Beyond the Classroom:
CUSNA Helps Hertzler Expand Horizons
“It’s all or nothing,” says Kelsi Hertzler, a senior in the bachelor of science in nursing program. “I don’t like to do anything half-way.”
Hertzler’s “all or nothing” attitude is not just simply talk. In just one year at the College of Nursing she has helped the CU Student Nursing Association (CUSNA) become more sustainable and effective. This leadership experience taught her elements of nursing that could not have been learned in the classroom.
“When I was elected president of the CUSNA, I found that many improvements—such as editing job descriptions in bylaws and the CUSNA way of advertising—could be implemented in the organization. To me, there was no other option but to reform things. I couldn’t just leave things the way they were,” says Hertzler. “It is just a part of who I am.
“I have gained so many wonderful things through this experience,” says Hertzler. “I have improved my communication skills and found that effective communication is one of the most important skills you can learn for nursing and for life in general.” For Hertzler, not only have better communication skills played a huge role in working with other CUSNA board members, but they have also provided insight into how to be a become a better nurse, a nurse people can trust.
“I have not only gotten better at saying what I want to get across, but I have greatly improved my listening skills as well. Effective listening is essential in nursing,” she says. “You can only truly help a patient if you take the time to really listen to what is wrong. Listening shows people that you care about how they feel, and that they can trust you."
Hertzler walked through the door of the CUSNA seeing an opportunity to help a valued student organization become even more significant, but in the process discovered a different way to look at leadership and nursing. Her experience will help her find solutions, make decisions, and implement them in the fast-paced setting of the emergency room where she hopes to work once receiving her RN.
“I used to think that a leader was someone who made decisions and implemented them,” she says. “Now, I realize that being a leader is more about being a facilitator and a mediator."
Hertzler credits her fellow board members and teamwork for their success.
“Working as a team and hearing other points of view always leads to an outcome that is better for more people,” she says. “Teamwork is essential in nursing. Working with other nurses and health care professionals will always end up being best for patient care.”