CSON student Winnie Jean giving a presentation

Friday September 21st 2012 was a historic day in KILN history- it was the beginning of the first KILN retreat, cleverly entitled Training for Advanced Leadership in KILN (T.A.L.K.).  Eleven undergraduate nursing students, ranging from freshman to seniors, embarked on a journey of self-discovery and empowerment.  Three accomplished nurse leaders and educators from the School of Nursing: Drs. Nettye Debisette, Judith Vessey, and Viola Benavente headed the event held at the Connor’s Family Retreat Center.

While the event was unique in occurrence, the level of inspiration, education and excellence throughout the program was standard of KILN.  As a participant, I learned about the wide variety of leadership styles including under what circumstances they should be applied, etiquette tips for professional branding, ways to maximize my strengths, and the role of communication.  I also participated in lengthy discussions on effective leadership and practiced educational activities like the time capsule exercise to determine my short and long-term goals and writing a good elevator speech for self-marketing.  Moreover, listening to the program facilitators talk about how they achieved their professional accomplishments was particularly helpful and inspirational.

In addition to the leaders, there were also notable guest speakers including Drs. Irene Sandvold and Judith Shindul-Rothschild, and Jodi Smith. I loved Dr. Rothschild’s discussion about her trials and successes as a nurse leader during the Vietnam War. Surprisingly, I learned a great deal from Jodi Smith’s presentation on etiquette! She taught me about the proper positioning of nametags, methods to prepare for interviews, the difference in acceptable interactions between colleagues and friends, and work promotions.

T.A.L.K. participants listening to speakers and taking notes

The T.A.L.K retreat has been one of my favorite KILN events. It was fun, intimate and informal yet professional and informative. In addition to the guidance I received from faculty leaders and fellow KILN scholars, I gained new skills to become a better nurse leader. I am grateful to the program leaders Drs. Vessey, Debisette and Benavente, the guest speakers, as well as all the KILN program organizers including Dean Read and Debra Pino for providing me with a great learning opportunity.