Strategies to Support Chapter Success | Nurstoons 1 | The Image of Nursing | Nurstoons 2 | How Nursing School Changed My Life… sort of

Strategies to Support Chapter Success
Adapted from an address speech by Sharon Decker, Council of Schools 2003

I was honored to have been asked to speak to the students at the 2003 TNSA Council of Schools. I was challenged to present some strategies that support chapter success. Upon receiving this challenge, I thought about the chapters I’ve observed over the past 20+ years. As I thought about the characteristics that made them successful, I realized they were the same ones I see in my students daily. These are Commitment, Courage and Creativity, Effective Communication, Collaboration, and Celebration.

Commitment: For any TNSA chapter to be successful, commitment must be evident from the school, the dean, most of the faculty (notice I did not say all), and the students. If you talk to the members of a thriving chapter, you will discover that they have both verbal and financial support from their Dean. When the leadership within a school supports the activities of the TNSA, you will also find a tremendous support from the faculty. I have not completely figured out this correlation, but it could have something to do with the climate of the school, its vision and mission, and the evaluation process. Having faculty support is imperative to success. Not all schools are fortunate enough to have this support. So if you have been excused to attend TNSA functions such as Council of School or Convention… Please thank your faculty.

To the students: Remember, your faculty advisors are a unique breed. Many of them attend TNSA functions at their own expense. Some have little support from their peer or schools. There is no financial reward for their dedication, no reduction in teaching workload; They support you because of their commitment to the future of nursing. They support you because they truly want to see you not only succeed in your career, but become the leaders of the future.

Students, thank you for your commitment to nursing – you are our future – but be selfish with your time. Learn to say no when it’s appropriate. And… negotiate, negotiate, negotiate… but do it appropriately.

To the faculty: You are the constant force for the local chapters, the unknown hero behind the scenes. We thank you for your commitment, but I challenge you (and myself) to continue this support and to remain active in our professional organization. We must be role models, demonstrating our commitment to nursing students and peers. Sorry, you cannot think about retirement just yet; There is still work to be done.

Communicate effectively with each other. Be open, be honest, and listen. Watch out for premature judgment and expect conflict. Faculty, help the students in the process of resolution, but don’t solve the problems for them.

Communicate your successes to others – your peers, the faculty, the Dean, the university, and the community. “Blow your own horn,” so to speak. Communicating these successes, no matter how small, will provide rewards and help your chapter gain respect. Remember the school and community newspapers. Your school of nursing is looking for ways to recruit students. They love to share your good news because it makes them look good. Hang your awards where everyone can see them. Toot that horn… and then ask for money!

Collaboration: Value the individual, but remember no individual (or organization) exists in isolation. Collaborate with other schools and community organizations. We can accomplish bigger and better projects if we do not try to do everything ourselves. Develop partnerships. Stretch. Grow and enhance your influence through relationships, adding others’ competence to your own, and you will be amazed at the results. Hint: Find out what organization or project is important to influential individuals of your college or university, and volunteer support. Make yourself visible. Nominate your chapter for an award through TNSA or other community recognition, then advertise this success. And then ask for money! Compete with yourself. Set goal, achieve them (Don’t get impatient, it may take some time and energy), then set some more. Example: If your chapter assisted in defending a resolution last year, challenge yourself to write one this year!

Celebrate: Oh, you are good at this! Recognize your achievements, no matter how small. Develop a tradition. Think of yourselves as the athletes of nursing. Reward yourselves and your peers. Pride creates success. It is the greatest catalyst for getting people to discover and use their power and talents. Recognize these talents!

To the Chapter Presidents: A successful team needs an exceptional individual to lead them. I salute you. This office may sounds glamorous, but oh, the work and frustrations you will experience (but just think of all that leadership experience)! Some hints to help you succeed:

Treat your peers with dignity and respect their ideas.
Listen patiently before you make decisions.
Be available and receptive.
Encourage others and respect their differences.
Delegate whenever possible. You cannot do everything yourself!
Set an example.
Involve your board in resolving key issues.

Please, please keep your faculty advisor in the loop! Remember, we are there for you. The door is always open, and it can be closed when you need to yell, cry, or complain.

To the faculty: TNSA thanks you for your constant support, encouragement, dedication, and commitment. You are nursing’s leaders. You are mentoring the future or nursing, and therefore are helping to determine the profession’s success.

A wise leader knows the best way to ensure success is by sharing knowledge and skills with others. This multiplies his or her effectiveness by the number of individuals he or she mentors. Our future looks great from where I stand.


The Image of Nursing
By Corrie Dollar

It’s easy to say that we should all portray a positive Image of Nursing, but what exactly does that mean? What is the Image of Nursing, and how do we decide if it’s positive or not? Image of Nursing is what people perceive nursing to be; it is portrayed in television, newspapers, books, and most importantly, personal experiences. There is no better way to improve, or change a persons mind about their perception of nursing than through example.

How can you decide what is a positive image, and what images are negative? When you encounter an image, you should ask yourself three things: Would I show this to my children? What does this say to the public? And would my grandmother be offended? These questions can only be answered using your own judgment; however here are some things to think about:

Children remember things that the average adult wouldn’t think twice about. They also take things at face value. If they see a picture of a nurse, they will forever think of nurses in that manner until corrected. When choosing a Halloween costume or making a joke, how much are young children able to differentiate between the real and make-believe (hence the old T.V. dilemma?)

We want the public to know that nursing is an upstanding profession. The hospital is a safe haven to people, and we want them to continue to have confidence that we are capable to not only help them, but able to stay objective as well. Always think, “How does this affect people’s thought towards nursing?” Without the confidence of the public, there would be no need for the nursing service.

Remember that even though older adults have different view points than the younger population, everyone still looks toward them for advice. They carry a huge weight on the opinions of the population, and they are not afraid to speak their minds. So even if you may think they are too conservative, they are the opinion of the people.

The image of nursing is what people perceive nursing to be. When deciding whether the image is positive or not: use not only your best judgment, but remember the discretion of the public as well. Example is the most effective way to change a negative image or reiterate a positive image; and I want to keep nursing a proud example to other professions.


How Nursing School Changed My Life… sort of
By Danielle Collins

I remember when I realized how much nursing school had changed me. It was August 19, 2003, just before the start of my Senior 1 semester. I was in Colorado, on what must have been the zillionth hiking trip of my life, preparing to hike Mount Elbert, the highest peak in the state.

The necessary preparations for this type of outing are second nature to me. However, this time, I just couldn’t manage to get my pack under the desired weight. I went through it several times, making sure I hadn’t packed any unnecessary items. Finally, in frustration, I asked a buddy to check out my pack. A moment later, he held up my first aid kit, laughing. In addition to the typical bandages, antibiotic ointment, Benadryl, and alcohol swabs, my kit bulged with sutures, a CPR mask, lidocaine, syringes, a hemostat, an Epi-pen, all manner of gauze, a stethoscope and BP cuff, scissors… You get the idea. I could have safely performed several minor operative procedures on the mountain.

Seeing my friend’s point, I tried to thin out my kit. Unfortunately, every time I removed an item, a scenario would pop into my mind in which that particular item meant the difference between a long, satisfying life and a horrible mountaintop demise.

So, up I went, extra three pounds and all. Hours later, enjoying the view from 14,433 feet, listening to the hum of medical evacuation helicopters in the distance, I barely noticed the weight. In the end, I made it back to trailhead without using any of the items in my first aid kit… but by golly, I was prepared.


Strategies to Support Chapter Success | Nurstoons 1 | The Image of Nursing | Nurstoons 2 | How Nursing School Changed My Life… sort of


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