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Event provides venue for students to care for one another

Student Government Association senators representing Pennsylvania College of Technology’s School of Nursing & Health Sciences recently hosted a week of activities to show appreciation for student health care workers.

Samar Alquraish, SGA senator for nursing; Angelyvette Santana, senator for health sciences; and Callie A. Sobolewski, senator for nursing, collaborated to host the weeklong event, which they dubbed Student Health Care Week, March 28-April 1.

Callie A. Sobolewski (left), nursing; Samar Alquraish (center), nursing; and Angelyvette Santana, radiography, point a nursing student to Student Health Care Workers Week goodies.
Callie A. Sobolewski (left), nursing; Samar Alquraish (center), nursing; and Angelyvette Santana, radiography, point a nursing student to Student Health Care Workers Week goodies.

“The whole event was to thank the students for working hard, even throughout the pandemic,” explained Santana, a radiography student.

: Certificates to Bookmarks Café in The Madigan Library are among the gifts of gratitude.
: Certificates to Bookmarks Café in The Madigan Library are among the gifts of gratitude.

The event included a game/activities day – moved indoors due to weather; a mental health awareness day, featuring a giant board on which students left encouraging messages; and gift certificates for coffee at Bookmarks Café and ice cream at CC Commons, as well as a free basket raffle. Baskets, each worth over $100, were donated by the college’s Medical Imaging Club, Student American Dental Hygienists Association, Student Nurses Association and Physician Assistant Club.

While completing clinical experiences in hospitals and other health care facilities, students often witness the well-deserved recognition and thanks provided to staff practitioners, but sometimes feel unseen themselves.

“We do homework, go to class, work and do clinicals, and some take care of families, too,” Sobolewski said, pointing to her colleague in the event, Alquraish (the mother of a 1-year-old) as one example among many.

“We went to students eating in the lobby and went into the lab to thank them,” Alquraish said. The trio also provided a welcoming presence in the Advanced Technology & Health Sciences Center lobby.

In addition to providing thanks, the event afforded an opportunity for the senators to connect with their constituents.

“I felt like I was having a difficult time trying to interact and create a connection with all the health science majors because I do not see them often, and there are a lot of them, of course,” Santana said. So she reached out to Allison A. Grove, director of student engagement, to come up with ideas that would help her get to know students and help students to know about her as their senator. “This is when the idea of having a whole week dedicated to nursing and health sciences students occurred. I felt like our health care students do not get the recognition they deserve for being in the medical field and pursuing their career, especially in a time with COVID.”

SGA senators share their message of gratitude on The Rock.
SGA senators share their message of gratitude on The Rock.

She connected with the nursing senators, Alquraish and Sobolewski, who were equally eager to help encourage and connect with their fellow students. Together they worked on the initiative for about a month.

The SGA senators staff a table filled with activities – an opportunity to de-stress – in celebration of Student Health Care Workers Week.
The SGA senators staff a table filled with activities – an opportunity to de-stress – in celebration of Student Health Care Workers Week.

During a closing event, Wendy A. Miller, assistant dean of health sciences, and Valerie A. Myers, assistant dean of nursing, offered encouragement to School of Nursing & Health Sciences students.

“The past two years have challenged students, faculty and the health care team more than we could have imagined,” Miller said. “Your dedication and commitment to health care and your patients was evident throughout the pandemic and it continues to be evident today. We are extremely proud of you!

“The school’s mission and philosophy focus on preparing students to be competent professionals who are committed to the care, respect and dignity of patients. This week’s activities highlighted the importance of holding each other in the same high regard. Placing a priority on caring for yourselves and each other will ultimately make you more effective and compassionate caregivers.

“We are proud to see you all putting this into action now, supporting each other and helping each other meet your goals. Hopefully, you will walk away from these activities with stronger bonds and the feeling of being part of something wholesome and important.”

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