The National Student Nurses Association: Always a Kick

By Shawn Kennedy, MA, RN, AJN editor-in-chief

IMG_2262Once again, the annual National Student Nurses Association (NSNA, www.nsna.org) convention was packed—full of high-energy, engaged nurses-to-be.  Approximately 3,000 attended this year’s meeting in Orlando from March 31 to April 3.

The NSNA meeting easily rivals those of other associations, with seemingly round-the-clock House of Delegates and state chapter caucuses (one could observe LOTS of pizza cartons moving between hotel and meeting rooms), a guidebook app, a daily convention newspaper, an impressive exhibit hall, professional motivational speakers (though motivation does not seem to be an issue with this group), award presentations, and a full slate of educational and career information sessions.

Nursing leaders and representatives from most major nursing organizations, including the ANA, National League for Nursing, American Red Cross, and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing, were there to meet students and talk about initiatives to get these future nurses ready for the real world. They received lots of practical advice, including sessions on interprofessional collaboration, disaster nursing, how they can get involved on boards, legal aspects of licensure, tips and practice for taking the licensing exam . . . even one session on how to get started writing, led by yours truly!

Johnson & Johnson’s Campaign for Nursing’s Future sponsored “Future U.” and the lines were constant and long. Students could get a professional head shot on a USB drive, listen to advice from professional career counselors and coaches, watch videos detailing career specialties they might consider, plug in at a charging station, and take a fun photo with friends to donate and raise money for scholarships. J&J’s campaign is now in its 14th year and has raised thousands in scholarships for future nurses.

Nursing students can really get a “leg up” on getting started on the right track in their nursing careers through NSNA—I wish my school (oh so many years ago) had had a chapter.

Editor-in-chief, AJN

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