Two senior nursing students from Missouri Southern were recently elected to the top posts for the Missouri Nursing Students Association (MONSA).

Elizabeth Burken and Jessica Holly, both Carthage natives, were elected as president and vice president – respectively – during the annual statewide MONSA convention, held last month in Springfield. The mission of the organization is to “enhance professional nursing students’ education and practice in all environments to assure quality, affordable and accessible health care for the people of Missouri.”

Burken said she wasn’t aware that the statewide election was going to be held and didn’t consider running for the post until a classmate nominated her from the floor.

“I thought it would be a great opportunity to work with people from across the state,” she said. “There were several other candidates for president. I had no campaign or a speech prepared, so I just got up there and talked.”

As president of the statewide organization, Burken said her duties will include working to unite chapters from around the state, helping to plan and host conferences and networking opportunities, and raising money for organizations supported by MONSA.

Burken will graduate in May, and currently works in obstetrics for Freeman Health System.

As vice president, Holly said her duties will be to assist the president and step in for Burken if called upon. Also set to graduate in May, she has already been hired for the ICU residency program at Freeman.

“I originally started out at Missouri Southern as a biology major,” said Holly. “But I have a lot of family members who are nurses, and a combination of things led me to change my major.”

Kay Fauss, assistant professor of nursing and an advisor for the MSSU Student Nursing Association chapter, said she has had a chance to get to know both students in the classroom as well as in clinical settings.

Burken and Holly, she said, possess the leadership qualities needed at the statewide level.

“Each of them has done a very good job leading SNA over the past year,” Fauss said. “They did a phenomenal job with the CP fundraiser we do every year and also helped to coordinate and run a blood drive on campus. They have great attitudes, and take any opportunity that comes up to serve or help increase the awareness of the university’s SNA chapter.

“This is the first time in several years we’ve had someone run and be elected. Having two from our own chapter be elected in the same year is phenomenal.”