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CU Nursing students Erin Newton and Joanne Leibowitz

Summary of NSNA 2024 Convention

Despite tornado warnings, grounded planes, and many delays, Erin Newton and Joanne Leibowitz, CU nursing students, were able to represent the University of Colorado College of Nursing at the National Student Nursing Association (NSNA) 2024 Convention in Orlando, Florida (April 3-7, 2024). In attendance were over 2,000 attendees from across the United States who engaged in presentations and workshops in specialized areas of the nursing field. The convention opened with a plenary session of three nurse innovators changing healthcare with evidence-based practice. Roxana Chicas improved working conditions and reduced the mortality of migrant field workers by ensuring they each had a cooling band and three liters of electrolyte-infused water. Abby Hess earned a $100,000 grant to develop a game for children to practice “blowing ants off a log”, helping reduce anxiety and improve surgical outcomes while having to use masks when going under anesthesia. Two other nurses, Taofiki Gafar-Schaner and Joey Ferry teamed up to develop improved seizure pads, which are now used in over 83 hospitals.


CU Nursing students Erin Newton and Joanne Leibowitz present their poster “DAWN Clinic: Improving Health Outcomes through Connecting Student Run Clinics with Food Access Resources".

Focus sessions included topics such as exploring resources on nursing regulation and tips on how to protect your license and patient safety presented by Nancy Spector, Director of Nursing Education for NCSBN. The most popular sessions may have been the Lippencott NCLEX mini-reviews every morning. Demonstrations with new technologies such as Bluetooth-enabled Littman stethoscopes and advanced Simulation technology, CPR training and competitions, and a poster session.

On the NSNA Uniform Day, Erin Newton and Joanne Leibowitz proudly donned their CU Anschutz Nursing scrubs and presented a poster titled, “DAWN Clinic: Improving Health Outcomes through Connecting Student Run Clinics with Food Access Resources” and were able to network with other student researchers.

Professionalism, career opportunities, diversity, equity, inclusion, and self-care were strong themes throughout the convention. Focus sessions on specialized areas such as nephrology, seizure first aid certification training, Narcan training, epilepsy awareness training, certified wound and osteotomy care, neurological assessment, and pharmacology study tips were offered. Additional sessions on pediatrics, nursing science in human milk and lactation, flight nursing emergency services, and becoming an army nurse were well attended.

In the Plenary Session, “Beyond the Bedside: Your Role in Impacting Global Health” Sigma’s Liaison and Youth Representative to the United Nations, Mercy Mumba, encouraged international collaboration and advocacy in healthcare. She referenced the well-known mantra, “If you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu”, as a call to action for nurses, who make up the largest group in healthcare worldwide but often are not part of the policy and procedure decision making that affects them and their patients. Mumba said nurses do a lot of the work and seldom get the recognition deserved, particularly when looking at pay equity, shift work disorders, and staffing challenges.

The convention included an NSNA Fairytale Ball at the opening ceremony, an NSNA Nursing Tournament for Patient Safety, a live auction, an Exhibit Hall, a Career Compass Corner, and materials for NCLEX preparation were available along with representatives from nursing specialty education programs across the country. Delegates voted on important NSNA advocacy issues, elected the new leadership team, and attendees participated in a Fun Run around the Coronado Springs Resort Lake to raise money for the FNSNA undergraduate scholarship program and to promote health and wellness in the nursing community. Walkers and runners who did the 5K run or 1K walk finished to quite an enthusiastic nursing cheering squad. At the awards ceremony, Erin Newton, CU Student Nursing Association President and Colorado State Legislative Education Director, was honored with the Future Nurse Leader Scholarship from the Foundation of the National Student Nursing Association.


CU Nursing student and Student Nursing Association President Erin Newton practices her CPR skills.

The closing ceremony featured Dr. Sheldon D. Fields, President of the National Black Nurses Association and Research Professor and inaugural associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion at Penn State University. Dr. Fields highlighted the importance of pursuing intentional goals, networking to learn more about specialty fields, participating in professional organizations, and reaching out to mentors, like his grandmother who, as a nurse herself, encouraged him to become one of the first Black male nurses who subsequently furthered research during the AIDS epidemic and also became the first black male nurse to be accepted to the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellows Program. Dr. Fields encouraged honoring all who served, including Black healer Mary Seacole, who risked her life, along with Florence Nightingale, in the Crimean War, but Mary is rarely recognized. He encouraged us, as we recognize the legendary healthcare providers who have made a difference, to remember her name too.

Erin Newton and Joanne Leibowitz would like to thank CU Anschutz Nursing including Dean Eli Provencio-Vasquez and Marketing Director Dana Brandorff for supporting this endeavor, and the State chapter of the Student Nursing Association including CSNA State Advisor Lori Rae Hamilton of Trinidad State for sponsoring their participation in this pivotal educational experience.



Topics: Students