A Nursing Student's Take on the Virginia Nursing State Convention

By Nursing Student and MidlevelU Intern Olivia DeFilippo

One of the requirements of my nursing program is to attend the Virginia Nursing Students State Convention (VNSA). I'll be honest- attending a nursing convention from 9 to 5 on a Saturday is not my cup of tea. I was not excited about attending the affair but left with a completely different outlook. 

The day began with breakfast in the exhibition hall hosted by representatives from different graduate programs, Virginia hospitals, and educational companies like Kaplan. Pamela Cipriano, president of the American Nurses Association, delivered an inspiring keynote address. She discussed the history of nursing and her personal experiences in the profession. I was interested to see how much the field of nursing has grown over such a short period of time. Then, there was the myriad of focus groups to attend throughout the day. I attended breakout sessions about critical care nursing, pediatric nursing, NICU nursing and pharmacology. 

I can honestly (and unexpectedly) say I learned so much at the convention. I discovered the importance of networking and making connections within my future profession. Joining professional networks can help you make connections gaining access to job opportunities. Professional networks like the AACN, NSA and ENA are some great options to name a few. I also gathered insight into what the average day of a critical care, pediatric, and NICU nurse looks like. It was interesting to see how much my day might differ depending on my specialty

Throughout the different focus sessions, presenters talked about key things hospitals look for when hiring nurses. Hospitals look for nurses with experience, communication skills and an ethically sound mindset. When applying for jobs make sure to tailor your resume to the job for which you are applying. Listing your years worth of nannying experience on your resume may not land you a job in critical care, but it will definitely be a selling point for a pediatric nursing position. 

If you are a nursing student I highly recommend you start getting involved in the nursing community as well. Take control of your career by making connections. Attending a nursing convention is a great first step in this process. You won't regret it!


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