Finding her Niche
By Elizabeth Lundblad
The decision to apply for a board position for the Ohio Student Nurses Association (OhSNA), a state chapter of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), wasn't on Christine Smothers' radar during her third week of classes at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing.
But an advertisement in an OhSNA newsletter announcing state chapter elections caught Smothers' eye. Now a third year BSN student, Smothers won a spot on OhSNA's board in her freshman year.
"Although I was uncertain about my choice at the time, I took on the challenge to run for the state board as a freshman. Now, I am finishing my second term as Health Policy and Advocacy Director for OhSNA and am so grateful for the learning opportunity," she said. "I would never have seen the policy perspective of nursing or learned as much about leadership and organizational structure had I not become involved with OhSNA."
In Spring 2018, Smothers was elected to the national board of directors for NSNA, where she serves as a director and chair of the Health Policy and Advocacy Committee.
"When I was first elected, I set the goal to create accessible opportunities for member involvement. Image the change that our 60,000 members can create by coming together," she said. "My major initiative as the committee chair is to create, fro the first time in NSNA history, a Health Policy Task Force. Members of the Task Force will develop policy briefings to educate the NSNA constituency about the status of U.S. policy related to the resolutions that members pass at the annual NSNA House of Delegates."
Additionally, Smothers' committee is exploring other initiatives, such as a possible partnership between NSNA and the American Medical Student Association (AMSA).
Having reached the halfway point of her undergraduate education at the School of Nursing, Smothers' favorite courses so far have been the community clinicals.
"The community clinicals pull together what we've learned in our core classes to make a positive impact in our community, while we're making fun memories with kids and seeing more of Cleveland," she said. "Every semester, I get to know a different group of people. Plus, there's something about the very early--or very late--hours with my classmates. The little moments like breaking for snacks, reflecting on classes, and swapping jokes remind me we're in it together."
BSN students receive automatic membership in NSNA when they start at the School of Nursing. Smothers said students should take every opportunity to explore different kinds of fields within and beyond nursing.
"The large variety of careers in nursing means you can find your own niche, or invent it," she added. "As you search for what you love, nursing will give you the path to develop your passion into a career."