By Denise Richardson
The Daily Star
---- — A Hartwick College nursing student has won a scholarship to attend a national conference in Washington, D.C.
Ilona van der Ven, a senior, was one of two recipients of awards to attend the 2013 Student Policy Summit of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
The fourth annual summit, to be held March 17 to 19, will feature van der Ven’s essay submission in conference materials. The three-day conference is open to baccalaureate and graduate nursing students enrolled at AACN-member institutions, the association’s website said, and students attending the summit attend sessions on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy.
Van der Ven said she is honored to receive the scholarship, which pays for travel, lodging and conference fees. Nursing administration and policy making are important avenues to provide care for patients, she said, as is applying skills in clinical settings.
“I am really looking forward to learning more about policies and the decision-making process involved in the health care industry,” van der Ven said in a media release from the college. “To me, this award showcases the liberal arts in practice curriculum I’ve experienced here at Hartwick — receiving opportunities to learn both within and outside of the classroom.”
Van der Ven, 22, from Lincolnville, Maine, said she applied to Hartwick College because of its nursing and January Term programs. Besides attending the college’s nursing January program in Jamaica, she also arranged an independent J-Term study in the Netherlands, where she had lived during middle school years.
Van der Ven said she applied for the conference scholarship last fall and was surprised to hear about her success this month. AACN Director of Government Affairs Suzanne Miyamoto, a registered nurse, wrote an email to van der Ven saying that her essay was a standout among submissions, the release said.
Van der Ven credits the nursing department faculty and staff for providing support that has made an impact toward her achievements. She will be accompanied to the conference by Jeanne-Marie Havener, professor and department chair of nursing at Hartwick College.
“We need to educate and develop health policy leaders in nursing,” Havener said. Van der Ven’s achievement represents how a liberal arts education can help a nursing student ``see the big picture and move advocacy beyond the bedside to the boardroom or the legislative chambers,’’ she said.
“Ilona is an amazing ombudswoman for our department, the college and our profession,” Havener said. “We are very excited for and proud of Ilona and look forward to her continued success and contributions in the field of nursing and health policy.”