Last weekend, I was granted the privilege to attend the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) Mid Year Convention in San Diego, California. What an incredible experience. This was the 30th annual that NSNA has put on a “Mid Year” convention, similar to our (first time) OSNA Mid Year convention that we had in October.
This year’s convention’s theme was titled “On the Horizon: You Future in Nursing”. Let me be the first to tell you, that this was an outstanding convention. I am a senior nursing student getting ready to make the big jump to the real world. Like most senior students, I am slightly anxious about the transition period between graduating from school to being a healthcare professional. I can imagine during my first shift as a licensed RN, I will be looking over my shoulder for someone to co-sign my orders or charting! But this convention was specifically curtailed to address those issues.
Personally, I do not understand why more students attend these conventions. They supplement your education so much, and allow you to network yourself to future employers, colleagues and other students! One of the most useful things I was able to take from this convention was a one-on-one resume enhancement. This was a workshop that you could attend for free in which you provided a professor or nursing professional (with management/hiring experience). You sit down with them one on one and analyze your resume and they work with you on what they feel needs to be work on. They also gave you tips and instructions on how to conduct yourself to future employers during the interview processes. Everything from body language to dress code is addressed. Needless to say, for a new grad, this information is absolutely priceless.
Amongst the workshops and lectures about a variety of topics, there was a plethora of exhibitors at the convention doing what they do best…..giving out free stuff! If you are ever running low on pens for clinicals, class, etc. Sign up for a conference/convention. You are almost guaranteed to walk away with at least twenty free pens (as well as a few other need nick knacks) in your pocket. The exhibitors ranged from graduate schools to NCLEX review companies. There were even booths set up from a few hospitals. Johns Hopkins hospital and Mayo clinic were there (both of them are incredible facilities and places to be employed) actively recruiting for future nurses.
The lecturers and workshops that were put on were very eye opening and educational. They covered topics such as fluid and electrolytes, conflict resolution/problem solving in the work environment, your scope of practice and responsibility as a nurse, and ethical considerations. There were also two nursing panels in which you could ask questions and have them answered by nurses that were experts in their perspective specialties. There was also a NCLEX mini review session put on by HURST that was available.
Also, I found this national level convention to be incredibly helpful from a campus president perspective. I am the SNA president of the La Grande campus and found it amazing to talk with other student leaders and school presidents. I was able to exchange ideas about leadership, student involvement, and school development. Being from a smaller campus, with relatively new SNA involvement, it was fantastic to hear the ideas poor in. I am even more excited to take these suggestions and ideas and hopefully apply and implement them over the next few months!!
This convention has made me feel more confident and less anxious about the transition from school to the work force. I am truly looking forward to graduation and cannot wait to hopefully impress my future employers! I would highly recommended and student to attend this convention and even the OSNA convention in February!