On April 7, 2015, Laura Mata and I arrived at the Valley of the Sun for the 63rd Annual National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Convention. Phoenix, AZ was a great location to meet and greet nursing students and leaders from all over the country. The convention’s theme was “Bright Horizons: Rising to New Opportunities.” Within the next three days, I attended the opening ceremony and participated in delegate resolution hearings, multiple focus sessions, workshops, and the exhibition hall. All activities echoed the importance of bettering nursing’s future by empowering today’s nursing students.
During the Wednesday opening ceremony, there were many speakers from professional organizations who inspired thousands of nursing students to make a change in healthcare. Before the opening ceremony commenced, students and their faculty mentors quickly filled up a large ballroom at the Phoenix Convention Center and flooded the room with energy. Among the list of professional organizations that supported the NSNA Convention were Johnson & Johnson, UCLA Health, Nurses Service Organization, and American Nurses Association. All these organizations said a few words of encouragement to the students and reminded us that we made the best decision of our lives when we chose nursing as a career. At the end of the ceremony, the keynote speaker Gerri Lamb, PhD, RN, FAAN had the honor to say the final words of the night. As an associate professor at the Arizona State University’s College of Health Solutions, Dr. Lamb guided us through her career trajectory and involvement in improving patient care coordination for the past three decades. After hearing her keynote address, I felt reaffirmed in my passion for reforming the United States healthcare delivery system. Although I am still trying to figure out how to put all the pieces together, I could picture myself as a nurse who works with an interdisciplinary team to improve the healthcare system. Dr. Lamb explained to the audience that our generation has been gifted with an opportunity to contribute to the healthcare delivery system. Due to recent implementation of the Affordable Care Act by President Barack Obama, nurses are handed the opportunity to promote primary prevention measures and contribute to good patient outcomes.
During the last two days of the convention, I was on my way to achieving bright horizons. I attended the NCLEX Review to prepare for the national nursing board examination. I also went to a focus session titled “Career Fitness—Landing Your Right Job in the Current Market” and the exhibition hall in which I met up with graduate nursing school representatives from John Hopkins and University of Pennsylvania to name a few. The combination of these programs at the NSNA convention allowed me to lay down the foundation for a future career in nursing education or health care administration. My experience at the NSNA Convention proved the benefits of maintaining an active membership in a professional organization. As a national organization, NSNA was able to bring in top vendors and resources across the United States, successfully providing its student members with a well-rounded and informative experience each year.