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Theory Meets Practice at Student Nurses Conference

February 27, 2020

Members of Blackhawk Technical College’s Student Nursing Association (SNA) recently attended the Annual Wisconsin Student Nurses Association (WSNA) Conference in the Wisconsin Dells. Although Blackhawk typically sends a few students each year, this year twelve student nurses from its nationally recognized program attended the conference.

The students included the officers of the local chapter: Katelynn Dawedeit SNA president; Anna Swanson, SNA vice president; Theresa Share, SNA secretary, and Gladys Higgins, SNA treasurer. Also in attendance were SNA members: Kwamesha Milsap, Christina Coleman, Cristina Hanada, Heather Kind, Rebecca Glass, Sierra Loiacano, Barbara Casiday, and Devin Knaub. They were accompanied by faculty advisor Mary Mather and faculty member Melissa Fischer.

“During the conference, students were able to attend nursing-related learning sessions on topics such as the opioid crisis, how adverse childhood events affect health, preparation for NCLEX licensing, pediatric trauma, the role of the SANE nurse, and more,” explained Mary Mather, SNA Advisor, and Blackhawk Nursing Faculty. “An important function of the state conference is that our students were able to participate in networking with other students, employers, and other educational institutions to further their nursing studies.”

Students who attended the conference valued the opportunity to participate in the learning sessions. The speakers came from a variety of industries, speaking on relevant issues that occur in nursing practice. One particular speaker had a tremendous impact on SNA Member and WTCS Student Ambassador Kwamesha Milsap. “The speaker gave us insight on how to talk to people who suffer from addiction without being judgmental. He also shared his symptoms of withdrawal and shared nursing interventions for inpatients suffering from addictions.”

Kwamesha continued, “Building a trusting relationship with patients is very important in nursing and could be beneficial and therapeutic.”

While there, the officers of the Blackhawk SNA also served as delegates to the state meeting. They voted on WSNA resolutions and elected the next year’s board of directors. Due to the size of Blackhawk’s Chapter, four student delegates from the College were able to vote at the state level.

Teresa Share, Blackhawk SNA Secretary, said it was an honor to be a voting delegate in the Wisconsin Student Nursing Association (WSNA) House of Representatives. “This benefited Blackhawk’s SNA because we have input on changes at the state level.” Teresa continued, “We also got to use our vote to help elect our classmate who now sits on the WSNA Board of Directors.”

Teresa is referring to Blackhawk nursing student, Gladys Higgins. She ran for and won a state board position with the organization. The position titled Breakthrough to Nursing Director will work to promote the nursing profession.

The students learned study skills to professional skills at the conference and credit SNA for shaping them as students and nurses. Whether you are a student considering nursing as a career or you have been accepted into the nursing program, SNA has a lot to offer its members.

Members of SNA agree – students set themselves up for success when they join student organizations and get involved on campus. “I encourage all nursing and pre-nursing students to join a student organization especially SNA. It will benefit you when applying for jobs because it will help you to stand out from the competition,” agreed Teresa.

Kwamesha added, “Surround yourself with positive people that have the same goals as you. Nursing school is not a walk in the park. BTC definitely prepares you and sets you up for success. I planted my seed in the healthy soil of Blackhawk SNA and with that came growth, positivity, motivation, and friendships.”

The national, state and local Student Nurses Association mentors the professional development of future registered nurses and facilitate their entrance into the profession by providing leadership opportunities, resources and career guidance, and networking with other students and faculty. The organization is open to any student interested in the nursing profession. If you would like to join please contact Mary Mather at

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