Mary Catherine Pilkington of Smithfield always knew she wanted to be a nurse.
When she arrived at Methodist University in fall 2010, she knew it was where she was supposed to be. Now, as a senior at Methodist, she is serving as president of the state chapter of the National Student Nurses Association.
As a student in the first bachelor’s degree nursing class at Methodist, Pilkington became involved with the National Student Nurses Association in fall 2012. She worked alongside faculty and her peers to start the Methodist University NSNA chapter and has been president of the chapter since then.
After a year of recruiting new members and working on projects and fundraising activities, Pilkington joined two other Methodist chapter officers for the annual meeting of N.C. Association of Nursing Students. There, she decided she wanted to dive deeper into the program.
“We learned so much and came back with bigger plans for the (Methodist) chapter, and we are so thrilled to start this year with those plans,” Pilkington said. “When we got back to school, I applied for a position on the NCANS board. This summer, I was asked if I would be willing to serve as the president of NCANS for the 2013-2014 school year.”
Pilkington accepted the position without hesitation, eager to use the opportunity to grow and lead. As president of the state chapter, Pilkington will work with all university chapters in the state. With more than 60,000 nationwide members, the NSNA helps mentor the professional development of future nurses and assists in facilitating their entrance in the profession.
“This is an awesome opportunity for Mary Catherine, and she will be excellent in this role,” said Lynette Hamlin, interim director of nursing at Methodist. “Mary Catherine is president of our local chapter and was instrumental in the planning and execution of Methodist University’s first Take Back the Night this past spring.”
In preparation for her new role with the NCANS, Pilkington worked through the summer to complete an internship with the Cape Fear Valley Health System labor and delivery program.
“I have been so blessed in my years at Methodist to have such great professors and an awesome group of classmates that teach me every day and inspire me to a good nurse,” Pilkington said. “As the first class of BSN students at Methodist, we have all grown so much together and have a strong bond that I am really thankful for.”