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Villanova-SNAP leads once again at NSNA convention

Photo Harry Butler, Nashville ©2016 NSNA

Villanova's chapter of the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP-Villanova) was well represented by a 25 student delegation at the National Student Nurses' Association's convention which was held in Orlando, Fla., March 30-April 3.  The delegation was led by 2015 SNAP-Villanova President, McKayla Swearer. 

About 3,000 students from across the country and their advisors, representing chapters and states in the 60,000 member NSNA, attended.  Pennsylvania had the largest state delegation.  Three Villanovans serve on the Board of the state SNAP, too:  Devon Murphy is Legislative Coordinator, Katrina Garzon is Secretary-Treasurer, and BSN Express Student Lauren Ziemba is Chair of the Nominations and Elections Committee. 

Villanova's delegation included students from each of Villanova's undergraduate nursing programs.  Generic freshmen through seniors, students in the alternate sequence and BSN Express students got to know each other and serve together. Meghan Goodman, SNAP-Villanova's first chapter member from the online RN-BSN program, also was completing her term as 2015-2016 Director on the NSNA Board.

Dean M. Louise Fitzpatrick received the national Leader of Leader Awards at the March 30 Opening Ceremonies.  Dean Fitzpatrick founded SNAP-Villanova, and her commitment to students' professional development links to her involvement in NSNA during her own days as a student.  During her remarks, she connected with her audience as she did when receiving the first Lifetime Achievement Award from the state SNAP at the November 2015 state SNAP convention in Harrisburg.  From the stage, she seemed to speak to each person in the large audience.  Holding the attention of 3000 people, she was spectacular, as evidenced by a spontaneous and extraordinary standing ovation.

The Opening Ceremonies program was organized so that SNAP-Villanova was awarded re-designation as a national Stellar School while Dean Fitzpatrick was present on the stage.  Only a few nursing programs nationally have earned the designation as Stellar Schools.

Villanova's chapter resolution about the necessity and impact of nursing students registering and voting was presented by SNAP-Villanova Legislative Coordinator Theresa Murphy and passed by the NSNA House of Delegates.  As state SNAP Legislative Coordinator, Devon Murphy (no relation) authored the state SNAP's resolution focusing on the psychosocial needs of children of alcoholics.  Moving testimonials of support came from other delegations, and the resolution passed unanimously.


In the Exhibit Hall, NSNA showcased posters reflecting students' scholarly achievements. Similar to professional conventions, students are present with their posters during designated times to discuss their projects with convention attendees.  Senior Meghan Long presented two posters in the Exhibit Hall:  Aggression and Risky Behaviors in High School Students:  An Examination of Bullying (an undergraduate research project completed under the mentorship of Professor Elizabeth Dowdell, PhD, RN, FAAN) and Application of Gebauer's and Lowman's Corporate Model of Engagement to the Student Nurses Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP).  This evidence-based project was an outcome of the 3 credit independent study in leadership development that Meghan completed in Fall, 2015, supervised by chapter advisor Associate Professor Carol Weingarten, PhD, RN, ANEF. 

Dr. Weingarten was also one of three speakers at the opening plenary session, Nurse Empowerment and Health Advocacy:  Take the 2020 Nurses on Boards Coalition's Challenge and also to present two focus sessions about her experiences with the Joining Forces initiative and Working with Staff and Ill and Wounded Troops at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.

SNAP-Villanova President Shannon Myers was awarded a Promise of Nursing Scholarship for Excellence from the Foundation of the NSNA. 

Cedar Nelson with Dr. Weingarten

At 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 2, NSNA hosted a 5K fun(d) raiser.  In a large field of runners, SNAP-Villanova 2015 Treasurer Kelly (Cedar) Nelson achieved the fastest time in the Women's Division and was acknowledged during the closing ceremonies. 

Cheering on the men's championship basketball team at a game watch.

The convention closed in time for everyone to follow the Final Four basketball game as part of NOVA Nation.  We were a "Sea of V at Disney" and at game watch events at the Disney properties.