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National Student Nurses’ Association
NSNA Leadership U
Giving Credit Where Credit is Due
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the NSNA Leadership U?
The NSNA Leadership U provides an opportunity for nursing students to be recognized for the leadership and management skills they develop through participation in NSNA’s programs and governance activities. From the school chapter level to the state and national levels, nursing students learn how to work in shared governance and cooperative relationships with peers, faculty, students in other disciplines, community service organizations, and the public.
What makes the NSNA Leadership different from traditional universities?
NSNA’s Leadership U is not a brick and mortar structure—it is a university being built by the students and faculty who want to participate. There is no tuition—all NSNA members may participate in the Leadership U. All they have to do is become active in NSNA’s many shared governance leadership opportunities. The steps outlined below explain how you can initiate the Leadership U in your school. 
Who may participate?
The Leadership U is open to all NSNA members attending nursing programs that prepare students for RN licensure (and RN to BSN programs) that are official NSNA constituents as well as to members in schools working toward constituency status. 
What are the purposes of the NSNA Leadership U?
The purposes of the NSNA Leadership U are to:
1.     Link NSNA participation to professional values development and socialization into the nursing profession;
2.     Develop competencies that future leaders and managers need to successfully provide for the health care needs of society;
3.     Guide student learning in shared-governance;
4.     Validate that learning has taken place;
5.     Provide formal recognition to NSNA members who demonstrate leadership and management skill development:
6.     Assist students to develop a professional portfolio:
7.     Create opportunities for mentor-protégé relationships and peer networks for development and growth.
8.     Recognize faculty who support student participation in the NSNA Leadership U and students who have received NSNA Leadership U credit with a personalized certificate.
How does the NSNA Leadership U work?
From the basic skills needed to participate in shared-governance meetings at the school chapter level to the honor of serving on the NSNA Board of Directors, the NSNA Leadership U offers endless possibilities to develop professionalism in students. The approach used must conform to academic and administrative policies and traditions of the specific nursing program. Here’s a step-by-step approach to incorporating NSNA’s leadership U in your program’s curriculum:
Step One: The nursing program must be an official constituent of the NSNA. However, if the school is not an official constituent, it is possible that a student who joins NSNA and initiates an NSNA chapter is eligible to participate. Students must be NSNA members to participate.
Step Two: Students who wish to participate should take the initiative to explore how NSNA participation can either qualify for credit as part of required course work, elective course work, or independent study in the nursing program. The student must then approach the chapter advisor for guidance on how to earn credit for NSNA leadership participation. Faculty may also present this as an option for the fulfillment of course requirements. 
Step Three: Once the proper connection is made between those involved (i.e. student, faculty, administration, chapter advisor), and there is agreement that credit will be awarded for participation in the NSNA Leadership U, a formal meeting is scheduled for the student and a faculty mentor (this could be the NSNA chapter faculty advisor). At this first meeting, the student and mentor need to:
  • review the course requirements and the NSNA Leadership U materials
  •  establish objectives;
  • determine how leadership guided learning will proceed (assign preceptors if available)
  • select appropriate reading and other learning materials;
  • develop a written plan to meet the objectives through NSNA participation. 

Click here for sample objectives.

Step Four: Validate that learning has taken place. At this time, validation methods must be determined by the faculty. Options may include having the student keep a detailed journal, develop a portfolio, create a power-point presentation for the class and for faculty, or write an essay that can be submitted for publication. Evaluation of performance based on the preceptor or mentor’s observations is another appropriate option to determine if the student can actually demonstrate their mastery of the objectives.
Step Five: Complete the NSNA Leadership U Certificate Request Form and submit it to NSNA. The faculty member will receive the designation of NSNA Adjunct Faculty and a certificate. NSNA must then be notified that the objectives and course requirements have been satisfactorily completed and that credit was awarded.
Step Six: When you are ready to graduate, NSNA provides a certificate of recognition acknowledging the student’s participation in the NSNA Leadership U. The certificate is presented at the NSNA Annual Awards Ceremony or can be mailed to a faculty member to present to the student at the appropriate time (i.e. during pinning ceremony). 
Can you give me an example of leadership skills learned at the House of Delegates?
Serving as a delegate in the NSNA House of Delegates gives students opportunities to practice leadership behaviors and demonstrate their mastery of leadership theory learned in the classroom. 
When weighing the content of a proposed resolution, students delegates learn to formulate responses to issues that are evidence based, conduct themselves professionally, speak publically to large audiences, listen to and consider diverse perspectives, work in collaboration with peers, and make informed decisions while utilizing their critical thinking on behalf of fellow student nurses across the nation.
For more information write to attention: NSNA Leadership U