By Suzanne Weiss/Director of Public Relations
MANITOWOC, Wis. — They belong to the first cadre of nursing students to enjoy Silver Lake College’s recently renovated $1.5 million nursing wing. But that’s not all that distinguishes these juniors.
As the college prepares for the second class of students who will enroll in its new four-year BSN program, these students are responsible for establishing the college’s first Student Nursing Association.
Its mission is to empower student nurses to excel in their studies and professional development through educational, spiritual and social activities related to the nursing profession.
Members of the group look forward to offering assistance to new nursing students.
“We hope to be seen as mentors to the underclassmen. They can reach out to us if they need help with their studies or any issues in nursing,” said Der Linda Lee, club president.
“I want the younger students to be more engaged. There’s more to learning than classroom studies,” said Morgan Orsburne, treasurer.
The club also plans to reach out to the Lakeshore area. “We want to participate in community activities, build connections and give back,” Lee said.
“We also want to raise awareness of the nursing program,” said Erin Schuessler, vice president.
A campus and community education component will include a speaker series on campus, she said.
“The Silver Lake College Student Nursing Association is an opportunity for our students to transition to the nursing profession. We want them to feel they are part of the larger nursing community,” said Brianna Neuser, director of nursing at Silver Lake College.
“We want to increase awareness that they make a positive impact on patient outcomes at every level,” she said. “The club also helps our nursing students recognize the value in mentoring others. They are paving the way for one another.”
The club was started in December and held its first meeting of officers at the end of January. Ashley Pfund, secretary, rounds out the association’s officers.
“We will hold a special activity in April, when we will be recruiting members,” Lee said.
In spring of 2018, they plan to go on a mission trip to Haiti, where club members can put their helping skills to use. Before they head out, they plan to organize fundraisers to help cover some of their travel costs, she said.
Perhaps best of all, the Student Nursing Association will allow members to share their passion for the profession.
Lee, originally from Fresno, California, was inspired to pursue her BSN after listening to stories of how nurses had taken good care of her mother when she had complications during her pregnancy with Lee. Lee chose Silver Lake College because of its small class sizes, its passionate instructors and scholarship opportunities, she said.
Schuessler, of Green Bay, had been interested in pursuing mission work and religious life before she zeroed in on nursing. “I felt a deep down calling to serve people who are sick,” said Schuessler, who was attracted to Silver Lake College because of its Catholic identity.
For Orsburne, of Brillion, it was back surgery in high school that made her appreciate the nurses who cared for her. “I always wanted to be in a helping profession, but that surgery was a turning point for me,” she said.
She chose Silver Lake College for its small size, friendly and supportive atmosphere, and advantageous student-teacher ratio. Orsburne said she liked the fact that the school was new and she could play a role in helping build it up for future nursing students.
“We look forward to getting the club going,” Lee said.
“I’ll enjoy watching it grow and wondering where it will be in two or three years,” Orsburne said.
PHOTO: Officers for the new Silver Lake College Student Nursing Association are, from left: Der Linda Lee, Erin Schuessler and Morgan Orsburne. Not pictured is Ashley Pfund.