On October 17, 2009, I attended the Philippine Nurses Association of America’s (PNAA) Eastern Regional Conference held at The Hyatt Regency in Cambridge. PNAA is a national organization, which has local chapters as well. Attendees came from different areas of the United States ranging from Alaska to New England. Its mission is to “promote professional excellence and contribute to significant outcomes to healthcare and society”. This year’s theme is “Celebration of Excellence, Collaboration, and Innovation through PRISM” (PRISM stands for Professional linkages, Regulatory and legislative agenda, Interagency collaboration, Services and program development, and Managing organizational resources). As a Filipino nursing student at BC, I found the 7-hour education seminar to be very engaging and informative. I also got the opportunity to have BC alumnus and speaker at the conference, Rollie Perea MS, RN, ANP-BC, as my guide for the day.

Speakers discussed current trends, best practices and issues affecting the nursing practice and healthcare delivery system. The topics I enjoyed most were “Retrogression Act and the Future of Recruitment of Foreign Educated Nurses” and “Anatomy of an Error: The Basis of Medical Errors”. As a minority, Filipino nurses are highly affected by the Visa Retrogression Act and it was interesting to learn more about immigration and politics regarding this issue. It was also fascinating to hear about the basic principles and elements of medical negligence through an interactive breakout session.

Further, not only did I have the opportunity to observe the PNAA community, but I was also able to do some networking myself. Mr. Perea introduced me to representatives from my hometown of New Jersey and to the organization’s board members. The event provided me with a new understanding about nursing and diversity. Although Filipino nurses may be a small percentage of the overall nursing population, there are so many initiatives they are taking to project themselves as not just national, but global leaders. Overall, it was truly a great experience not just for the educational value, but for the cultural value as well.

More information about the PNAA can be found at: http://www.philippinenursesaa.org.

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