Student organizations at the University of South Carolina College of Nursing are gearing up to provide more opportunities for student leadership and service.
Men in Nursing
Many students who enter the lower division of Carolina’s nursing school find themselves
feeling out of water — with a heavy course load of challenging classes covering unfamiliar
To help students find success, the college’s Men in Nursing chapter developed a successful mentorship program that pairs freshmen and sophomore nursing students with juniors and seniors in the upper division.
Mentors provide a sympathetic ear and offer counsel, tips and encouragement to help underclassmen, chapter president Connor Lanigan said. Students who begin as mentees often return as mentors, and more than 300 students were involved last year, he said.
To expand support for lower division students, the organization this spring launched its first simulation day, inviting the students to the college’s state-of-the-art simulation lab for demonstrations and practice sessions to give them a taste of future simulation-based learning activities.
Likewise, Lanigan said he aims to offer more events for upper division students, such as hosting recent graduates to discuss making the transition from student nurse to practicing nurse.
In addition to nursing student outreach, the Men in Nursing chapter offers educational programs at the Richland County Library’s main branch and for the Midlands Fatherhood Coalition.
This year, Lanigan said he also hopes to promote the profession of nursing to local Boy Scout troops.
Student Nurses Association
Community outreach has long been a hallmark of the Student Nurses Association chapter at Carolina, with a yearly campus-wide blood drive one of its signature events.
The chapter for several years has also partnered with the Irmo Fire Department to conduct community health screenings, chapter president Madison Wilson said.
But this year, the chapter also aims to tie outreach to its recent legislation about awareness of concussions in female athletes. Wilson said female athletes are affected by concussion differently than males, and the chapter successfully passed a resolution about the issue at the local, state and national levels of SNA.
She said the chapter is looking for opportunities to educate female soccer and field hockey players and their coaches in the Columbia area.
The chapter also hosts monthly meetings featuring speakers who address diverse topics of interest to students, such as career paths and practice sites, to help students grow their non-clinical skills.
More than 150 students are members of SNA, but Wilson said she would like to see more members participate, particularly freshmen. Wilson, a junior, credits her success in nursing school to her involvement in SNA, which she joined her freshmen year.
Chi Eta Phi
Service for humanity is the mission of Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., and at Carolina’s student chapter, that mission is carried out through service to other students and to the community at large.
The chapter supports students by offering regular study sessions (and exam goody bags) as well as preparation for the National Council Licensure Examination, the national test nurses must pass in order to obtain a professional license to practice. This year, the chapter plans to partner with Kaplan to offer free test preparation webinars for members, chapter president Shir’Mel McCullough said.
The student chapter frequently collaborates with the local alumni chapter for community service projects, such as feeding the homeless, serving at the free medical clinic, picking up trash through Adopt-A-Highway and hosting health screening events. Alumni also serve as mentors to student members, McCullough said.
The student chapter was formed in the 1990s and had sporadic activity until 2016. Currently about one dozen students are members, but McCullough said she is striving to double that number this year to help secure the organization’s future viability.
Nurses Christian Fellowship
Nursing school exposes students to new clinical and ethical situations that can tax them mentally and spiritually.
Now a new student group aims to help students navigate those stressors and provide a spiritual lens with which to view them.
Students at the College of Nursing can join USC’s chapter of Nurses Christian Fellowship, a national organization. This year, one of the chapter’s primary goals is to gain official status as a USC student organization, president Sara Spoone said.
The group meets twice per month for a devotional, prayer and open discussion where members and advisers share spiritual guidance. Membership is open to all nursing students regardless of their religious affiliation.
Spoone said the Christian fellowship and spiritual support can help students remain grounded in their faith as they advance in the nursing profession.
Institute for Healthcare Improvement
Today’s nurses must be prepared to provide coordinated patient care as part of multidisciplinary health care teams.
At the University of South Carolina, nursing students can gain hands-on experience with students from fields including medicine, pharmacy, social work, public health, speech pathology and physical therapy through the university’s Open School chapter of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.
The IHI chapter holds six large educational events per year in the Russell House ballroom where students are invited to hear a guest lecture on a timely health care topic and discuss related scenarios and questions with peers from other health areas, chapter president Julia Brown said. For instance, in the spring, several meetings focused on the opioid crisis, and this year’s programming includes sessions on suicide and underserved populations.
The goal is to broaden students’ understanding about their role on health care teams and give them new perspectives about patient care.
The meetings also provide opportunities for students to get involved in service. Brown said she volunteered at a Columbia refugee medical clinic after a meeting about the challenges related to refugee care.
In addition, students can join the chapter’s quality improvement team, which hosts separate events coordinated by co-president Jennifer Mandelbaum. Student members have access to free training through IHI and can form groups to tackle quality improvement and service projects, Brown said.