bring us together as students and prepare us for the workforce?”
Luther is one of the founding members and also the secretary of SNA.
Jeanne Patton, a 31-year-old student from Ypsilanti, and Jennifer Fillinger, a 20-year-old student from Saline, were interested in starting the program because WCC didn’t have an association and because they wanted to reach out to other nursing students. Patton reminds other nursing students that being apart of the SNA looks good on a resume.
To join the club, a member must be a nursing student, accepted into the nursing program.
“However,” Abraham says, “Because we are a community college, what I’m proposing to the state and national group is that we allow to bring in pre-nursing students.”
Abraham hopes to grow the club by doing this. Abraham has been approached by several students with nursing certificates, which is a prerequisite of the nursing program, asking if they could join the club.
“There has been more interest from pre-nursing students than current nursing students.”
The group meets every Monday in LA 340 from 2-3:30pm. To join the SNA there is a fee that a nursing student must pay. At the NSNA level, the fee is $35 for one year or $70 for two. The following year the fee increases to $40. Most of the fee goes to the state and national level, and a small portion goes to the group on WCC’s campus.
“Primarily the club is going to be involved in community outreach and developing leadership qualities within nursing students that are moving into the profession,” Abraham said. “The association looks to promote participation of assisting in development of better education for students.”
WCC’s nursing students are learning and working in hospitals all around southeast Michigan, like St. Joe’s, The VA of Ann Arbor, Beaumont, and even as far away as Henry Ford in Detroit.
“The nursing industry is a very difficult profession to go into, so we need as much support as we can get from other students,” said Ellen Martin, a 25-year-old nursing student from Ypsilanti.