On October 24th, 2009, I went to the MaSNA Conference which was hosted by Boston College.  It took place in Higgins 300.  The MaSNA Board of Directors discussed the benefits and process of starting an official collegiate NSNA chapter.  The conference started with an introduction from Dean Catherine Read followed by a discussion from Professor Mahmoud Kaddoura’s, Assistant Professor at MCPHS School of Nursing.  He spoke about the “New NCLEX” and identified the areas where new graduates needed improvement.  I like the fact that he gave examples and practice questions as we worked on the problems together.  He stressed that practicing everyday was the best way to pass the NCLEX.  As we get used to this type of questions, we will have better chances of passing.

After Professor Kaddoura spoke, we were divided into two sessions: A and B.  Session A was for students and faculty who currently do not have an NSNA chapter.  Session B was for students and faculty who already have NSNA chapters.  I, of course, went to Session B since Boston College already has an existing chapter.  There was a PowerPoint presentation by UMass Dartmouth SNA students.  We also had a discussion on how to improve and maintain existing chapters.  I found it difficult to engage in the discussion since I had never gone to a SNA meeting on campus. However, being at the conference made me realize how much I wanted to be a part of NSNA.  I spoke to my mentor, Ariana Chao, and she told me that she is part of the Nursing Senate and that I could start joining a group by just sitting in a meeting and seeing how much I like it. Actually, I will be going to a Senate meeting this Thursday.

After our discussion, all the groups reunited back in Higgins.  Speaker Cidalia Vital, a previous MaSNA President (2002-2003) and a current Perianesthesia Clinical Nurse Specialist, talked about the importance of professional development.  She also discussed the professional benefits of participating in MaSNA and stated that it was important to branch out and meet other professionals in the group. She said that a lot of nursing students tend to have their heads in the book and forget about a world outside of their nursing bubble. I find that as I network and talk to different people, I become a well-rounded nursing student, which I believe is necessary for nurses giving care to diversified patients.

Overall, I enjoyed the conference.  I learned that it is important to maintain a chapter because you get opportunities to do community outreach.  You can get access to professional role models and it is a career building experience.  We also build strong relationships as we advance further into our career paths.  Attending these conferences motivates me to be not just a better nurse but a better person.

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