HomeAchievementsNursing Student Receives Prestigious Scholarship from New England Minority Nurse Leadership Conference

Nursing Student Receives Prestigious Scholarship from New England Minority Nurse Leadership Conference

At its 9th annual conference in Springfield, Mass., in October, the New England Minority Nurse Leadership Conference (NEMNLC ) honored a Southern nursing student for her work both domestically and abroad in Peru. Brittney Hernandez, ’24, a senior nursing major minoring in medical Spanish, has accomplished much during her time at Southern and shows what it means to be an Owl.

One of only 12 nursing students from across New England selected this year, Hernandez received a $12,000 scholarship from the NEMNLC, which is a collaboration between eight New England chapters of the National Black Nurses Association, Inc.; National Association of Hispanic Nurses; and National Association of Nigerian Nurses of North America. NEMNL introduced the scholarship program in 2021.

Hernandez also recently took part in a short-term study abroad program in Peru, where she was part of a team of nursing students who participated in experiential learning in areas such as global health, providing care to underserved populations and learning about differing healthcare systems.

She recently spoke with us about her work in Peru, her scholarship, and her plans for the future.

What is the New England Minority Nurse Leadership Conference?

The New England Minority Nurse Leadership Conference brings together health care communities every year to discuss nursing diversity. It is a great opportunity to network, collaborate, and develop principles of leadership.

What is the New England Minority Nurse Leadership Scholarship and what does it represent?

The New England Minority Nurse Leadership Scholarship was created to assist minority undergraduate/graduate nursing students, registered nurses, and nurse leaders in achieving higher levels of education, professional success, and contributions to healthcare. This scholarship represents the importance of serving diverse underrepresented communities and being an advocate for those who are frequently ignored.

How do you think you have earned this award?

They awarded me with the scholarship because of my academic achievements throughout my four years in college, my passion and commitment to serving diverse communities, and my drive to promote health equity.

How did it feel to receive the scholarship?

Receiving this scholarship was such a blessing. At the conference, I enjoyed learning about nurses with different cultures and it made me feel proud bringing representation into this profession. I feel extremely honored and grateful to have been selected as one of the recipients of the NEMNLC Scholarship this year.

How do you see yourself changing the world with your degree and scholarship?

After I graduate and obtain my bachelor of science in nursing, my goal is to work as a labor and delivery registered nurse. Working in this specialty will allow me to develop close relationships with patients going through an emotional and significant experience. I will have the chance to empower women during such a life-changing event, encourage mothers who do not have a support system, comfort those who unfortunately experience pregnancy loss, provide the knowledge and confidence to care for their newborn, and so much more. I will also be able to expand my knowledge on women’s health while working alongside physicians and certified midwives.

Coming from an Ecuadorian family, I also strive to advocate and represent the Hispanic community. As a current student nurse, I use a ton of learning tools via platforms like YouTube, but I have yet to encounter a page or account in Spanish. With the different platforms that today’s technology provides and my minor in Medical Spanish, I hope to share my knowledge with student nurses. Examples include flashcards containing medical Spanish terminology, interactive videos in Spanish discussing different illnesses, medications, and more. Fewer than six percent of U.S. registered nurses are Hispanic/Latino, and I hope that with these resources I can inspire the next generation.

This scholarship will help me continue pursuing the education I need to achieve my future goals in nursing and serve the Hispanic community in my hometown of New Haven.

What other achievements have you attained at SCSU?

At Southern, I have earned a spot on the Dean’s List multiple times. In the fall of 2022, I became a Yale New Haven Hospital Scholar and received a scholarship to help with the cost of tuition. Lastly, I was recently inducted into the Mu Beta Chapter of Sigma Theta International Honor Society of Nursing.

What was the purpose of your study abroad to Peru?

The trip to Peru was a service-learning experience. The purpose of the visit was to provide care to underserved individuals in many villages, examine different healthcare systems, and learn the importance of being culturally competent. The trip was a great time. The group learned so much about Peru and the Inca culture. We got to visit lots of beautiful landmarks such as Machu Picchu. Everyone that we met was extremely kind and helpful, the food was delicious, and the clinical days were successful and rewarding.

A photo from Hernandez’s recent study abroad trip to Peru. Hernandez is third from right in the back row, and Dr. Maria Krol, chair of the School of Nursing, is on the far left in the back row.

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