Midyear, an Outstanding Start to a Nursing Career

Bridget Seelinger, DUSNA Publicity Chair

Duquesne sent three representatives to the National Student Nurses Association annual Midyear Career Planning Conference, held in the Hyatt Regency in downtown Atlanta earlier this month. It was a fantastic conference filled with workshops, inspirational lectures, networking opportunities, and delicious southern food.

After cruising into Atlanta’s airport in the early afternoon of November 5th, Duquesne headed to a Pharmacology Made Insanely Easy workshop where they learned fun techniques for remembering complicated lists of drug interactions and side effects. Some of these techniques involved Pharma-karaoke and mnemonics. It was a fun workshop and very helpful for the Pharmacology HESI test!

The keynote address was next and it was one of the most powerful keynotes that NSNA has had in a while. Called “Compassion Energy- the Honor of Caring” and presmidyear2ented by Sally Karioth who is the assistant dean of Florida State University School of Nursing, this speech had an impact on every member of the audience. Karioth spoke about her experiences as a nurse working in the early days of pediatric oncology and how she learned the importance of providing for the family, as well as the patient. She said that what separated nurses from “little doctors” was this aspect of caring and empathy, and being that patient advocate. The audience was simultaneously laughin
g and crying as she talked about the grieving process and the nurse’s role in that process. It was an amazing speech which was only made more impactful by what followed it.

Following this incredible speech was a memorial service for the five Georgia Southern University nursing students who were killed in an automobile accident as they returned from clinical. Friends of these students spoke about the lives of their friends and one of the first responders spoke about how this accident has affected her nursing career. It was a very moving ceremony.

The next day included the grand opening of the exhibit hall where students were able to mingle with potential employers and explore educational opportunities. There was a general session called “Emerging Infectious Diseases: Global Impact- Local Consequences” which featured Crystal Johnson, one of the nurses who cared for the Ebola patients in Atlanta and Mary Lou Manning who is president of the Association of Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology. Both spoke about their experiences with Ebola and Johnson, in particular, provided some inspirational insight as to why she chose to take care of patients who were sick with something as dangerous as Ebola. She spoke about how the nursing staff provided for the psychosocial aspect of these patient’s care such as playing games with the patients and holding their hands. The rest of the day concluded with co-current sessions which featured topics for career building and improving one’s local chapter.

The final day of the convention notably included nursing specialty panels where students could hear about a variety of nursing specialties including but not limited to Neonatal Nursing, Forensic Nursing, Nurse-Midwifery, Critical Care Nursing, and Holistic Nursing. It was very helpful and informative for students considering graduate school. Following the panels, there were sessions on Human Trafficking, Bylaws and Policies, Nurse Safety and Patient Care, and NSNA Leadership. All of these sessions were very informative and intriguing.

The Midyear convention was a fantastic way to get advice for career planning and discover unique opportunities within nursing. It was also a great to hear from inspirational nurses within the profession, not to mention how fantastic it was to be in downtown Atlanta! Midyear convention was a lot of fun and highly suggested next year!

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