Amanda Gonzalez


Nursing is well-known as a field full of people who care. That might go a long way toward explaining how a group of nursing students, already busy with school and work, have banded together for community outreach projects.

Amanda Gonzalez is a nursing student who’s involved in the Hennepin Tech Nurses Who Care group, which was formed in the spring semester of 2014. “You don’t actually have to be a nurse, but most of us are,” she explained. “We reach out to community groups and causes. We have worked at Feed My Starving Children, we’ve been bell-ringers for the Salvation Army, and during the last holiday season, we did an adopt-a-family program for 10 families.”

They also come up with unique ideas beyond those already existing through different initiatives. “There’s a man in Minneapolis called the Sandwich Man. He drives around Minneapolis giving sandwiches to homeless people. So we came up with the idea of portable first-aid kits. People could buy them for $1 and we gave them to the Sandwich Man to hand out with the sandwiches. It was great for the student body—people who don’t have much time or money could still do this and know it would make a difference.”

Nurses Who Care meets every month to share ideas, discuss processes, vote, and pass motions. It involves group discussion and teamwork. Faculty member Becky Mikesh is the advisor and Gonzalez couldn’t sing her praises high enough. “She goes way above and beyond as an advisor,” she said. “She’s very proactive. We are blessed to have her. She even brings banana bread now and then!”

Recent projects include a suicide awareness event combined with outreach to a local veteran’s group. Gonzalez noted that college can be a tough time for students, their mental health can suffer, and that veterans have high rates of suicide as well.

A lighter event is the nurse pinning ceremony. Gonzalez explained, “This has been done since the 1800s. Once a nurse completed training, there would be a ceremony with candles, and the nurses would be pinned.” Today, Nurses Who Care have updated this ceremony and created an intimate tradition that takes significant planning and is greatly anticipated by nursing students, including Gonzalez, who will receive her LPN in 2016.

“Nurses Who Care is good for resumes,” she said, “but we’re also really making a difference. It’s very humbling. I really feel that it humbles you and that is important. It’s very eye-opening.”

Last updated by jhanson : 2016-08-01 11:33:08