I’ve been keeping myself busy these last several weeks. Silly me for thinking that the last year of school would be less intense than the first year. Outside of school, I spent the last several months working alongside my colleagues of the Maryland Association of Nursing Students (MANS) to plan our 32nd annual convention. I had no idea how much work it was going to take before we started, but on January 28, we saw all of our hard work pay off. Our theme this year was “Nursing Outside the Box”. Our goal was to highlight how dynamic nursing is, and there were approximately 220 nursing students from around the state at our convention.
Our morning got off to a great start with our opening keynote speaker, Dr. Lois Marshall. Dr. Marshall is a dynamic speaker, and much of her work is focused on test-taking strategies and helping students prepare for the NCLEX exam–a topic near and dear to my heart, that’s for sure. She gave us some test-taking tips, and also talked to us about career planning and what we should do with ourselves after graduation; get a job? Go back to school? If we go back to school, what degree should we seek? It was a great speech, and I’m glad that I was able to listen and learn from her.
The rest of the day was packed with break-out sessions. Conference attendees chose from a wide variety of sessions, such as: a Kaplan NCLEX review, Non-conventional Nursing career panel, Nursing and Politics, and Global Nursing. I was especially pleased that we were able to offer a the Nursing and Politics session, and we were fortunate to have three Nurse-delegates from the Maryland House of Delegates join us; Delegates Nathan-Pulliam, Eckardt, and Valentino-Smith. It was delightful to hear from them, and the key message I heard was the importance of nurses entering politics because of our natural ability to advocate for others. My other favorite session was the Global Nursing panel, and we were fortunate enough to have Dr. Sheila Davis, Director of Global Nursing for Partners in Health as our presenter. I’ve heard her speak one other time, and listening to her again was such a treat. She highlighted the fact that while many think of global nursing as going off to a distant land, global nursing can be done in our own communities. She also emphasized the importance of collaborative task-sharing, rather than task-shifting when working in a global setting.
We ended the day on a humorous note with Lon, “Defender of Caregivers” Kieffer, who closed the convention on a humorous note by offering his advice about how to cope with difficult situations while on the job. It was a really great convention, and I’m sure that all of the attendees were able to take away some very valuable information.
A special thanks to the SON’s own Dr. Dan Sheridan, Ms. Tam Nguyen, Mr. Jae Jin, Mr. Anthony Pho, and SON alumni Jody “Lucky” Andrade and Caeden Dempsy for being a part of our convention. And a special congratulations to Kristen Butt and Hilary Rabuck who were elected to the 2012-2013 MANS Board.