New Nursing Society executive team focus on reconnecting students

Society execs began term Dec. 1

The new executive was announced in November.

The Nursing Science Society (NSS) executive team is looking forward to reviving the Nursing community at Queen’s in their new roles. 

President Nathaniel Gumapac, Nursing ’22; Vice President (operations) Azra Jeraj, Nursing ’22; and Vice President (university affairs) Emma Harris, Nursing ’22, started their term Dec. 1, 2020. Their appointment was announced in November, following an election process.

Both Jeraj and Gumapac started with the NSS in their first year at Queen’s. Harris was involved with Student Academic Success Services (SASS), where she helped mentor nursing students.

“I knew the NSS was where I wanted to end up, because I’m very passionate about helping other students,” Harris said in an interview with The Journal.

The team spoke to how, due to COVID-19, transitioning into the roles in a remote environment was a “learning curve."

“It’s been interesting. It was a very difficult time to transition in […] but now I think we’re feeling a lot more comfortable,” Harris said. “We’re very excited to move forward.”

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 Going into 2021, the team has three main focuses. First, they hope to increase accessibility to student mental health resources and help students with skill-building. They’ve been working with the Queen’s Clinical Psychology Outreach Program to accomplish this goal.

The Society held a Mental Health & Resilience Workshop last Wednesday over Zoom, which had 55 nursing students in attendance. Gumapac said there was a “good sense of community” at the event.

“[Mental health] has kind of been left to the wayside because of COVID-19,” Gumapac said. “I guess the priority right now is keeping everybody physically healthy. But we are tending to neglect ourselves as Nursing students being at the forefront of it.”

Their second focus is on increasing communication and transparency between the NSS, Nursing students, and the School of Nursing (SON).

The team is planning to create a support group to connect Nursing students across all years at Queen’s. Jeraj noted a particular disconnect within the Nursing community, as first-year students don’t have mandatory clinical and aren’t on campus.

They’re also working to revitalize the NSS website so it can be a hub for all information regarding Nursing at Queen’s.

“With COVID-19, it’s hard to stay in contact and stay up to date with everything that’s been going on,” Jeraj said. “Important information gets a little missed.”

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The team’s third focus is supporting Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Indigeneity (EDII) initiatives and fostering cultural humility. They hope to work with the SON, Nursing professors, and their ongoing EDII committee to address student feedback.

Harris is working to hire two new NSS commissioners as part of this goal: a BIPOC Student Advocate and an International Student Representative. 

All three spoke about their desire to revive the Nursing community at Queen’s, with the ongoing pandemic eliminating many opportunities for student connection and engagement. 

“I think one of our biggest challenges is that disconnect,” Harris said. “Our hope is to bring that community back, and give opportunities for students to meet one another and check in again.”

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