Future Nurses—No Shrinking Violets

Thelma Schorr and Kathryn Brownfield.

Thelma Schorr and Kathryn Brownfield

By Maureen Shawn Kennedy, AJN editor-in-chief

Last week I had the opportunity to meet several members of the National Student Nurses Association (NSNA) board of directors when they were here in New York for a board meeting. As is custom, NSNA chief executive officer Diane Mancino invites many of the NSNA sponsors and supporters to dinner to meet the new board.

I had the pleasure of meeting Kathryn Brownfield, the nursing student editor of Imprint, the NSNA’s official publication. She’s a nursing student at Nash Community College in North Carolina. We sat with Thelma Schorr, AJN’s former editor and publisher (and a consulting editor at Imprint) and Florence Huey, a former editor of AJN and of Geriatric Nursing (and a former president of the NSNA). It was like homecoming!

I was impressed—as I always seem to be—with these aspiring nurses. Many of them are second-degree students and come into nursing with work experience, a family, and a maturity that was lacking in my cohort, which was largely younger, right out of high school, with little work experience.

I wonder how these nursing students will fare in their first nursing jobs. One hears a lot about bullying and lateral violence and how it’s driving some new nurses away. I can’t imagine any of the students I met being cowed by overbearing coworkers.

In November, NSNA will host its mid-year conference, which typically draws 1,500 attendees; this year, it will be held in Louisville, Kentucky.

We’ve been able to publish some very engaging blog posts by NSNA members in the past. These two posts by Medora McGinnis, a former editor of Imprint, were particularly popular:

“Don’t Cling to Tradition: A Nursing Student’s Call for Realism, Respect”

“Practically a Nurse: Life as a New Graduate RN”

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Managing editor, American Journal of Nursing


  1. jm July 2, 2013 at 4:15 pm


    I believe Shawn intended the comment you reference about student nurses she’d met as one of admiration for their spirit, not as in any way a suggestion that lateral violence doesn’t exist among nurses. AJN has published extensively on the topic over the years, so no worries there. Best wishes.

    Jacob, senior editor/blog editor

  2. Becky Lehr, LPN July 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm

    While I am happy to hear that the student nurses you are meeting appear to be dedicated and advancing their education, I must take exception to your statement on lateral violence. As a nurse for over 17 years, I have been a victim of bullying and it cost me my job. I was not ‘cowed’ by my coworker, and yes, I tried going to management but was incredibly underwhelmed and disappointed at their response. As anyone who knows me can tell you, I am NO shrinking violet. (During my first year as a nurse I was also bullied by a doctor and was told that I had been warned to expect this behavior.)

    Lateral violence is real, and is not only directed at new nurses. I sincerely hope this does not reflect your opinion on all lateral violence in the medical or any other profession. The nurse who bullied me did so because she has more education than I, despite my years of experience. Perhaps she felt threatened by me because I am confident in my knowledge and attitude of learning from everyone I come in contact with, be they “above” or “below” me on the “learning” scale. (We are all human, and can learn from other’s experiences.)

Comments are moderated before approval, but always welcome.

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