James Madison University

VNSA Conference Awards JMU Nursing Department

By: Dina Manco
Posted: April 20, 2015

JMU was recognized for multiple achievements at the 2015 Virginia Nursing Student Association (VNSA) State Convention. This year, the nursing department received three awards: Student Nurse of the Year, Faculty Appreciation, and the Most Active Constituency Award. Undergraduate senior Hollie Sandone was nominated and chosen for VNSA’s Student Nurse of the Year, while Pediatric Clinical Course Coordinator Melissa Leisen won the Most Supportive Faculty Member award.

PHOTO:Melissa Leisen

In her role as coordinator, Leisen finds placements for JMU nursing students in hospitals and health care facilities throughout the community. She also acts as a co-advisor for the JMU Nursing Student Association (NSA). The students she works with in the association nominated her as the Most Supportive Faculty Member. She said, “This is a great honor to me to receive this award, as I love nursing students…For me, getting to work with students outside of the classroom in the context of NSA has been awesome. Our students are so engaged and hungry to help their communities and each other.”

PHOTO:Hollie Sandone

Hollie Sandone, president of JMU’s NSA chapter, can now add VNSA Nursing Student of the Year to her resume – an achievement she describes as “surreal.” She was nominated by Leisen, Nursing Instructor Lisa Carmines, and her undergraduate peer, junior Amy Proietti-Fox. Leisen comments that Sandone is deserving of this award due to her effective leadership and all she has accomplished within the chapter

Sandone says, “It’s a great accomplishment. The previous 4 presidents of our NSA had won [the award]. It was a lot of pressure to apply for it, but I’m glad I did.”

PHOTO:JMU students at VSNA

The Most Active Constituency Award went to the JMU NSA. Leisen comments, “We put on several programs a year based on an agreed upon health-related theme, as well as other service projects.” This year’s theme is Cancer Awareness. NSA also started a mentoring program for students looking to apply into the competitive program.

 “Overall, the education the Nursing Department gives our students is amazing,” Sandone expresses. “Professors are wonderful and intelligent. They want you to learn and be the best nurse you can be.”