by Helen Au, Tina Bui, Habin Cho, Hana Chung, Hyunsue Chung, Abiola Lawal, Leslie Lim
The National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) Annual Convention was an excellent opportunity for students, faculty, and nursing leaders around the USA to gather together to expand and enhance their academic, clinical, and networking skills. Held in Orlando, Florida at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, the NSNA Convention provided lifelong memories, leadership opportunities, networking and educational opportunities for all participants. A group of nursing students from Boston College’s Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing (KILN) program had the opportunity to attend; Helen Au ‘18, Tina Bui ’16, Habin Cho ’16, Hana Chung ’17, Hyunsue Chung ’17, Abiola Lawal ’17 and Leslie Lim ’16, share their thoughts on the NSNA’s 64th Annual Convention:
Although I was in a large room with over 100 students and faculty members, I felt I was part of a community despite my limited clinical experience. The NSNA made me realize that I have an important role in shaping the future of an expanding and essential career field.
One event in particular that stood out to me was the Plenary Session, in which the speaker discussed what keeps nurses up at night. It reminded me that other nurses and nursing students were going through the same things as me. The most important thing is to acknowledge our concerns and struggles because, without acknowledgement, no action can be taken to initiate change.
Erica Cartlidge spoke of nursing experiences that led her to pursue an oncology clinical nurse specialist role. Through her talk, I was reminded of the importance of initiating conversations with nursing leaders and pursuing shadowing and volunteering opportunities, which can give us some significant experiences and open new doors. Overall, the NSNA Convention was a great opportunity for me to take advantage of during the final semester of my undergraduate career as it was a great source of inspiration and empowerment.
Throughout the convention, I came across many inspiring leaders who shared stories of their lives and experiences as nurses. Learning about the history, the scope, and the future of nursing has given me a better understanding of the nursing profession and broadened my own vision and goals as a nursing student.
I felt empowered to be in the presence of nursing students from all over the world, who were coming up with innovative and complex resolutions to create change in the nursing field. I felt as though, for once, nursing students could make a huge difference both within our respective communities and in the nursing field, and I was excited to be a part of this legislative process.
I had the opportunity to sit in on the NSNA House of House Delegates Session. At this session, I observed how powerful the nursing student voice was and how we had the power to make a difference. In that room, I felt like an important member of the larger nursing field where the voices of the student nurses were being heard and taken into consideration.
Attending a professional nursing conference was an invaluable opportunity. I found that many students were there as representatives of their own respective nursing associations and that despite the distance between us – both geographically and perhaps even in status – we were all bonded together by common experiences. Altogether, it was reassuring to feel that regardless of differences in age, experience, and wherever “home” was – that we could share camaraderie and bonds with new faces in a familiar career path.