Bridget Seelinger | The Duquesne Duke
A Duquesne nursing student assumed the role of Vice President of the National Student Nurses Association on April 11, immediately following her election during the NSNA annual convention in Pheonix, Arizona.
Caroline Miller was one of three students from the state of Pennsylvania who were elected. She now holds the highest office of any Pennsylvania nursing student within the national organization.
Nursing School Dean, Mary Ellen Glasgow, expressed excitement over Miller’s election.
“To be picked as the Vice President is really phenomenal and we are very proud of her,” Glasgow says. “We were really happy to see her win and she certainly deserves it.”
The NSNA is the largest organization for nursing students in the country, with more than 60,000 student members and more than 3,000 students in attendance at convention.
During the four day convention, attendees had the opportunity to receive career advice, talk to future employers, network with students across the country, participate in review sessions for the nursing state board exam, and attend focus sessions centered around various nurse specialties.
Mark Crider, chair of undergraduate programs in Duquesne’s nursing school, said Miller will be able to make many professional connections in her new role.
“This is an exciting opportunity because the president [of NSNA] has a non-voting seat on the Board of Directors of the American Nurses Association,” Crider said. “She’s just one seat away from this opportunity…people will know her and know her name.”
Miller said her primary goal is getting nursing students more involved in the legislative process that NSNA employs when deciding which health policies to endorse and the development of health policy at the state and national levels.
“It’s pretty amazing that I’m going to have all of these connections and hopefully after I finish school, I can get involved in ANA (American Nurses Association) and NLN (National League for Nursing)” Miller said. “There’s more than just nursing at the bedside, you’ve got to be involved…I’m excited for this opportunity.”
Monika Spangenberg, also a member of the Duquesne University Student Nurses Association (DUSNA), helped run the election in which Miller was chosen. Spangenberg served as the Nominations and Elections Committee Chair for the Eastern Region.
“We had a record-breaking 26 slated candidates [for the various different positions] and by the end of the entire election, we had 30 candidates,” Spangenberg said. “It helps [Duquesne], having a strong voice at conventions and even more with someone on the board…It’s a very big deal [that Miller got elected].”
Duquesne students at the convention submitted and oversaw the passage of Resolution 44, a written motion that will lead the NSNA to take an official stance on the issue of head lice in schools and the lack of policy on how school administrators handle a lice outbreak.
Emily Kinley, President of DUSNA and campaign manager for Miller, said the resolution passed with 98 percent of the delegates voting “yes.”
“[The passage of the resolution and Miller’s success] shows that Duquesne can produce leaders of the nursing profession both in and out of the clinical setting,” Miller said.
Jessica Devido, a faculty advisor for DUSNA, stressed the importance of nursing students being involved in health policy .
“It is important to get our name out there so that we are showing how passionate we are about issues at the national level as well as the local level,” Devido says, “I’m very proud of all of the students in the organization, not only for their progress but also for their passion.”