BLOG: Mary Sullivan ’06
December 8, 2005
Excerpted from the online journal—or blog—of Hopkins Nursing student Mary Sullivan.
Every year our chapter of the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) and the school send several students to the NSNA Annual Convention and MidYear Conference. This is a great opportunity to network with other student nurses, hear from nursing leaders about trends in nursing, and find out about various aspects of nursing. I was a bit nervous in the beginning of this year’s trip—to Louisville, Kentucky—because the hotel lost our room reservation three days before we were to leave.
We had planned on staying at the hotel where the convention was held but when our faculty advisor called to confirm our reservation the Sunday before we left, the hotel said, “What reservation?” The hotel gave us two suites instead of the four rooms we thought we’d reserved. I was wondering how this was going to work with nine people!
We had a great flight and all made it on time. We got to the hotel, and I’m preparing myself to be sleeping on the floor, but when we got to our rooms it was like I was on The Apprentice and we had just walked into a suite at Trump Towers…it was amazing…two rooms, one with a king-sized bed and one with two queens, two pull out couches in the living room and huge dinning room table and a fabulous balcony that overlooked the Ohio River.
The conference was fabulous. Nursing students from all across the country came. It was great to hear what other schools were doing at their chapters and pick up a few things that we could do at ours as well. For example, at Hopkins we started a mentorship program this year, where students just starting out are paired with students in their second year. This program was started in hopes that we could help each other through nursing school. Here at Hopkins we have groups of four or five in mentorship groups. At the conference I talked with other chapters that had larger groups or pairs to discuss which way worked best.
The conference was a great opportunity to learn about running a school chapter and to do some networking. I had the pleasure of meeting the director of the NSNA, Dr. Diane J. Mancino, and the president, Rebecca Wheeler. There were seminars of all types on such topics as surviving nursing school, pharmacology made incredibly easy, how to put together a professional portfolio, and a global health care seminar. Since several of us went, we split up to attend the seminars. “Surviving nursing school” is always a very popular seminar. They stress the importance of finding balance with school, work, family, and having some time for yourself. Nursing school is hard and does require A LOT of studying, but make sure to find time to have fun!
Another seminar I went to was putting together a professional portfolio, since I’m getting ready to graduate. (As a member of the NSNA we have access to an online program that will help you organize and store documents for your portfolio). I was also able to meet with all of the school presidents. There were also several panel discussions involving all types of nurses: ER, pediatrics, infusion nurse, forensics nurse, oncology nurse and any other type you can think of. I think the part of the conference that most people get excited about are the hundreds of hospitals and nursing schools that are represented in the exhibit hall. This is a great place to find a job, or, if you are continuing on with a master’s, to find the perfect school for you.
Oh, I probably should have mentioned that I am the president of our school Nursing Students Association, which is one of the reasons I went to the MidYear Conference. The Annual Convention in April 2006 is going to be in Baltimore and we are looking forward to it!