Community First Credit Union presented the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Nursing (CON) with a $1,000 donation in recognition of the nursing student volunteers who assisted at the 2018 Community First Fox Cities Marathon presented by Miron Construction in September.
Amanda Secor, the credit union’s senior vice president of marketing, met with CON Dean Judy Westphal to express thanks for the contributions made by the skilled group of student volunteers. The money donated will benefit the students directly through nursing scholarships.
“The marathon is a nonprofit event. Many parts of the community come together to make the race possible,” Secor said. “The CON students have proven to be committed, exhibit great attitudes and stay until every last participant crosses the finish line.”
The nursing students, along with several pre-nursing students, assist with the triage units located at the end of the race. The majority of the student volunteers are active members of groups like the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN), the Oshkosh Student Nurses Association (OSNA) and the Eta Pi chapter of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honors Society of Nursing.
“The students monitor runners as they cross the finish line,” Secor explained. “Sometimes they’re there for runners experiencing difficulty, and sometimes they’re simply there for stability. It’s helpful for finishers to know that someone is around for support.”
Throughout the 26.2-mile route there are six medical crews on standby, but the first true points of contact for each participant after the race are the triage volunteers at the finish line.
The triage units focus on finish line safety. Runners commonly experience rushes of adrenaline throughout a marathon, and after the race is finished, bodies can react in unpredictable ways.
The marathon is an invaluable learning experience for CON students. They are able to witness the full gamut of the population in the Fox Valley.
As volunteers, the students not only assess the physical needs of each runner but they also develop practical soft skills. Beyond medical knowledge they need to live in the moment, offer encouragement and celebrate the accomplishments of each runner.
Westphal consistently advocates the need for students to be active volunteers in their community. The nursing student organizations at UW Oshkosh provide ample opportunities for students to give back.
“One of the primary concepts we teach our students is the need to be guiding, be supportive, and to help patients meet their goals,” Westphal said. “It’s all a part of CON’s mission to develop caring and scholarly nurses.”
CON students have volunteered at the Community First Fox Cities Marathon for the past two years and will to continue to do so in the future. The 2019 marathon will take place Sunday, Sept. 22, starting at the UW-Fox Valley campus in Menasha and ending at Riverside Park in Neenah.