Margaret Ngai received the position during the NSNA 59 Annual Convention April 6-10 in Salt Lake City.
She will be vice president of the 56,000-member organization, which provides professional development opportunities and networking for future health care practitioners.
The campaign process at the convention was hard work and time intensive. Ngai said it was filled with attending state caucus presentations, giving speeches and answering questions from delegates. She attended the convention with her campaign manager, senior Stephanie Griffin.
Ngai said the campaign process and her involvement in the NSNA have sharpened a variety of different personal skills and allowed her to build new relationships in the health care field.
“My public speaking skills were definitely refined,” Ngai said. “I also gained a broader understanding of health care from other students across the country. It was cool to hear that people from Arkansas, Maine and Hawaii all share the same concerns about the field.”
Her vice presidential duties include chairing the bylaws and membership committees as well as sitting in on other committee meetings and traveling within the country to give presentations at state conventions.
Ngai said one of her main goals for her term is to make the NSNA more accessible to average nursing students.
“NSNA is what you put into it. There are tremendous professional development opportunities for those who engage themselves in the organization,” Ngai said. “At the same time, we want to make sure that there are benefits for people who can’t dedicate a lot of spare time.”
Ngai’s involvement with the NSNA began during her first day of nursing school when she attended a meeting for the Linfield chapter of the organization.
She said she went to a state conference three weeks later and ran for a state-level position.
This passion for leadership and involvement stemmed from the example her mother set, Ngai said.
“I grew up in an environment that emphasized the importance of getting involved in professional organizations,” she said. “My mother was the executive director of Oregon Women Lawyers, so I remember following her to meetings and events as a child.”
Before enrolling in Linfield’s nursing program, Ngai earned a bachelor’s degree in liberal studies from Portland State University. She said it was a convenient way to take a wide range of classes while completing prerequisites for nursing school.
“I didn’t know I wanted to be a nurse until I was about 18 years old, but health care encompasses a lot of my interests,” Ngai said. “I like science, I like helping people and I like learning.”
Ngai said she hopes to use her experience in the NSNA and her nursing education to impact how health care policies are made, she said.
“I think that the things I’ll learn in the NSNA will definitely help down the road,” she said. “In nursing, we clearly need health care reform. I hope to work on some of those issues eventually.”
Joanna Peterson/Culture editor
Joanna Peterson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.