Thursday, 18 January 2018 06:13

MHC nursing students help themselves by helping each other with new club, fundraiser

Written by  Ryan Dahlman
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This core group of nursing students was responsible for organizing the first annual Nursing Gala at Medicine Hat College. Back Row [l-r]: Madison Marshall, Daniel Menesho, Annie Knelsen, Amber Pellerin, Dakota Darbyson, Dustin Johnson. Front Row [l-r]: Cody Herrell, Danica Kohls, Jamie Lynn Hearn, Jacqueline Vanderheiden, Haley Schlenker, Rachel James. This core group of nursing students was responsible for organizing the first annual Nursing Gala at Medicine Hat College. Back Row [l-r]: Madison Marshall, Daniel Menesho, Annie Knelsen, Amber Pellerin, Dakota Darbyson, Dustin Johnson. Front Row [l-r]: Cody Herrell, Danica Kohls, Jamie Lynn Hearn, Jacqueline Vanderheiden, Haley Schlenker, Rachel James.

Students from a prominent department at the Medicine Hat College created a bit of history Jan. 12 when they hosted a fundraiser at the Erseman Theatre and Caféteria. 

The inaugural Nursing Gala event touted to "Celebrate Nursing at Medicine Hat College" was organized by the Undergraduate Bachelor of Nursing Club (UBNC), a group of students from the college's nursing program.  The event was open to students, alumni and the public.
The college's popular nursing program has a solid reputation. Students can earn a University of Calgary Bachelor of Nursing degree while totally at the Medicine Hat College campuses.
As popular as the program is, there was not a formal nursing student society in this particular form. In the past, senior students raise money for graduation, but nothing for all students. That changed a few months ago.
The society showed some ingenuity, hard work and alertness which allowed them to jump in on a faculty event. The college was bringing in Val Mutschler, regional coordinator for the College and Association of Registered Nurses of Alberta (CARNA) and alumna as a  guest speaker to address the school. Quickly, a nursing faculty seminar organized by the College itself turned into a formal, dress up licensed fundraising celebration with door prizes and tickets being sold.
"We heard about it and we were thinking we could use it as more of our debut event and then (the faculty) were like 'well if someone wants to plan it we'll leave it up to you guys' and so they (the college) had a lot of it set up before we even took it on," explained Madison Marshall, a UBNC member  who was a member of the Gala's organizing committee. She noted other speakers and decorations were already ready to go. The UBNC then had to sell tickets, get it advertised and getting the silent auction items arranged.
Amber Pellerin, the club's vice-president, added UBNC president Cody Herrell did a great  job getting the food and beveridge services and menu all arranged just prior to the winter break while students had some time to spare.
"We were super thankful for the community; we got a lot of different donations," said Pellerin who noted once they took the event's organization on, it took very quickly. "My Scrubs donated a stethoscope and a koi nursing bag which was worth well over $200 combined, so we very grateful for things like that. A lot of people with their own businesses donated things as well so that was really nice to see."
Students and their friends also donated items. Reps from the different years' nursing students all pushed the students in their respective levels to purchase tickets or get associates to buy tickets or donate items.
"Nursing is such a big career, it should be celebrated so I think people wanted to be involved in that; nurses should be celebrated and 'this is how we can do it'," said Marshall as she explained the support the Gala received.
The organizing committee's efforts were well worth it. Initially, they were hoping and would have been thrilled to sell 100 tickets. What actually happened was they sold 183 tickets with a head count of 175 actually attending Jan. 12. While no exact tally was available, after all of the bills were paid, their profits are expected to be in the several hundreds of dollars.
While the final totals will be very impressive in itself, the fact this group garnered a cohesiveness and some attention within not only the school, but within the nursing students body itself, was impressive.
Pellerin explained the club has only been in existence as "of late last semester." She noted with a laugh, "It really took us a long time to figure out a name."
Herrell was one of the ones who helped spearhead the group. Both Pellerin and Marshall gave Herrell credit for taking the helm and using his past experience with the school on not only the organization, but why such a group was needed for the nursing students. In its early developmental stages, the club was looked at as a fundraising group for all the current year-one to year four students, but they realized it could be so much more.
"We are kind of hoping to make this club for all four years of the (nursing program) students to come together and have ideas about anything study tips or (just) helping each other study or figuring out how to raise money for the pinning ceremonies and grad ceremonies because those can get very expensive," explained Pellerin. "We thought if we had all four years working together on things, we can overcome a lot of the challenges that nursing students face."
 Marshall said it was time the nursing students had their own group.
"All the different departments of the school have some sort of club or society program. The art students have the Visual Arts Society; students for the science and engineering had one, but nursing didn't really have one and it's still a really big department in the school. We were thinking we could use a little bit of connection between us," explained Marshall. "The years are very separate. In first year, you don't even take any nursing classes, you take all of your electives at once. In your second year, you start your clinical and your third and fourth year are practicums. We really don't know what to expect all the time."
"A lot of time, you don't know who is a nursing student unless you make friends with a nursing student in first year like 'oh, I'm in nursing'; 'oh yeah, me too' ," added Pellerin. "It's a good way to bridge us together and get to know everybody in the program...we are still getting to know each other."
A private Facebook group was already in existence which has 84 members. Pellerin said many of those students are on the nursing society. She noted it's very informal and they don't have an official society membership list yet.
There is already some comradery amongst the UBNC executive with a couple of different years/stages of the program represented. Initially, the idea of the society was thought of as a fundraiser for graduation. Pellerin said it will get expensive with the flowers, special uniform and ceremony. At this point, the fourth years had done some fundraising for themselves and that was it. What had been raised wasn't going to cover everything and so everyone wanted to help and get a jump on raising some funds for not only the senior students but everyone involved.
"All of us really click together when we have executive meetings so that helps too when we all have the same goals," said Pellerin. "Everyone thinks the same too; everyone is very compassionate; we all want to help people; we want to do bigger and better things for everyone. That helps too having similar personalities and goals."
With the group, there are a lot of connections the students have with not only members of the community but with those who have graduated from the MHC nursing program or have connections in the medical field now. It's positive to have those connections, not only for job prospects, but to garner experience from those in the field.
No future events are definitively tabled as of yet, but they have a solid base from which to start from not only financially, but more importantly, as a cohesive group which by the very nature of their profession are looking out for each other's best interests.

Read 611 times Last modified on Thursday, 18 January 2018 14:00

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