Finding Future Leaders – and a NICHE in Nursing

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

It has been a hectic few weeks, as I’ve been traveling to the early spring nursing meetings (with still more to come).

With John Gransbach at NSNA meeting With John Gransbach at NSNA meeting

First I went to Charlotte, North Carolina, to attend the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) annual meeting (April 3–7). AJN has had a long association with the NSNA, supporting it in various ways since its 1952 founding, from hosting board meetings at AJN offices to producing the convention newsletter to convention scholarships for key contributors. In recent years, we’ve sponsored travel expenses to the annual meeting for the winner of Project InTouch, the member incentive plan. This year, the winner was John Gransbach, who graduated from the Goldfarb School of Nursing at Barnes-Jewish College in St Louis. He recruited 228 new NSNA members—an achievement certainly worth recognizing.

Future leaders. As I told the audience when I presented the plaque to Mr. Gransbach, this award isn’t just about growing membership in the NSNA—it’s about contributing to the future of the profession. Students who join the NSNA are already demonstrating a commitment to nursing by going beyond what’s required of them. They’ve joined an organization that provides considerable resources to help them begin their careers. Not only does it provide practical help with passing the NCLEX exam, writing a resume, and finding a job, but it informs them about what it means to be […]

Well On His Way: A Nursing Professor’s Humbling Experience

Holding On / D'Arcy Norman, via Flickr Holding On / D’Arcy Norman, via Flickr

By Martina Harris, EdD, RN, a UC Foundation assistant professor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga School of Nursing

It was 6 am and I was on my way to make patient assignments for my first semester nursing students. Inside the long term-care facility, the hallways were quiet, the majority of patients still in bed. I made my way to the second floor to begin identifying and assigning patients for my fundamental nursing students. Standing at the nurse’s station, my focus was on finding patients who would provide students varied opportunities to reinforce the basic skills they’d been learning at campus lab.

The charge nurse approached me and asked if I would be willing to assign a student to Mr. Hugh, an 84-year-old who was proving to be very “complicated.” Assuming that “complicated” meant that his care required lots of psychomotor tasks, I agreed to her request. She then explained that this patient had been using his call light frequently, but that each time the staff responded, he only wanted someone to sit and visit with him. Though this didn’t seem an ideal opportunity for a student to practice basic nursing skills, I felt the gracious thing to do was to take the assignment.

In the hallway, my group of fundamental nursing students huddled together, dressed in their white uniforms and nervously awaiting the start of their first […]

2016-11-21T13:08:13+00:00 February 26th, 2013|nursing perspective, students|11 Comments

What Can’t Be Taught in Nursing School

JanuaryReflectionsBy Jacob Molyneux, senior editor

The January Reflections essay in AJN, “A Special Kind of Knowledge,” is a revised excerpt from a forthcoming book, Crossing the River Sorrow, One Nurse’s Story, by Janet L. Richards. (The book will be published in June by Vantage Press.) In the essay, the author remembers an encounter she had several decades ago as a nursing student caring for a newly paralyzed young woman. Here’s a paragraph from near the start:

I stood by Carrie during those first harrowing hours in the ICU as she awaited surgery, everyone still hoping for the best. As a brand-new student, I was a silent observer, unsure of how to participate. Her young husband also watched, slumped against the heater under the window at his wife’s bedside. His eyes blazed, wild with fear and disbelief as he struggled to make sense of his sudden immersion into the alien world of disability. I could identify. Pressure sores, urinary catheters, bowel programs, and spasms—these were now part of my new and ever-expanding medical vocabulary. A spinal cord severed at C6 meant life as a quadriplegic. Suddenly this book knowledge seemed all too real.

And here’s a few lines from near the end, to give a sense of the crucial insight the author gained as she struggled to bridge the gap between herself, her patient, and the patient’s husband:

Pain can be palpable as it moves across the space between two people, molten, […]

Practically a Nurse: Life as a New Graduate RN

By Medora McGinnis, RN, whose last post for this blog was “Don’t Cling to Tradition: A Nursing Student’s Call for Realism, Respect.” Medora is now a pediatric RN at St. Mary’s Hospital in the Bon Secours Health System, Richmond, Virginia, as well as a freelance writer. As a nursing student she was the Imprint Editor for the National Student Nurses Association.

Life as a new graduate RN has been . . . confusing. While my peers seem to have it all together, for the last five months since graduating I’ve been perplexed—what do I do with myself, if I don’t have to stress out and study everyday? Well, of course I have my five kids to keep me busy, an amazing new job as a pediatric RN, and my husband who almost forgot what I look like.

Still, I feel like I should be cramming for something, memorizing something, or at least triple-tasking. I’m stressed that I’m not stressing out. Maybe I just dreamt that I graduated . . .

Here is a little of my backstory: I graduated in May from a three-year diploma program, as part of the very last class in that historic Virginia program, Bon Secours Memorial College of Nursing. It is now a four-year BSN program. They are affiliated with the large health system […]

2016-11-21T13:09:13+00:00 September 25th, 2012|career, Nursing, students|2 Comments