Surviving as a community – The Clipper
The campus of Everett Community College was once bustling with student club activity. Due to COVID-19 it is now a ghost town with pre-pandemic flyers still posted on public bulletin boards. Of the more than 30 student clubs and organizations that have flourished on college grounds, fewer than 10 remain active. Among these survivors, one organization stands among them as an invaluable asset to a motivated student body of scholars: The Student Nursing Organization.
The Student Nursing Organization (SNO) provides resources and support for nursing students at EvCC to effectively progress through their education and aims to instill a strong sense of community throughout the program nursing; a field of work which, by its very nature, is to help members of their community. “Health care is about teamwork, so that’s part of the community we focus on,” says Kirsti Boyd, education consultant for the Student Nursing Organization.
Before the pandemic hit in March 2020, the value of SNO’s community was reflected in the community fundraising projects that students and faculty coordinated each term. This included a project called the Everett Foot Project, where nursing students volunteered to provide foot care at the Everett Gospel Mission men’s day shelter for the homeless population.
The project included fundraising to provide socks to people in need and led to some patients being referred to medical professionals for further inspection. The nursing student organization has regularly promoted community service projects using the nursing skills they have been taught, a tradition that has come to a halt under the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
The EvCC nursing program educates a total of 264 students each term and has maintained full admissions capacity since the onset of the pandemic in early spring 2020. Amid campus closures, the nursing program has adjusted the way which it engages students in their studies. However, they are also required to adapt the way they uphold the values of their community. Learning to be a nurse means learning to be an integral part of the larger community, and SNO strives to solidify these community bonds within the nursing program.
Spencer Fidler, president of the Student Nursing Organization, has outlined two goals for nurturing the nursing program during the pandemic: effectively communicating to the student body the resources provided by SNO and improving overall engagement with the organization. “I ran for president because I believed in SNO’s mission to engage students and provide resources,” Fidler said.
The nursing student organization survived largely through its integration into the Everett Community College nursing program itself. Each new student accepted into the nursing program becomes a member of SNO and is encouraged to connect with senior officers in the student organization who are there to support students through the rigorous program. Additionally, student liaison officers attend nursing program faculty meetings to represent the student body and communicate with program administrators about student issues.
These student liaisons and other council members meet to discuss information from faculty meetings and disseminate information to the rest of the nursing student organization. This information can range from philanthropic fundraising initiatives for the program to job listings and internship resources, and is made available to all students in the nursing program. “[SNO] really is a well-oiled machine,” says Jocelyn Flynn, Director of Student Communications at SNO.
The nursing student organization has partnered with EVCC nursing program faculty members and the Red Cross to hold a blood drive on February 9, 2022 in an effort to re-establish their ties with the community after adhering to lockdown rules for so long. “Giving back to this community where they went to school and where they live and work is really important,” says Kirsti Boyd.
This event marks the first event the SNO has organized since the lockdown and represents the community service that the SNO encourages nursing students to participate in. Boyd broke down in tears reflecting on the SNO, saying “the resilience of these students, the fact that there are so many who still want to get into the nursing program, that really gives me a lot of hope for the future.