On February 10, 2012 I attended the New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA) 40th Anniversary and Excellence Awards Gala at the Boston Copley Marriott Hotel. This year the gala was hosted by the Boston College William F. Connell School of Nursing. The awards gala encompassed a variety of nursing professionals from registered nurses and licensed vocational/practical nurses to nursing students and beyond. Attending this ceremony was such an amazing opportunity because it gave me the chance to learn from, be inspired by, and network with diverse individuals. It was motivating to see someone that looks like you successfully meeting their goals and pursuing their dreams. This event allowed me to build bridges with other nurses of diverse backgrounds and to listen to their mission as well as share with them my aspirations.

I was awed by the accomplishments of the awardees at the NERBNA awards ceremony as well as inspired by what NERBNA stood for. What I enjoyed most about the awards ceremony was the sense of community that was present there. The nurses at the event made it clear that they would support one another towards their goals, and I want to continue to be a part of that community. I was especially inspired by Tricia Gordon, who won the NERBNA Excellence in Nursing Practice award. Tricia proved through her accomplishments that though she was an immigrant, adversity did not define her but rather that adversity could be overcome. Tricia has immensely contributed to my undergraduate experience at Boston College and has encouraged me to be a future leader in nursing. She served as my clinical instructor for my Adult Health II clinical rotation at Massachusetts General Hospital during my junior year.  When I met Tricia for the first time, I noticed she was the same color as I was. The fact that we were both black made me overjoyed because for the first time I did not feel alone. During the clinical rotation, Tricia did not only serve as my preceptor, but she also became a role model and a mentor to me. She taught me to have a voice especially when I felt intimidated by my peers. Tricia shared with me that she was one of the few minorities in her nursing class and that she too often felt intimidated, alone, and misunderstood. Tricia motivated me to continue working hard in my courses though at times I felt like I wanted to give up nursing. She made me feel comfortable asking questions, encouraged me to take initiative, and helped me realize how much of an asset I was to the nursing profession. Her patience and explanations made things easy to comprehend. Tricia helped me embrace that I was a black nursing student and that my experiences and cultural differences made me valuable to nursing. Tricia is a prime example of what NERBNA excellence is and I could not be more proud of her for winning NERBNA Excellence in Practice award.

Attending the NERBNA 40th Anniversary and Excellence Awards Gala has further motivated me to continue investigating new ways to improve the health care of diverse communities and has continued to foster my growth as a future leader in nursing. It has kept my vision of improving communities that suffer from adversity alive.

 For more information on the NERBNA 40th Anniversary Celebration click here.