McMaster University

McMaster University

Faculty of
Health Sciences

McMaster nursing students host national conference

Published: February 1, 2011
Clara Chow
McMaster nursing students who formed the national conference planning committee are, from left to right, Marisa Kucha, Sarah D'Angelo, Rebecca Meehan, Michelle Lanteigne, Nicole Gabriele, Kristina Skoko, Matt Edmonds, Michael Li, Matthew Smith and Cory Fraser.

Matthew Smith only wishes he had taken the role of national conference director for the 40th annual national conference of the Canadian Nursing Students' Association (CNSA) earlier, "because it's been an absolutely wonderful experience."

The fourth-year McMaster nursing student and his 10-member conference planning committee of fellow nursing students last week ran the largest national conference ever with more than 860 nursing students at the Hamilton Convention Centre.

Angelina Kabatoff, a third-year student at the University of Saskatchewan attending her first national conference, said she found the workshops very valuable. "Getting everyone together helps our confidence to make change in our schools and careers, and reminds us that we have a voice as nurses."

Second-year University of Windsor nursing student Joshua Pfaff remarked that the conference served to "renew your spirit in nursing," and added, "It's important to enhance our educational experience and understanding of patient care, and to learn from the experts in the field.

The theme of this year's event was "Discover the Opportunities, Find Your Passion" and was meant to inspire attendees to realize their passion and uncover their potential by exploring the many opportunities available to them in an evolving nursing landscape.

Through guest speaker presentations, panel discussions and workshops, participants explored key topics like: nursing leadership development; new graduate transition; politics and health care; interprofessionalism; and the many diverse fields within nursing, such as inner-city, outpost and international.

The speech of world-renowned nursing theorist Jean Watson, who developed the caring theory, the Watson Caring Science Institute and the International Caritas Consortium, was the highlight of the conference for many. Tilda Shalof, author of the national bestseller A Nurse’s Story and The Making of a Nurse, also presented, urging the group to speak out about their work.

Judy Boychuk Duchscher discussed the ups and downs of her 32-year nursing career and how nurses must navigate their career with purpose. "It's not about being the brightest, but being the hungriest," she told the crowd, adding it is important to "embed yourself in whatever you are experiencing."

Boychuk Duchscher intimately described how the tragic death of her father inspired her decision to launch Nursing the Future, her non-profit organization that supports new graduates and their transition into the workforce.

Street nurse Cathy Crowe, who wrote Dying for a Home and is currently a part-time faculty member with the McMaster School of Nursing, described how when passion, power and politics come together, nurses can play a major role in reducing social injustice. "It's probably the most important thing I can do at this point in my career is talk to nursing students," she said.

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