I found the American Association for Men in Nursing (AAMN) national conference to be a very encouraging experience because of the atmosphere and passion that was shown by the speakers and board members of the conference. While in Atlanta, we listened to a multitude of speakers of different backgrounds, experiences, and roles in nursing that I found to be very educational and inspiring. This experience shed a new light to me on what it is going to be like in the nursing profession, along with great advice on how to advance and different avenues that could be taken in such that otherwise would probably not be covered in the normal classroom environment.
[Pictured: RCoN students having dinner with AAMN leaders. Left to right – Steven Colling, student; Spencer Schoonmaker, student; Thad Wilson, RCoN, President; Sheldon Fields, Penn State University, Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion; Blake Smith, President; Michael Ward, Vice President; Brent MacWilliams, Board Member; and Edward Hollaran, Board and founding Member]
I learned many great things during my time there, but the most prominent in my mind was how to be a good leader in the workplace, whether you are at the bedside or in a position of leadership, and what kind of things it takes to build a successful and efficient culture and work environment. We had the amazing opportunity to talk to these speakers in small groups to soak in the knowledge of their many years in the career that we are just beginning. This is something that I did not take for granted and hope to use the knowledge obtained to my advantage both in the near future and later in my career.
[Pictured Left to Right: Spencer Schoonmaker, RCoN student and KC chapter Men in Nursing PR Director; Laurie Benson, Executive Director of Nurses on Boards Coalition; Steven Colling, RCoN student and KC chapter Men in Nursing President]
Another beneficial aspect to this convention was the use of exhibitors that were present at the convention that were sharing information and continued education in nursing. These exhibitors were very helpful and willing to give information about the programs they offer such as CRNA, nurse practitioner, and even doctorate programs which I found very helpful to think about future opportunities.
Overall, Atlanta and the AAMN conference was a golden opportunity to learn more about the noble profession of nursing and the time to share the passion of helping communities through our work. I want to thank Research College of Nursing for funding our trip, and am excited to see what future opportunities arise through this program!