The Widener University Student Nurses’ Association (WUSNA) set the standard for excellence yet again at the annual Student Nursing Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP) convention this fall. As a student-run organization, SNAP represents and connects more than 5,000 nursing students across the commonwealth to engage and collaborate on matters and issues pertaining to the constantly evolving health care industry.

Over thirty students attended the convention, led by Rose Schwartz, associate professor and associate dean of undergraduate nursing programs. It was an opportunity to make meaningful connections, have nursing-specific learning experiences, and open doors for careers. They were also able to celebrate Widener successes at the event.

“By participating in SNAP, students experience how their contributions through voting on resolutions, bylaws and the board can effect change,” Schwartz said. “In addition, students interact with other students from across the state which provides them opportunities to share ideas. Those ideas then create new opportunities for our Widener students.”

Several students were instrumental in the convention’s success through their appointed leadership roles, including seniors Isaiah Washington and Keith Hanley who were elected to the SNAP board last year to serve as vice president and legislative chair, respectively. As vice president, Washington planned and executed the convention while Hanley reviewed submitted resolutions Other convention highlights included:

  • Hanley received the Jamey Thiel Miller Legislative Award for his interest and activism in the political process.
  • WUSNA received the Community Health Award and the prestigious Chapter Excellence Award, marking the third consecutive year of recognition for its work to improve community health, and strengthen chapter excellence and membership.
  • Junior Ricki Boateng received the Upperclassman Scholarship and successfully ran for the Greater Philadelphia Regional Coordinator Position on the SNAP board.
  • Assistant Professor Cathy Evans gave a presentation on student nurses and their role in disaster preparedness.
  • Students Caroline Roth, Ryan Kromplewski, John Ho, Elizabeth Mercado, and Kyle Minder presented their work on a resolution, which passed unanimously, designed to increase awareness about the dangers of medical waste that is not properly disposed in health care facilities. It passed unanimously, moving the students to present it to the National Student Nurses Association in Florida this spring.

The opportunity to write and debate resolutions enabled the students to engage with real-world issues impacting the health care industry.

“During some of our summer nursing externships at local hospitals, we were surprised that some institutions did not have recycling bins,” said Roth, a senior. “After conducting research, we found that the waste medical facilities produce is a much bigger problem than just recycling.”

Drafting the resolution allowed the students to recognize the importance of their role as care providers in the health care field and maximize an opportunity to improve an ongoing public health issue.

“Presenting our resolution at the SNAP convention made me realize how important it is to advocate for other nurses, and in this resolution, our planet,” said senior Ryan Kromplewski.

Widener’s exceptional performance at the convention reflected the hard work and passion of its students and faculty, and demonstrated that its students have a variety of opportunities to learn and grow.

SNAP teaches students “to understand that they are leaders, and through their roles as delegates, board members, or attendees, they recognize that the future of nursing is in their hands,” Schwartz said.