Rosalinda Barrientos (GSON ’15), Yesenia Japa (CSON ’14), Andrea Lopez (CSON ’14), and Alexandra Paz (CSON ’15) attended the July 2014 National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) Conference in Miami, Florida. NAHN is a professional association “committed to advancing the health in Hispanic communities and to lead, promote and advocate the educational, professional, and leadership opportunities for Hispanic nurses.” The purpose of the conference was to advance one’s practice with clinical sessions and poster presentations, expand professional and personal networks, and improve knowledge of cutting edge products and services. The KILN Scholars reconnected with other NAHN members, learned about various topics, volunteered with the Stop Hunger Now organization, and reflected on ways to advance professionally and practice leadership.
Andrea, Alexandra, and Yesenia commented on how NAHN has expanded and strengthened their professional networks over the years of attending this conference. Andrea has met many community leaders at the conferences and looks forward to starting partnerships with them in the future to improve the quality of life of various communities. Alexandra expressed her gratitude and appreciation to KILN for giving her the opportunity to surround herself with nursing leaders who she respects immensely. She explains, “I really value the time I spent. I have taken away a wealth of knowledge not only from the speakers but also from the conversations I had with many of the nurses.” While attending the conference, Yesenia received advice from members as she was debating between two job offers, which ultimately helped her make a decision. At the same time, Rosalinda, who was attending the conference for the first time and is interested in pursuing a PhD, had the opportunity to explore different graduate programs and talk with attendees about career paths and becoming more involved with NAHN.
Besides expanding their networks, the students also left the conference with different takeaways. For Yesenia, listening to the speakers reminded her why she chose nursing as a profession and the role she wants to play in the healing process of her future patients. Meanwhile, Alexandra found motivation to keep furthering her education and pursue a graduate degree. She also expanded her knowledge on addressing health disparities and on the diagnosis of Tourette Syndrome. Through one of the conference sessions, Andrea got a new perspective on the importance of self-knowledge as it relates to her development as a new nurse professional. Rosalinda, who is in her second year of the Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner Program, hopes to apply to practice the information she learned about the healthcare needs of the Hispanic population.