Leadership opportunities in undergraduate programs are crucial for personal and professional development. Nursing is a career with several leadership opportunities: Charge Nurse, Clinical Education Specialist, Chief Nursing Officer, and Dean of the College of Nursing to name a few. Should you envision yourself in such a leadership position I would encourage you to take advantage of leadership opportunities during your time as an undergraduate student.

One such leadership opportunity is to become a North Alabama Area Health Education Centers (AHEC) Scholar. I was honored to be selected for the inaugural cohort of North Alabama. The program is designed to enhance future healthcare professionals’ understanding of the needs and disparities of the surrounding rural communities. The program involved supplemental education and experiential training in the community over the course of two years. While being an AHEC scholar required having an additional commitment during my final semesters of nursing school, I found the program to be extremely rewarding in that I gained a broader awareness of the needs of Alabama’s rural communities. I am thankful for the experience and would suggest anyone who is interested in rural health especially to apply.

Other opportunities include serving as an officer for the Association of Nursing Students (ANS), taking part in class committees for class projects, applying to be a College of Nursing Ambassador, and joining Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society if invited. Again, should you have the opportunity to take part in any of these nursing-specific opportunities mentioned or any other extracurricular activities where you may develop your leadership skills, take full advantage of the experience.