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SU's Darnell Caldwell elected to National Black Nurses Association, received scholarship

10/07/2013

 

Southern University junior nursing student, Darnell Caldwell was selected as the student representative to the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) and awarded a scholarship all within a two-day period.

 

On Aug. 2, the New Orleans native received a $3,000 check from the Margaret A. Pemberton Scholarship and on Aug. 4 she was sworn in as a representative to the prestigious NBNA at its meeting at the Hyatt Hotel in New Orleans.

 

Caldwell is believed to be the first Southern student elected to the NBNA board. She was encouraged by the NBNA New Orleans Chapter to run for the position.

 

Her bio and campaign pushed her 67 percent ahead of her opponent to win the seat. Voting is done by members of the organization in 30 states. 

 

She said the feeling is "humbling and exciting because I was able to attend the conference this year in New Orleans. And to be surrounded by individuals that are successful is amazing."

 

"For Southern to be Nursing School of the Year was awesome but now when they see that I am a student representative from Southern they (people outside of BR) want to know about it (Southern) and want to investigate it. They want to know why was this applicant from Southern chosen," said Caldwell.

 

She now gets to represent Southern University across the United States at the different conferences proving that Southern produces top-notch students.

 

Caldwell recalls while working as a phlebotomy technician at Ochsner Medical Center, a year and a half ago, Ochsner's hiring manager recommended Southern to Caldwell who was looking at several nursing schools.

 

Caldwell said the manager told her that "Southern graduates have an art of caring, and you could tell the way a Southern graduate performed with the caring of patients".

 

The non-traditional student who is working on her second career, is glad she made the choice to attend Southern she said. She said although the professors are hard on you they are supportive.

 

Throughout the one-year term as a student representative board member, Caldwell will be the liaison for nursing students. She will be responsible for bringing policies and programs to the organization to help nursing students at all levels.

 

One thing on Caldwell's agenda is to suggest lower fees so that students can afford to attend more conferences. "Students need to see the end result because you can forget during your day-to-day routine," said Caldwell, referring to networking opportunities with successful nurses in the field.

 

The $3,000 Caldwell received from the Pemberton Scholarship is awarded to high-achieving students that live in the city or attends school where NBNA host its annual conference. Pemberton is a member of the NBNA chapter in Washington, D.C.

 

Caldwell said, "the scholarship is truly a blessing because it takes a lot of pressure away from being in nursing school and working. It will allow me to pay for my spring semester and buy books." She says she can now focus more on her studies and "perform better with my academics because I'll be able to take time off from work."

 

Caldwell decided to become a nurse because it was "a calling in her heart from God and more than anything to give back." She expressed her passion for nursing in a two-page essay that helped her win the scholarship.

 

"Nurses are underpaid but more than anything nursing is looking at that person/patient in their eyes and you can come to them in their weakest moment, and to give them hope and to make a difference is priceless," she said. It is a way of continuing humanity and that kindness that we are losing today. It doesn't matter what color or creed you are... at the end of the day we all have red blood."

 

The NBNA is a non-profit organization that represents 150,000 African-American registered nurses licensed vocational/practical nurses, nursing students and retired nurses from the USA, Eastern Caribbean and Africa, with 84 charters chapters in 35 states.