Leaving a legacy for fellow nursing students

N ursing graduate Clara White of Murrayville is leaving Georgia College & State University having made an impact she never thought she’d achieve.
Under her leadership, the Georgia College Association of Nursing Students (GCANS) has become an award-winning organization with reach throughout the university.
GCANS is an opportunity for nursing students to come together and decompress away from school. Upperclassmen mingle with first-year nursing students and share advice for homework, studying and having fun.

White never thought she’d be president.

“I was scared about public speaking,” she said. “But the past president encouraged me to go for it—I’ve gotten so much better, and now I can be in charge of an organization.”

Q: Tell me about the awards you have received, and what went into achieving them.

A: Last week, I was awarded the Unsung Hero Award, and this is for someone who has contributed a lot toward their organization, but haven’t been recognized as much. GCANS has never won a Bobcat award, but this year we got Student Organization of the Year. Getting that was definitely big for us, and more people will hopefully look at GCANS on campus and come see us.

We’re tabling, doing more fundraisers, sharing new events and letting our community know we’re here to help students on campus.

Clara White won the Unsung Hero award for her work as GCANS president.
Clara White won the Unsung Hero award for her work as GCANS president.

Q: What’s it like winning those awards as the person at the helm?

A: Last year, I went with the past president to the Bobcat Award ceremony. Ever since that ceremony, I’ve wanted to earn that award and change GCANS for the better. I got to do that, and it feels really awesome.

Q: How did you wind up in nursing?

A: My aunt is a midwife at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, and seeing her passion and love for her job has inspired me to do this. She’s helping mothers and their children every day, and she still talks to some of them. Having that connection and relationship with your patients is awesome.
Q: Where are you headed next on your journey?

A: I’ll do a residency program at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in the ER, and I’m considering a graduate program. The fact that I’ll get to help all these people coming in will be crazy. But, I think it’ll be really fun helping those patients.
Q: What advice do you have to the nursing students you’re leaving at GCSU?

A: Don’t be scared, because everyone hears about the nursing program and how hard it is. It is, but it’s very doable. Just do it, because it’s a great opportunity.
Our instructors are in the hospital just to help us every step of the way. That’s the best thing GCSU has over a lot of other nursing programs—its nursing faculty are the best.