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Nursing student is first from Bethel to be elected to national office

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NORTH NEWTON, KAN. -- Alli Simon was elected to serve on the Nominations and Elections Committee-North for the National Student Nurses’ Association at the NSNA annual convention in Salt Lake City, April 6-10. Simon, a junior nursing student from Derby, is the first Bethel College student to hold national office in the nursing organization. She is also vice president for convention of the Kansas Association of Nursing Students (KANS).

NSNA members are students preparing for initial licensing as registered nurses or enrolled in baccalaureate completion programs such as Bethel’s. NSNA’s mission is to convey the standards and ethics of the nursing profession, to promote development of skills, to advocate for high quality health care and to prepare nursing students for future leadership in the profession.

As a member of the Nominations and Elections Committee, Simon will be responsible to promote running for office in NSNA, to review applicants for offices, to help choose a slate of candidates and to oversee the election process at the annual convention.

In addition to studying toward her bachelor’s degree in nursing, Simon works as a nurse technician at Via Christi-St. Francis in Wichita, which she calls "great experience."

Besides that, she comes from a family firmly committed to health care professions. Simon’s mother, Jolene Donnay of Derby, is an RN and CCRN at the Center for the Improvement of Human Functioning in Wichita. Simon’s stepfather, father and stepmother all work at Wesley Medical Center in Wichita: Tom Donnay, Derby, is an RN in the Emergency department, Jay Simon, Rose Hill, is a respiratory therapist and Tracy Simon, Rose Hill, is an RN who serves as coordinator of bariatrics.

Simon herself is no stranger to service professions. When she was younger, she was involved in 4-H, an environmental club, a teen association and a summer leadership camp that she attended for five years.

A particular interest was training therapy dogs. "I was the first teen in Arizona to be a certified therapy dog handler," Simon said. "The therapy dog program trains pets to go into nursing homes, hospitals and schools. It was a rigorous program that took a lot of time to get through. My role in training therapy dogs, as well as my parents’ dedication to nursing, helped to fuel my passion to become a nurse.

"I feel very honored and privileged to be serving on the Nominations and Elections committee for the NSNA," Simon added. "I hope to do honor to the position for my school, my state and the nursing profession. I look forward to helping provide a full slate of ambitious, creative and qualified candidates for the 2006-07 elections."

Simon gives part of the credit for her election to the committee to Bethel student Dona Carriker, a junior nursing major from Colby, who served as Simon’s campaign manager. "She really helped me through this process of running for national office and put a lot of work into it," Simon said.

NSNA holds two meetings a year at rotating locations, the annual convention in April and the mid-year conference in November. Simon will attend the next mid-year convention, in Louisville, Ky., in November and the annual convention to be held in Baltimore in April 2006.

The annual convention draws about 2,500 nursing students, guests, faculty, and nursing leaders from across the country. It is a major networking and educational event for NSNA. The mid-year conference is a careers conference with programming that specifically explores specialty nursing areas and career issues for nursing students.

Bethel College is a four-year liberal arts college affiliated with Mennonite Church USA. Founded in 1887, it is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Bethel is known for its academic excellence and in 2004 was named a Top Tier college by U.S. News & World Report for the 7th straight year. For more information, see the Bethel web site at

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