A proposal better than Disney World

BYU nursing students recently travel to Orlando, FL not for the beach, spring break or even Disney World but to present a proposal at the National Student Nursing Association (NSNA) conference.

Since receiving a $1000 grant, the BYU Student Nursing Association (SNA) have written and presented resolutions (proposed national nursing policies) for the past six years. The issues ranged from diabetes to shaken baby syndrome and each BYU SNA resolution presented has passed.

This semester, Deven Jennings and Vanessa Fisher, BYU SNA board members wrote a resolution on the issue related to veterans. The proposal further highlights the risk of PTSD and suicide against the veteran population, and has a firmer stance on the unresolved issue.

“It’s the first step in what will become a very large cascading snow ball effect,” Jennings says. “Hopefully, NSNA will be able to become more involved in veteran affairs as it recognizes the issue. Together we can help push national government policies.”

With the veteran resolution passing this year, it will be published in the NSNA magazine, sent to various organizations and affiliations around the country such as American Nurses Association and the National League of Nursing. It will have a national effect on nursing.

Deven Jennings presenting a proposal at the National Student nursing conference about veterans mental health.

Nursing student, Deven Jennings presents a proposal at the National Student Nursing conference about mental health for veterans.

BYU SNA advisor, Sondra Heaston hopes that the students understand the voice they have on issues that are important to them.  “My involvement is to mentor them through the process,” says Heaston. “I review their drafts and give comments, then I have the opportunity to sit back and watch them shine at the national conference.”

Thinking back a year ago, Jennings was inspired after taking a veteran class. He cared for WWII veteran Francis Simms, and was upset to learn that after coming home, Francis was never screened for PTSD and struggled with it his whole life. This lead to him writing a scholarly works project, and developed it into a simulation lab for BYU nursing students.

“It all started out with just the smallest little seed of interest and optimism,” says Jennings. “It then became a new simulation for students, and now is presented around the country. It has turned into something much larger than I ever thought.”

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