Emory nursing student Rebecca Wheeler has been elected president of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA), out-polling two other candidates to become the group's first female president in five years.
Ms. Wheeler is a junior at Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, and as president, she represents the NSNA's 45,000 members.
One of her first official duties as president is to represent the NSNA, the largest student nursing association in the U.S., at the International Council of Nurses convention in Taipei, Taiwan in May. As NSNA president, she will meet with the presidents of student nurse organizations from 50 countries, and have the opportunity to network with representatives from professional nursing organizations from throughout the world.
Her father's involvement in his own professional organizations inspired her to become involved in NSNA. "I learned early on from my dad that being involved in your professional organization is one of the best ways to influence your profession," says Ms. Wheeler. Her father and sister are physicians and her mother is a nurse. "I am honored to have the opportunity to represent the 45,000 NSNA members as president, and I am eager to get started," she continues.
As president, Ms. Wheeler hopes to "make NSNA the premier student nurse resource," and provide students with more access to information on scholarships and nursing-related legislative issues for each state. She also will be involved in building a new NSNA delegation in Puerto Rico.
"Rebecca's success shines brightly on Emory and student nurses everywhere," says nursing school Dean Marla Salmon, RN, ScD, FAAN. "We are extremely proud of her. She truly is the future of caring, now," (referencing the school's centennial anniversary theme).
Ms. Wheeler, who has a background in teaching and in Spanish, became interested in studying nursing at Emory because of the school's unique emphasis on international nursing and public health. Additionally, a third of Emory's undergraduate nursing students are pursuing second degrees, and when she graduates with her BSN in 2006, it will be Ms. Wheeler's third degree. A native of Connecticut, she earned her bachelor's degree in Spanish and history from Middlebury College in Vermont, and a master's degree in TESOL (teaching English to speakers of other languages) from Teacher's College at Columbia University in New York. Prior to entering nursing school at Emory this year, she taught English at Pace Academy in Atlanta for eight years.