Anna Lagrotteria and Sara Angelino, seniors at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON), received recognition at the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) annual convention, held April 6-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Sara Angelino was awarded the Isabel Hampton Robb Leadership Award for her innovative leadership as President of the Maryland Association of Nursing Students. Lagrotteria accepted a Gold Award for Membership Recruitment on behalf of the Hopkins NSNA chapter for their outstanding increase in enrollment.
Angelino and Lagrotteria have both spent the past year encouraging students to become members of NSNA. While Angelino focused on recruitment at the state level, Lagrotteria worked to increase membership at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing.
As president of the Maryland Association of Nursing Students (MANS), Angelino set her sights on expanding the membership to include students from a greater number of Maryland schools. “The MANS board members are to be credited for this year’s 15 percent increase in membership,” says Angelino. “Officers contacted each Maryland nursing school at least once per month. Three schools asked for start-a-chapter kits, and we saw great increases in attendance at our annual convention.”
Under Angelino’s leadership, attendance at the MANS convention more than doubled this year. Over 250 Maryland nursing students attended, and they were joined by more than 100 nurses, faculty, advisors, and vendors. “The convention helped get MANS name out there,” says Angelino. “More Maryland nursing students are becoming active in the organization, and next year’s board will have representatives from six schools.”
As president of the Maryland chapter of NSNA, Angelino competed for the Isabel Hampton Robb Leadership Award against other state chapter presidents. The award is given to the recipient whose leadership characteristics most resemble those of Isabel Hampton Robb, a Hopkins nurse who was known for establishing nursing organizations which became the American Nurses Association, the National League for Nursing, and the International Council of Nursing.
“It was amazing to be compared with Isabel Hampton Robb’s leadership, particularly because she was a Hopkins nurse,” says Angelino. “Great nursing leaders have always come from Hopkins – it’s a part of our history.” In winning this award, Angelino received $1,000 cash and a copy of the commemorative edition of the 1893 Hampton book.
Lagrotteria, president of the Hopkins NSNA chapter, received a Gold Award for Membership Recruitment for the chapter’s outstanding increase in enrollment this academic year. NSNA membership tripled at Hopkins between the months of September and January, to a total of 117 members. Since the addition of a new class of students in January, membership has grown even more.
“On average, only 15 percent of nurses nationwide are members of a professional organization when they graduate,” says Lagrotteria. “But approximately one third of Hopkins nursing students now belong to the NSNA. We have the largest membership of any chapter in Maryland, although we are not the largest school in the state. Having a large membership foundation at the school level is key, and my board worked very hard this year to meet and exceed our goal of membership recruitment.”
Both women attribute much of their leadership development to mentor Rosemary Mortimer, MS, MSEd, RN, an instructor at the School of Nursing and advisor to the school’s NSNA chapter. “Rosemary Mortimer has a tactful way of helping students acknowledge their weaknesses and channel their strengths. She has helped me learn from my mistakes,” says Lagrotteria. “She has been an amazing mentor,” agrees Angelino. “She supports students and puts forth all of herself in building leadership in nursing.”
Though graduating in 2005, Angelino and Lagrotteria both plan to attend next year’s NSNA convention, scheduled for April at the Baltimore Convention Center. They have begun recruiting other Hopkins students to attend next year as well. “We hope that every Hopkins NSNA member will attend next year’s convention,” says Angelino. “What a great way to show how strong Hopkins is!”