Well, it had to happen eventually. The expo is all packed up and has already been replaced by what looks like a convention about purchasing cards. The newly elected NSNA board members had their transition meetings in the morning, after which the lobby gradually started to fill with departing student nurses and faculty. The three interviews I had lined up for today had all bailed or reconsidered (the trick, I've decided, is to get people to agree and record on the spot rather than scheduling something for later and giving them a chance to reconsider). One of the newly elected board members clued me in to the fact that everyone was warned right off the back to "go home and clean up your facebooks the first chance you get" after the election and "be careful about what shows up in your blog". Of course, some of the people I spoke to didn't even really get what a blog was, so out of uncertainty many people declined. Fortunately, one intrepid future nursing leader gave me a couple minutes of his time in the lobby while he was waiting for his shuttle:
All the paranoia and sniping about what shows up on people's blogs and facebooks is, I think, stupid. Did y'all hear the one about the high school cheerleading coach that got fired because it came out that in years past she posed for playboy? I've read similar things in the past like being fired for a picture of you with an alcoholic beverage in your hand turned up on someone's myspace.
This crap has got to stop, seriously. Attacking someone because of something in their past is the dirtiest of dirty tricks, behavior befitting politicians maybe but not nurses and educators.
Anyway, I'm getting off-track. Check out Trauma Queen for an example of truly excellent health care blogging. Other People's Emergencies and A Day in the Life of an Ambulance Driver are also great reads.
I rescheduled my flight to arrive back in CT earlier, so I'll be waking up at 7:30AM and coming home by way of Chicago (estimated transit time 10:30-4:20).
This place feels different without thousands of people walking around with NSNA badges and tote bags. Coming here without a constituency was a little isolating at first, and it wasn't until I spoke from the floor at a resolutions hearing that people started to come up and introduce themselves. Debating at resolutions hearings was probably the most fun I've had in the past three years of attending these vacations, so I'll have to remember to do that more next time.
Midyear is in Arizona this fall, and Annual will be in Orlando FL this time next year. I think I'll go again, even though one of the major things I took away from the experience this time around is the importance of getting involved in at least two professional organizations in addition to the NSNA (which will be mostly for fun/rejuvenation/reorientation of purpose).
The ANA is an obvious first place to start, Dr. Schmidt (the ANA-appointed consultant to the NSNA) suggested I start out by getting involved at the state level and figure out what's going on there. My next three stops, I think, are going to be the Association of Rehab Nurses, the Oncology Nursing Society and the American Holistic Nurse's Association...for starters, anyway. Those represent the first three certifications I think I can get in the next two years with my current job.
Grad-school might be a game-changer, too, though. Depending on how things work out, a school that offers CNL, Family NP and DNP as well as an RN to MSN bridge program...might not be a local school. We'll have to see who offers what.
Now that the convention is over I'm anxious to get back to my facility. I'm going to come in at change of shift the day before I'm scheduled to return to work and get updated on everything that's happened since I've been away. I'm particularly excited to apply some ideas that came to me during the Holistic Nursing focus session that weren't contained specifically in the presentation but reminded me of a wide body of knowledge and reading I had done before I had even considered going to nursing school. The Rehab Nursing presentation also deepened and fleshed out my enthusiasm for the work we do.
Another great idea that I've had during this week is regarding what direction to take this blog in. I'm currently operating under an onus not to discuss day-to-day activities at work. I still feel that writing and sharing experiences about what we all learn about patient care is important, but for the time being at least I can focus on my involvement in professional organizations, since that's one area of the nursing profession that could use a lot of improvement if we're going to combat the monolithic lobbying engine of the AMA. At one of the early focus sessions one of the speakers told us the average age of a Delegate in the ANA is around 55. Now that there's a new position on the ANA board for a recent grad, now is the perfect time for younger nurses to get involved and take on projects in things like governmental relations.
The Gaylord Opryland was, when you think about it, a perfect place to have a convention of health care workers. No smoking inside, and the layout necessitates about 2-3 miles of walking per day just to get around. Who needs the fully decked-out gym?
I'm looking forward to rolling into my hometown. I have a ukulele festival and some pleasant company to look forward to.