This post is written by guest writers, and 1st year MEPNs, Kelsey Marckstadt and Melissa Hollister.
Students stocking up on swag and information pamphlets while conversing with current members of local organizations.
On Tuesday April 24th, the MEPN mentorship team arranged for a panel of professional nursing organizations to speak to current first year MEPN students. We had local representatives from AACN (American Association of Critical Care Nurses), ENA (Emergency Nurses Association), AHNA (American Holistic Nurses Association), ONS (Oncology Nurses Society), and NANN (National Association of Neonatal Nurses) come speak to a group of about 40 students who are eager to become more active in nursing fields we are passionate about. Discussion revolved around different ways students can start getting involved with these nursing organizations, including attending local meetings, professional conferences, and volunteer events within our community. It was nice to learn that while these are all national organizations, local chapters allow members to connect on a more personal level, with events such as monthly dinners that host guest speakers and continuing education events!
Some of the benefits offered to students when signing up for one of these organizations are discounted (or sometimes free!) student membership, monthly journals, scholarship opportunities, great networking opportunities, and potentially even shadowing experiences.
The evening started off with students collecting swag and pamphlets from each organization, continued with presentations from each organization, and concluded with a Q & A session, group photos, and individual conversations that spurred further enthusiasm to become members. Representatives from each organization expressed how important it is to become involved in something we are passionate about now, in order to help ourselves later on down the road. Not to worry if you are unsure which organization to join right now, all of the monthly meetings are free and are always open for students to attend!
Our takeaway from the event would be to go to a few different meetings to really get a feel for your best fit. One of the second year MEPN mentorship students hosting the event, Evan Gum, shared with us that these meetings helped him narrow down his decisions and find his passion for the AACN. Along the way he learned a ton about the field and found several mentors to reach out to as he begins his career. You can also volunteer for an upcoming event put on by one of the organizations to see if you enjoy working with the people you meet.
Each presenter had an individualized path that led them to where they are now and it was comforting to hear how many avenues one can travel down while heading towards the end goal of their dream job. It was reassuring when they told us how many different routes there are to get the job you want. It has been a struggle to know exactly which area of nursing we want to go in to once we graduate, but having these opportunities to attend meetings and volunteer alongside current nurses has helped narrow it down. Overall, the panel was a success and we look forward to other events like this for future MEPN students.
MEPN students and board members of professional nursing organizations pose for an end of the evening photo.