Sarah, with a nurse, in a clinic in Nepal.
Sarah Colvin, President of the Nursing Undergraduate Association (NUA), took some time out of her busy schedule to talk about the NUA, nursing, and her summer in Nepal!
What does the NUA provide for nursing students?
The NUA provides a voice for nursing students within the Faculty of Nursing at the UofA. We represent all of the undergraduate students in the Faculty of Nursing on both a local and national level within the nursing community and in the public eye. We offer numerous volunteer opportunities for students on and off campus, organize a mentorship program, fund intramurals for all students, hold positions on numerous committees within the Faculty of Nursing, as well as offer social events to help create a work-life balance for our students.
As president of the NUA, what are your responsibilities and what’s your favourite part of the role?
I keep hearing that as president I’m “the face” of nursing at the UofA. I’m not sure how comfortable I am with that, but basically I represent the NUA both internally within the faculty and externally to a variety of organizations that we have partnerships with or volunteer with throughout the year. I have a lot of responsibility, overseeing the general goings-on of the NUA however I have an outstanding and incredibly supportive team behind me that make my job easy. The NUA Council are really the ones who deserve all the credit, I feel truly honoured to work with such an incredible team.
My favourite part of the role is watching the process unfold. To be able to see a vision that one of the executive or council members come to fruition and be as successful as it was imagined when it was laid out on the drawing board is truly rewarding.
How did you spend your summer?
I wish I could say relaxing, but that doesn’t seem to be something I know how to do. I took spring classes to start off the summer. Then a week after classes ended I got on a plane to Nepal, where I spent a month travelling doing both touristy things and working as a volunteer nurse. It was an absolutely phenomenal and eye-opening experience. I recommend it to anyone. It certainly pushed me out of my comfort zone, but I am stronger for it.
How do you manage to balance the stress of school and your time commitments to the NUA? Any advice for other students feeling stressed?
I’m not sure I’ve completely figured this part of it out yet. I had an extremely supportive tutor last fall who really helped me to understand the importance of sticking up for myself. I found that I was being my own worst enemy by setting too high of expectations and always saying YES to everything (school, volunteering, hanging out with friends etc.) and never taking a moment for myself to just breathe.
The best I can offer is know what you can cut out of your life and practicing saying no.
I’m also big fan of sweating out your stress. I find Moksha, boxing and running really help me to decompress, but everyone is different, those things may cause stress for you. Just make sure you take a few minutes out for yourself each day and do something you enjoy, that and learn your limits because you’re only one person and nursing can be really stressful on its own!
Why do you want to become a nurse?
I feel like becoming a nurse was sort of always my plan B. It was always in the back of my mind that it’s something I would like to do one day. Finally I got up the nerve to quit my day-job in Human Resources and pursue a career that I actually felt a passion towards. I want to be a nurse because I find great reward in caring for others and helping them in their time of need. With nursing you are working with such vulnerable populations and I feel that to be able to offer people a hand and have a positive impact on their life is really inspiring and honourable.