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Barrier Breakers, Smile Makers, and Healthcare Innovators: NSNA 2018 Plenary Session Inspires

J&J + Nurses: Partnering with Purpose
April 17, 2018
Barrier Breakers, Smile Makers, and Healthcare Innovators: NSNA 2018 Plenary Session Inspires

This year, the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) 66th Annual Convention focused on generating excitement among nursing students about their future role in the profession, and the theme – “Nursing: Get Hooked! Insight, Inspiration and Ingenuity” – did not disappoint. During the convention’s Thursday morning plenary session, presented and sponsored by Johnson & Johnson, thousands of student nurses from around the country came together to hear from nurse leaders, and left feeling inspired about their future role as healthcare professionals in a world where nurses are empowered, recognized, and valued as change makers.  

Lynda Benton, who leads the Johnson & Johnson commitment to nursing, kicked off the session by inviting those in the audience to embody the theme and “Be a Barrier Breaker, Smile Maker, and Healthcare Innovator.” She recognized nurses as the “backbone of the healthcare industry” and sparked conversation around the many ways that nurses make a difference and ignite change beyond what is perceived as the traditional role of a nurse. The students in the room – the very future nurses who are poised to be leaders in this era of change – were empowered and excited about their chosen profession and their roles as drivers of improvement in the healthcare arena and within patient’s lives.

The session featured three nurses, who each offered a unique perspective on key nursing topics in an engaging, storytelling format. The presenters aimed to inspire today’s next generation of nurses to be innovative and go “beyond the bedside” by breaking barriers to care through widening their cultural competency lenses, addressing global health issues, and encouraging a spirit of innovation by nurses.

Jana Lauderdale, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, associate professor and assistant dean at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Office of Diversity and Inclusion in Nashville, Tenn., presented “Becoming a Culturally Competent Nurse” and discussed the importance of being flexible in the approach to care and being aware of the changing needs of all patients. Jana explained how the key to building cultural competence is sitting down with patients, listening to them, and responding to their personal stories in ways that help make their hospital experience more meaningful.

“Deep cultural connections and empathy can create better patient experiences, lead to better healthcare outcomes,” Jana told the students. “Ask yourself, as you practice nursing, where are you on the continuum of culturally competent healthcare?”

Genevieve Handy, MSN, RN, CPNP, an acute care and primary care pediatric nurse practitioner and seasoned Operation Smile volunteer from Oakland, Calif., spoke about her global health experiences and the significance of understanding the ripple effect of all actions in healthcare during her NSNA presentation on how “How Nurses are Changing the World.”

“You have to know how to take care of people from different cultures and ethnicities and religious belief systems,” said Genevieve. “Ask yourself: ‘how is what I’m doing impacting the rest of the world?’ Realize that you have a tremendous amount of power as a nurse . . . you are actually given this incredible gift to be with people during their most intimate moments. It’s access to humanity on a level that a lot of other professions, even doctors, don’t ever get.”

Rebecca Love, MSN, RN, ANP, director of nurse innovation and entrepreneurship at Northeastern University in Boston, Mass., urged students to instigate the change in conversation so that nursing is seen in a new light as she delivered an inspiring talk about “Healthcare’s Top Innovators: Nurses”.

“Nursing education and the way nurses have behaved has always been straight and narrow, and the truth is that innovation itself is a little bit edgy,” said Rebecca. “We live on the edge every single day, but to the rest of the world, it looks like we play it safe. It’s time that we redefine those boundaries and we show the world that if you want to be at the forefront of healthcare innovation and entrepreneurship, you want to be a nurse.”

Watch more highlights from the 2018 NSNA Convention plenary session hosted by Johnson & Johnson below.

Header photo: Harry Butler ©2018 NSNA

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