Thursday, June 23

Be a Media Maker

"The world where we are living in now - despite having a heavy investment in technology - is still dependent on our social and very human interactions."

This quote by Barbara Glickstein, faculty of the Nurse Messenger training I'm attending, is so reassuring to me. We are often consumed by social media - it's all around us, every day, and sucks us in like a vacuum. But in reality, technology in this sense is only and added path of information, something in addition to the shoulder-to-shoulder teamwork.

Barbara is a public health nurse executive, health policy expert, and broadcast journalist. She is co-founding director of the Center for Health Media and Policy at Hunter College, City University of New York. And for the past 25 years, she has produced and hosted "Healthstyles," an award-winning, weekly program on public radio in New York City. She is extremely active in areas of healthcare advocacy, gender inequality, religious and ethnic intolerance, trafficking in women, and women's health.

Along with Barbara, Diana Mason, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the co-founder and co-director of the Center for Health Media and Policy. Dr Mason is the Rudin Professor at the Hunter College, City University of New York. She Produces and moderates "Healthstyles," with Barbara Glickstein, a live, award-winning radio program of 25 years. She is a blogger for "Disruptive Women in Healthcare" and the "American Journal of Nursing (AJN);" Dr. Mason served for over ten years as the editor-in-cheif of the AJN, where she continues an emeritus position.

The training I am lucky enough to be a part of this week is called "Nurse Messenger Training," and I'm working alongside 12 true leaders in nursing as we develop our media presence. All nurses are naturally educators and communicators! Barbara states, "Nurses can even communicate while running alongside a gurney!" We are natural lobbyists, as our passion lies in patient advocacy. But what can we actually do with this ability?

We each have a message to share, and defining that message gives us the power to share it. YOU have the ability to share messages that are clear, concise, and powerful, and that call for some kind of action. What would YOUR message be?

Wednesday, April 20

Moving Mountains?

What an adventure.

I'm fairly certain that whether I'm trying to accomplish a lot in one day OR sitting around on vacation somewhere, it will always feel like there is just not enough time; it always feels like I'm trying to move mountains.

I have a very vivid memory of myself about 8 years ago. I was on the phone with a girlfriend during the kids' naptime - I was a full time mom OF ONLY TWO at that time - and I was in tears because I was so tired of the "mundane" challenges that consumed my life, and needed to do more to feel like I was contributing to the world... and little by little I began adding to my schedule, adding to my world, and adding to my GOALS, all leading up to where I am today. If only I could have seen the future...

Fast-forward to today: alarm at the crack of dawn, hustle out the door to work, enjoy the day as a working mom with a great job at my college, then hustle and run again gathering up the kids/playing/eating/changing and coming back for class or clinical...and goals? Not just to maintain my sanity. My goals now include bigger things that I never even thought to imagine. Like committing myself to a 3 year, full time nursing program, and putting in the time to be successful. Like running for a national office with an enormous, historical student organization. Like serving our college as President of our Student Government Organization...

What I'm trying to say is that looking back now at myself 8 years ago, on the phone and in tears, I'm amazed at how things have changed. I AM expanding my goals and accomplishing them one at a time...I AM certainly challenged now. Try looking back at yourself a few years ago...is this where you wanted to be, or are you still shaping your goals? (Maybe we will always continue to shape them.) I think we are all moving mountains in one way or another. And it's not our accomplishments, but how we handle the pressure that defines us.

Friday, April 8

Climbing the Mountain

Hello, from Salt Lake City, Utah! I can’t believe I’m here, and part of this amazing convention for the NSNA (National Student Nurses’ Association) as a national candidate. Boy, it’s a wild adventure! I look forward to preparing a presentation for you when I get back, so that I share this experience with you all! I wish you were here with me. These 3,000 nursing students that are in attendance are ALL investing in their futures by choosing to be part of this experience – they are engaged, and value these resources that NSNA makes available to us! I’m honored to be part of this group. We are all climbing, working hard in our programs to make it through, make it to the top, and make it happen!

Ok, to sum it all up:

• Tuesday: arrived in Salt Lake City, lost a bag of luggage, of course the one with my suits; met a few other national candidates for an informal dinner, a chance to get a taste of what’s to come.

• Tuesday night: baggage delivered to the hotel (thank you, Delta) and MI averted

• Wednesday: 5am alarm, 6am breakfast, 7am opening of Campaign Headquarters to set up (see pic below); find my Virginia State Board friends (VSNA) to rally for some support; begin campaigning by manning the post in Campaign Headquarters from 12-2pm and greeting all voting Delegates that circled through, and then finding all of the meeting rooms where sign up sheets are posted for the states to sign up for caucuses; plan my next 2 days of attempting to visit most of the 50 caucuses, around the other obligations; keep smiling! Oh, and sleep and eat.

• Thursday (today!): 5am alarm, 6am breakfast, 7am caucus where I started off a little rushed, a little vague with my goals as potential Imprint Editor, and with a major migraine; by the end of the morning I had been accepted as a speaker to 15 state caucus meetings and presented myself well, better and better with each one! Manned my post in Campaign Headquarters for Delegates to come through again, then visited our grand opening of the Exhibit Hall at noon. Ate some yogurt, couldn’t find lunch. Didn’t want to miss the chance to speak at the caucuses, back to those for the afternoon! I think I spoke to 30 states today. Oh, and my handwritten thank you note to each state was very impressive.

• What’s on tap for tomorrow? The biggest day ever!

o Friday is our last huge day, before voting happens early Saturday morning and then closing ceremonies. Tomorrow I will be on my feet, literally, from 5am until after midnight, and it’s the day of my hugely daunting speech. I’m ready, and have even included a reference to BSMCON and our health care system, and to Dr. Jean Watson’s Theory of Human Caring! My speech is not about my “plan” for Imprint as future Editor, but actually about ensuring that “caring” is the foundation of our nursing education and future practice, not just an afterthought. The art and science of caring is the heart of nursing, and it’s how our hearts touch the everyday.

o There are 2 sections of speeches Friday, and I’m in Part One between 2:30-4:30. It goes in order of rank, from lowest to highest – Imprint Editor is last of the Part One block. There is then a break, and Part Two is the VP and Presidential speeches and debates that last until dinner. I can relax and listen. Then after eating something, we actually have our last push AFTER these speeches, from 10pm-midnight tomorrow night! This gives everyone a chance to come and talk with all of the candidates AFTER hearing our 3 minute personal statement and 5 minute response to impromptu questioning.

• Saturday? Early morning voting occurs, and only Delegates vote. This year, BSMCON is not an official constituent and does not have a voting Delegate. Next year we will! We just need 10 active NSNA members by Feb. to qualify for the first voting Delegate, then we get another Delegate for each additional 50 active members of NSNA. Some schools have 20, 30, or more Delegates! I think PA has the most state Delegates this year with 78, and that’s a lot of school support!

o I will find out at noon what the results of the elections will be, new national Board of Directors members are announced, and closing ceremonies occurs.

o If I’m elected, Sunday morning there is a mandatory working breakfast for all of us, when we’ll meet, have our first official photos, and discuss the coming months, including the summer intensive training week at NSNA headquarters in Brooklyn, NY, when I would potentially meet my staff, learn the ropes, share some enthusiasm and creativity, and exude Bon Secours Enthusiasm! 

Yes, this is a long update. I’ve been so busy and so excited, and I just can’t wait to share it all with you! Here are a few photos to give you a taste of this experience, and I really hope that I’m shining a light on some of the amazing things that NSNA can bring into our lives as students…it’s all about US! I can’t wait to see what happens next!

So tomorrow, Friday, please say a prayer for me at about 5pm, which will be when I’m on stage in mt. time giving my speech. I will keep you posted, and see you next week with the scoop! A special thank you goes out to the entire College for your loving support; Peggy, for assisting me every step of the way with the planning; Dean Bodin and Dr. Green for your support and permission to attend, as both a BSMCON representative and a national candidate; and our own SGO, for having faith in me and supporting me in this amazing campaign adventure.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,