Volunteering to Make a Difference

We are excited to have Stephen Kielbasa, a BSN student at Goldfarb School of Nursing, back as a guest blogger. In this blog he shares his experience, and the experiences of two other Goldfarb students, volunteering at a community event this spring. 

Mother To Mother Luncheon

From left to right, Goldfarb School of Nursing students, Emily Hancock, Stephen Kielbasa, Jeannetta Brooks

I’ll admit it—pink shirts often get overlooked when I get dressed in the morning. When it comes to supporting good causes though, I’m always willing to go the extra mile and so are the members of our Goldfarb Student Nursing Association (SNA). Despite being on term break, several SNA members donned pink shirts and volunteered for the Mother To Mother Luncheon at SqWires restaurant in April. Mother To Mother provides support to soon-to-be mothers and those experiencing postpartum adjustment disorder (PPAD). Thanks to events like the fund-raising luncheon, Mother To Mother is able to offer its services at no cost to clients. Here are some thoughts from fellow SNA members and students who also attended the event.

“I wanted to volunteer for the Mother To Mother Luncheon because the services the organization provides are both important and unique. Because I’m a mom, I understand the stress and anxiety that occur during pregnancy and after giving birth. I think that Mother To Mother provides a vital service that addresses issues that are often ignored.

There’s often a stigma attached to postpartum depression, and I listened with admiration as a Mother To Mother client shared her story, which was both courageous and insightful. I really enjoyed meeting the staff and the different guests, as well as getting to know some of my classmates who were volunteering.” Emily Hancock, BSN – Upper Division

“I was happy to have the opportunity to volunteer for and support Mother To Mother. As a mother, I know that along with the joys of motherhood come periods of emotional contention that may need additional support. The organization recognizes the many degrees of PPAD and is able to provide resources to assist even the most severe cases at no cost to the mother.

It was a great pleasure to spend my day supporting one of their biggest fund raising events and help ensure that Mother To Mother can provide services to mothers throughout the St. Louis Metro Area.” Jeannetta Brooks, BSN – Accelerated

At the end of the event, I think we all agreed that the Mother To Mother Luncheon was a great experience. We had an opportunity to see the innerworkings of a nonprofit organization and participate in supporting a great cause. I want to thank our student volunteers, and I hope that many more will join the SNA in supporting other great causes this year.

Stephen Kielbasa, SNA community chair

For more information about Mother To Mother, visit www.mothertomothersupport.org or call 314-644-7001.

Missouri Nurses Association Nurse Advocacy Day

Nurses not only impact health care by teaching future nurses and by caring for patients, but many are involved in shaping laws to enhance patient care and the nursing profession. A group of students witnessed firsthand how nurses are influencing laws at the 27th Annual Missouri Nurses Association Nurse Advocacy Day in Jefferson City, Missouri. Stephen Kielbasa, a BSN student at Goldfarb School of Nursing, shares his experiences from that day and what he learned while at the state capital.

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Stephen Kielbasa, along with fellow student Gina Kitterer (center) and faculty member Dr. Mary Curtis, enjoyed their time at the capitol during the Missouri Nurses Association Nurse Advocacy Day.

One couldn’t help but feel the anticipation while watching and listening to the hustle and bustle of the crowd. Friends and strangers chatted away. Nurses, professional and student wandered through exhibits. Hungry conference-goers balanced bagels and coffee cups in their hands waiting for the event to begin. Why all the excitement? Well, this was just the beginning of what would turn out to be an informative and adventurous day in Jefferson City, Missouri —the 27th Annual Missouri Nurses Association (MONA) Nurse Advocacy Day.

MONA drew registered nurses and students from all parts of Missouri to the Missouri state capital to learn about the legislative process and the importance of organizing our collective lobbying power. The day included a number of speakers and a visit to the capitol building. We learned about current state legislative efforts and how to interact with our representatives. I found learning about the legislative efforts to be especially interesting.

As student nurses we often do not realize that the framework for our profession is being decided right now, before we even graduate. For example, did you know that advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) do not have the same flexibility to practice in Missouri as they do in other states? Doesn’t quite seem fair, does it? Fortunately, there are groups like MONA who are advocating on our behalf about this and other issues.

While visiting the capitol, another student and I turned our trip into a legislative scavenger hunt. We visited the senate and house chambers, took photos and even tracked down our state representative Sue Meredith from district 71. I was surprised how easy it was to talk with Representative Meredith and impressed by her willingness to talk with constituents.

As a nurse, I want what’s best for my profession and feel I have a responsibility to advocate for our patients. I’m convinced that the best way to do so is to organize nurses so that our voices can be heard within the halls of our legislature. That’s why it is important to have an organization like MONA that not only represents our voice but also provides its members an opportunity to participate.

I encourage nursing students to participate in events like this. I found it to be a great opportunity to interact with my peers and learn a little bit more about how I can help make nursing a great profession.

To learn more about Missouri Nurses Association (MONA), visit www.missourinurses.org.

And find out who your state representative is at www.house.mo.gov.