Pictured (l-r) Meghan Thompson-Wilda ’13, Meaghan Finn ‘15, Sara Thomas ‘13, Sarah Bender ‘14, Brooke Hopkins ‘14, Colleen McGauley ‘15
The National Student Nurses Association Convention is said to be the largest annual gathering of its association member chapters from around the country. Each April, thousands of undergraduate and graduate nursing students gather to learn about nursing, explore new nursing opportunities, network, and connect with other nursing students. This year's 61st Convention was hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina. Six students from the Boston College Student Nurses Association (SNA) were sent to represent the William F. Connell School of Nursing.
The Convention commenced with an opening ceremony featuring keynote speaker, Dr. Courtney Lyder, Dean of the UCLA School of Nursing. Over the next four days, the students networked, discussed issues, and shared ideas with over 3,000 fellow nursing students and professionals. They attended focus sessions covering numerous nursing topics including emergency room nursing, abroad army volunteer programs, and the benefits of breastfeeding. Some seminars, such as those focusing on pharmacology and improving memory, were interactive. Seniors were given the opportunity to participate in NCLEX review sessions in preparation for their upcoming exam. Students of all ages welcomed the opportunity to converse with job and nursing program recruiters from all over the nation.
Both the semiannual and annual NSNA conventions are also opportunities for state student nurses associations, such as MSNA, or the Massachusetts Student Nurses Association, to gather and introduce new resolutions for the association and vote in the next year’s elected officers. Any school chapter may research and write a resolution for consideration by the association, and the resolutions are presented and voted on at the annual convention. Though Boston College’s Student Nurses Association has not yet presented a resolution, it is a goal of the club to begin the process soon.
At the end of the day, the students were able to share their experiences with one another through social events all while exploring the beautiful city of Charlotte. During their free time the students enjoyed renting bicycles and sightseeing in downtown Charlotte, playing nursing trivia, and, of course, getting some papers and studying completed for class! The convention was not only an opportunity for the BC nursing students to meet recruiters and other students from around the country, but also a bonding experience for the six nurses from Boston. BC SNA Co-President of 2013 Meghan Wilda says, “I loved being an underclassman at the convention in 2011 because I made friendships with upperclassmen nursing students who are always available for advice and encouragement. As an upperclassman this year, I had an even better time sharing what I know with the younger BC students. I can’t wait to see how they lead our chapter of the NSNA in the future.”
Current Co-President Brooke Hopkins, ’14, adds, “The 61st Annual NSNA Convention expanded our knowledge of the nursing field, helped prepare us for our upcoming careers, and enabled us to strengthen our bonds with each other. On behalf of those who attended, I can truly say that we all benefited greatly from the experience. We eagerly look forward to next year's convention in Nashville, Tennessee where we hope to continue our growth as an organization and as future nurses.” The National Student Nurses Association convention is a wonderful opportunity for Boston College nursing students to learn about nursing, make new friends, seek out opportunities and, above all, become better nurses.