In July, 4 Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing (KILN) scholars participated in the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) annual conference in Indianapolis. Sandra Dickson ’13, Jennifer Etienne ’12, Nicole Joseph ’12, and Tiffany Otto ’12 joined thousands of nurses and nursing students from all over the country to discuss a variety of health issues affecting the African American community and strategize about solutions.
The KILN scholars had the opportunity to meet and build relationships with many nursing professionals who offered them advice about nursing in general as well as professional development. Workshops, panels, discussions, and ceremonies were just some of the activities that the students participated in at this inspirational conference.
Students’ Thoughts on Listening to Speakers and Meeting Other Nursing Professionals:
The current goals for the NBNA are plain and simple: to increase the number of African-Americans in the healthcare community and to promote quality of life for all. Consistent with the goals of the NBNA is Susan Taylor’s National Cares Mentoring Movement, an organization that gives time and energy to the recovery of our children. As editor-in-chief emeritus of Essence magazine and the opening keynote speaker at the conference, Taylor proposed that by working hand-in-hand with the NBNA, we could transform the minds of the younger generation. The three goals of the movement are as follows: collecting mentors, connecting with them, and deploying them to where they are needed. By recruiting and encouraging our peers to be mentors, Taylor believes that we can all make a difference, in the healthcare field and beyond.
Susan Taylor was a great inspiration to me. I was engrossed in her powerful but troubling words about how now more than ever it was crucial that we become leaders in our communities as African American youth continued to fall prey to AIDS and homicide. Though it was difficult for me to be reminded of the things devastating Black America, I was reminded by Taylor’s encouraging words that adversity did not define me but rather that adversity could be overcome. I realize that my role not only as a student nurse but also as a young Black woman is to help elevate, engage, and empower my community, the patients I will care for, and all those I encounter on my journey to becoming a nursing professional.
– Jennifer Etienne
One of my favorite moments was meeting Ms. Joanna Lomax. Joanna Lomax is a member of the NBNA Milwaukee chapter who invited us to the Milwaukee chapter meet and greet. She was very welcoming and gave off a mother persona. Listening to her numerous advices about nursing was a valuable experience for me. My favorite quote from Ms. Lomax is “Nursing school and being a nurse is tough because you are dealing with people’s lives”. She also stressed the importance of treating patients with respect and kindness.
– Tiffany Otto
I spent nearly two hours speaking to the representatives of nursing schools about their graduate programs as I would like to advance my nursing education. It was a very exhilarating process to speak to these schools about my research interest in mental health in minority communities and the great programs they offer.
– Nicole Joseph
Students’ Overall Thoughts about the Conference:
It is through programs such as KILN and through organizations such as NBNA that I continue to have the courage to pursue my dream of improving communities that suffer from adversity and improving global health as a whole. I am thankful that KILN made it possible for me to attend NBNA and learn from intellectuals who like me have overcome adversities. Being a part of both, KILN and NBNA, has inspired me to continue investigating new ways to improve the healthcare of diverse communities and has continue to foster my growth as a future nursing leader.
– Jennifer Etienne
By attending the NBNA conference, I was challenged to step out of my comfort zone and meet other extremely knowledgeable healthcare professionals who shared such great wisdom with us. The experience gained by attending this conference put me at ease about the difficulties and challenges of the nursing profession. I am very grateful for such a wonderful opportunity to attend the conference and I hope to continue going for many years to come.
– Sandra Dickson
Overall attending the NBNA conference was a remarkable experience. Being surrounded by many intellectuals from the Black community who contribute to society in different ways instilled a sense of pride in me. Along with a sense of pride, I felt assurance that I am doing the right thing by choosing nursing as a career path.
– Tiffany Otto
Going to this conference has furthermore fueled my thirst for graduate education and encouraged my heart to continue on my quest for improving mental health for those in my community.
– Nicole Joseph