As the leadership demands of registered nurses in the American health-care system continue to increase, The University of Toledo is bragging about one future leader in nursing.
Brent Straley, who graduated May 10 from the UT College of Nursing, has received the prestigious Isabel Hampton Robb Leadership Award from the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) for his contributions to the professional organization as well as to UT and the community.
“The field of nursing continues to be challenged in environments serving the complex acute and chronic care of patients, families and communities. Nurses advocate for health policy and care issues for the people they serve,” said Dr. Timothy Gaspar, UT College of Nursing dean. “Brent has already emerged as a national and state leader both as a clinical advocate for patients as well as health policy and educational advocate for his peers in nursing.”
In his letter recommending Straley for the award, Gaspar highlighted how his interest in health care took root even before he entered college. “At age 18, he began his interest in health care as an emergency medical technician serving as chief cadet of the Springfield Fire Department, leading and recruiting new members to the department,” Gaspar wrote.
Earlier this spring, Straley spent more than a week on a medical mission in Nicaragua, providing care and health education to families and children in rural communities. Denise Oancea, a UT faculty member and registered nurse who supervised students on the Nicaragua educational trip, said the NSNA award to Straley focused on two strengths.
“The Hampton Robb Leadership Award is tangible evidence of what so many faculty and students in the College of Nursing already know — Brent has extraordinary potential for leadership in nursing and the world of health care,” Oancea said.
“But I think it is important to point out that this is also an affirmation of the quality of the baccalaureate program and the clinical education UT nursing students are receiving. It’s exciting to have Brent as an ambassador for UT to the rest of the national and state nursing community,” she said.
Straley has served as vice president (2007-08) and president (2008-09) of the Ohio Nursing Students Association. He has been active in promoting nursing at UT, creating the Student Nurses Association Web site, a newsletter and fundraising activities for various service-learning initiatives and charities. Straley serves as a nursing assistant on the medical/neurological intensive care unit at UT Medical Center.
With a membership of about 50,000 students nationwide, the National Student Nurses’ Association mentors the professional development of future nurses and facilitates their entrance into the profession by providing educational resources, leadership opportunities and career guidance.