A Message from the NUA

Have you met Grace Irving, Nursing Undergraduate Association's President for the 2020-2021 academic year? Get to know her a little better and learn what's in store for the Fall 2020 semester through this Q & A.

08 September 2020

Grace Irving is a fourth-year Faculty of Nursing student at the University of Alberta and the Nursing Undergraduate Association's (NUA) new president for the 2020-2021 academic year. 

The NUA is a student-run organization that consists of nursing students who are elected by their peers to volunteer their time and effort to represent the Faculty of Nursing's undergraduate students and ensure that they have the best experience possible.

The NUA provides academic advocacy, coordinates social events, addresses issues and concerns that affect nursing students, and connects students to the campus community, as well as the national body of nursing students through the Canadian Nursing Students' Association (CNSA). 

It also acts to fulfill the academic, social, and political needs of nursing students. We are the official voice and representation of nursing students on the University of Alberta campuses through the Students' Union, General Faculties Council, Faculty of Nursing, and the Council of Faculty Associations.

With the continuation of the pandemic and remote learning becoming the norm, this year will be one to remember. Below, Irving provides a glimpse into the semester ahead.

What are your priorities as NUA president for Fall 2020?

This year my biggest goals with the NUA are to create a sense of connection and community within the undergraduate students. The NUA exists to serve the needs and interests of the undergraduate nursing population and in order to be effective in this, we have to be well connected and ready to listen. Especially with social distancing and online learning, I'm determined to build a strong relationship between the students in the NUA and the entire undergraduate student body.

Any exciting news for your fellow UG students to look forward to?

We have a big semester planned for nursing students! We will be starting up with an annual general meeting that every student is welcome to attend. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear more details about your year ahead and vote on exciting changes, we're currently seeking to improve the representation of indigenous students in the NUA, and make a few other changes to the NUA. We would love students to send in their thoughts and vote on potential changes! After that, it will be time for the fall election. We encourage any students that are interested to run for a position in the NUA and ask that everyone else casts a vote! Beyond that, we have quite a few activities planned for the year that students will hear more about in their emails.

Fall 2020 will involve new ways of learning, connecting, and communicating. How does the NUA plan to stay connected with undergraduate nursing students despite remote learning?

With everything so different this semester we've spent the summer planning how to adapt to the new normal. We'll be communicating with students mainly through emails, Facebook, and Instagram. Students Union is also in the process of expanding Bearsden (which gives information on student groups) and once that is up and running we'll have regular updates on our new page there. Throughout the year though we fully intend to have online activities and opportunities for engagement. We have a few in the works right now including a peer mentorship program! 

WHO designated this year as the Year of The Nurse and Midwife. What does that mean to you?

Choosing 2020 as the year of the nurse and midwife communicates to me the recognition and respect communities hold for members of the nursing profession. This year more than ever there has been a need for empathetic, selfless, and skilled nursing care. I feel keen that this year has tested healthcare workers and shown tremendous resilience in both my future profession and all healthcare professionals. I believe that growing recognition and awareness about what nurses and midwives do builds a stronger trust between the public and the healthcare system as a whole. This trust then empowers patients to gain agency in their own health. It also promotes a desire and ability for members of the community to seek out evidence-based health advice and implement it for their own benefit and the benefit of their entire community. I'm grateful to WHO for supporting this education and recognizing the sacrifice some nurses have made this year for their communities. 

Is there anything you'd like to add?

I wanted to express to students how much we would love to hear from you this year. We are navigating the ups and downs of this new normal right alongside you all. If anyone has questions, ideas, or would like to get involved I highly recommend that you email nua@ualberta.ca. We're wishing you all the best this year!

Interested in getting involved with the NUA? Click here to learn how: https://nua356.wixsite.com/ualbertanua/get-involved