By-Laws Change | TNSA's Annual Convention| Looking back at Council of Schools | Attention All Chapter Presidents! |What is TNSA and why should I get involved? | Burnout and Nursing Students | Looking Forward Beyond Nursing School | Other


By-Laws Change: Serving in the Best Interest of Our Members
Keith A. Thierry, President, TNSA

When this proposed change was first brought to my attention, my first thought was…”why?” Why should we have the Secretary-Treasurer position on the Board of Directors be a person enrolled in nursing school for the duration of his or her office? Being the inquisitive and assertive person that I am, of course I asked. When a wise person answered, “it is for the continuity of the Board”, that was not enough for me. It had to make sense for the members and future board members. There was plenty of time to put this to thought between the board meeting and Council of Schools, during which time I came to this conclusion: if nursing school is as involved as most of us know it is, and you have to work diligently and tirelessly to accomplish the goal of graduating; when it is over, you are going to be more focused on your career than you will be on your student nurse organization. And you should! Really! You then have the NCLEX-RN to worry about, plus starting a new job that's going to require you take more tests and study even more new concepts. Your first priority in my opinion should be just that. It is time for one of your life goals to be realized. Make the most of the opportunity at hand.

I have gotten some feedback from fellow board members that there is opposition from some of our members, particularly those currently enrolled in ADN programs. The consensus seems to be a felt limitation in the capacity to serve, and needing to run for office at their first attended state convention. Let me first say that I totally understand this concern, being in an ADN program myself. However, for those students who would be entering a nursing program in the fall, whether it is an Associate Degree or Bachelor program, the only way to serve would be to run at their first convention. If this particular group of students were to wait for their second state convention, they would be ineligible to run, as a result of graduating in May. It would only be possible if they were to finish in August, which I know that some of the Bachelor and Diploma programs do. It would certainly be a more feasible option for those students that would enter nursing school in the spring semester to eventually graduate in December. This would be a great opportunity to get more pre-nursing students involved at the local, state, and national level. They are certainly invited to come to convention, state and national, which in turn could get them fired up about nursing and TNSA/NSNA. As a result, their first convention as a nursing student would not be their first convention at all. They can even serve on committees and run for positions on the board of directors other than President or Vice-President under the current system (see by-laws, article V, section II, paragraph B). We don't want to take any opportunity away from anyone to serve in this great organization. We just want the Executive Board to be a cohesive unit for the duration of the term of office, in order to serve our members in the best possible capacity, and in their best interest.

There are many other ways for TNSA member to serve on the state board of directors. There are four regional directors, the nominations and elections chair, and several committees that members can be apart of right now, as we speak. I was elected to the state presidency at my first ever convention; after being previously elected president at my local chapter in my first semester. It took some sound decision making to go forward with my goals, but it is all about what you want to do, and what you know you can do. Nursing school has not gotten any easier since I started, but it has become more tolerable. If you set your mind to accomplish any goal, you will do whatever it takes to reach that peak. I think that this bylaws change will help TNSA go forward and continue to be the most respected, well run state student nurse association in the country. I strongly encourage you to support this change and let it be a tool of motivation to get more pre-nursing students involved in TNSA, and to keep our organization at the top of its game.

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TNSA's Annual Convention: A Pre-planning Guide
By: Becky Pierce, Northern Regional Director

Why should you attend the 57 th annual TNSA Convention? It's really quite simple, because we need to know what you think. We need to know what it is that YOU think is important for nursing students in Texas to focus their time, energy, and efforts on. You see our theme this year is The Future of Nursing: It's in Our Hands and we need to know what issues YOU feel are important. YOU are the future of nursing. YOU are the professional of tomorrow and YOUR hands will be shaping our profession into what WE want it to be. This is not a time for apathy. This is definitely not a time for complacency. If we sit back and let others make the decisions for us, we may find ourselves replaced as caregivers. Does that sound farfetched to you? It is not as extreme as you think. A case in point; in one of the hospitals in which we do our clinicals, respiratory therapists provide tracheostomy care, draw arterial blood gases, and regulate the ventilators. Those tasks used to be performed only by the nurses. Now nurses perform those duties only if a respiratory therapist is not available. However, nursing students are still taught to perform those tasks, because those responsibilities are considered to be within our scope of practice, yet that particular hospital administration decided to “farm” those jobs out to respiratory therapy. Nurses MUST stand together to protect our practice. We know what we have been trained to do and we know that nurses can best provide care to our patients based on our background, education, and experience. It is our duty to advocate for ourselves as well as our patients.

This concept of advocating our own rights is often overlooked. Following graduation, a new nurse becomes engrossed in passing NCLEX and growing more proficient in his/her new position. After receiving confirmation of licensure, the new career is underway and overwhelming guilt of the sacrifices made during the school years drives the new grad to make up for lost time with family and friends. Unfortunately, nursing organizations such as TNA or ANA are seen as unnecessary not to mention expensive. The new grad doesn't have time to participate in such things. There is too much to do! There are too many important things to be done! It is this attitude that has allowed hospital administration to determine our scope of practice! This is exactly the reason we MUST develop professional habits and behaviors that will continue after graduation. We must take responsibility for our future. We must mold our nursing practice into the shape we desire. Gallup polls show that the American public rates nurses as being a profession with high or very high standards. We are loved by the public. How long will that love and trust last if we do not take care of ourselves ? It has been said that when nurses are attacked, they will circle the wagons and shoot each other! At convention, you will learn to work as a team. Each individual school comes together with its own ideals and values but we work together to benefit ALL student nurses in Texas . Our goal is not to make one school stand out, but to focus on nursing and students as a whole.

THAT is why you need to come to convention! You need to make up your mind NOW that you are going to be responsible for your career and changing the face of your profession. YOU are needed by your fellow students and future colleagues. Your voice counts. Your opinion will perhaps improve nursing care for future generations. The resolutions and bylaws that we set into place now, could impact our profession forever. Hey it could happen!

Another benefit of convention is that it is a “tunnel vision” buster. We sometimes need to have our perception broadened to help us realize that there is a bigger picture. When you see all of the schools together in the House of Delegates, you get a sense of the big picture. Convention allows us to interact with other students who are tired, stressed, and running on brain overload. The camaraderie is started on that level, and then we discover other commonalities. Before long, we realize that we are members of an organization with singleness of mind. We laugh, commiserate, cry, debate, and make friendships that will last a lifetime. It is so comforting to know that there are others who are just as miserable in school as I am, and others who are just as passionate about the future of nursing!

There will be a Council of School Presidents' meeting and a luncheon for the school presidents to allow each chapter's president the opportunity to network with each other.

We will have to elect officers for the coming year. We have an opportunity to meet the candidates, one on one. We will have an opportunity to hear them speak before the House of Delegates. As a member of the Board of Directors, I can tell you this process is exciting, nerve racking, and educational. I had never done anything like this before. I had wanted to run for student council in high school but was just too shy and had no self confidence. (I no longer have problems with those issues.) I am so glad that I ran for office. I have been given opportunities to speak, to let MY voice be heard, and I have learned far more than I ever could have if I had just sat on the sidelines; not getting involved. If you are considering it, examine your motives, evaluate the amount of time you will be able to offer, and go for it! I have absolutely no regrets. I recommend that everyone run for office. Whether you win the election or not, you win because the process of running is a wonderful chance to grow professionally.

Some of the other activities at convention include an opening night party. We will have a DJ to provide the music and there will be food, of course. The theme is “A Night in Paradise ”. It is a little more fun for you to come in costume (tasteful luau attire) if you wish. This party gives us an opportunity to relieve the stress of school and just have a good time. Please remember TNSA's strict no alcohol policy. The policy in its entirety can be found in the Chapter Information Guide. A career walk and exhibitors fair will open on Friday. This is an occasion to see what opportunities are available for new grads. Another of the many highlights takes place on Friday night at the Foundation awards ceremony. Outstanding students, faculty, programs, and schools are recognized. The grand total for our service project will be announced and our dear president Keith Thierry will be dressing in drag. (If we meet our $15,000 goal) The community service project, for the second year, is “Guide Dogs of Texas”. For a schedule of events, please refer to your chapter guide or the TNSA website www.tnsa.org . I will be in Houston , TX February 22 through February 26, 2005 for the annual TNSA convention. I don't want to miss one minute of this meeting! I'm ready to go now!

There are a few other details that you need to further assist you in your decision to attend. How much is this going to cost? Who is going to pay for this? Below is a brief list of costs. Your chapter will need to decide whether to fully or partially fund your students. For further information you may consult your chapter guide or the TNSA website. Please note that the convention pre-registration deadline is February 6, 2005 . The hotel reservation deadline is February 9, 2005 .

MAXIMUM

  Convention registration $ 60.00 (member*)
  Lodging 4 nights (single occup.) $ 408.00
  Food (some meals are included) $ 40.00
  TOTAL $ 508.00 PER PERSON

*Non member and on site registration prices are different

 

MINIMUM

  Convention Registration $ 60.00
  Lodging 4 nights (quad occup) $ 120.00
  Food (some meals are included) $ 40.00
  TOTAL $ 220.00 PER PERSON

Travel Expenses (dependent on individual circumstances and distance: drive vs. fly)

(Please keep the NSNA annual convention in Salt Lake City , UT in mind when setting aside funds for conventions. For further information and costs, please refer to the September issue of NSNA's Imprint magazine or www.nsna.org )

 

I hope to see each one of you in Houston . It is going to be an occasion we will never forget! We are going to pass resolutions, vote in or vote down changes in bylaws, debate our principles, voice our opinions, make new friends, renew old acquaintances, learn parliamentary procedure, peruse our post graduation job opportunities, and knowing that perception is reality we are going to realize that the future of nursing is in our hands! I offer my two hands; how many will you offer?

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Looking back at Council of Schools
By Natalie Rose, NEC Chair

Council of Schools was a great success. With over 250 attendees, the weather forecast didn't deter too many. We enjoyed two balmy days on the Seawall in Galveston , TX . The conference was held at Moody Gardens Hotel. Surrounded by lush greenery, the hotel features three monstrous pyramids filled with exotic plants and animals.

We arrived Friday afternoon for registration and check-in. That evening we had the privilege of hearing Dr. Lynn Wieck at our opening night dinner. Her keynote address was both challenging and inspiring. Her ideas challenged me personally to become more active in political processes involving healthcare. One of her points that really caught my attention was this: “Not voting is your choice, but that is choosing to let someone else decide for you.” She also inspired me to become the best nurse I can possibly be . . . the kind of nurse who makes a difference in the world.

After the official session ended many attendees enjoyed the live band in the pool area or went to check out the night life in other parts of Galveston . With a huge motorcycle rally in town, there was no shortage of parties and attractions.

After a brief rain on Saturday morning, we began the day with the Regional Directors' Breakout Sessions. These were very valuable sessions for the directors and chapter members to get to know each other better. Following the Regional Sessions, we held a General Session. The highlight of this session was the regional directors challenging each other regarding the state fundraising project. The challenge was opened by the eastern region and each region raised the challenge for the next region. The final challenge is this: If we raise $15,000, then President Keith Thierry will dress in drag and the winning region will “crown” him and choose the color of his dress. If we raise $20,000, Keith has promised to shave his beard, for his drag appearance! The session ended with lots of excitement, as each region sets out to meet the challenge.

Following the general session, we enjoyed several focus sessions including, “Breakthrough to Nursing”, “Image of Nursing”, “Stress and Time Management,” “Test-taking Strategies,” and “Politics in Nursing.” The highlight of these sessions was the “Guide Dogs of Texas” sessions, where the manager, the chief trainer, a guide dog recipient and his guide dog were featured. The other sessions were also very informative, and we ended the sessions full of enthusiasm, information and new ideas to take back to our local chapters.

Some chapters' representatives left Saturday evening while others stayed over to enjoy the island that evening, traveling home on Sunday.

Council of Schools was a great success and the setting was spectacular. If you missed it, I hope you won't next time. See you at the state convention in February. Oh! We are considering holding a convention at Moody Garden in Galveston some time in the future; so don't feel too left out.

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Attention All Chapter Presidents!
By Natalie Rose, NEC Chair

Have you ever wondered . . .

•  What are the rules in the House of Delegates?

•  Who makes the rules?

•  Who has to follow them?

•  What in the world is parliamentary procedure?

To answer your questions . . .

At our annual convention, there will be a meeting regarding parliamentary procedure. All chapter presidents are encouraged to attend. The meeting will certainly make a huge difference in your understanding of parliamentary procedure. It will be indispensable for you as you lead your chapter. The Board of Directors will be presenting parliamentary procedure in an entertaining skit format. You don't want to miss this! It will be Wednesday night from 8-9pm . We hope to see you there!

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What is TNSA and why should I get involved?
By Sandy Delgado, Western Regional Director

Texas Nursing Student Association is a student nursing association dedicated to promoting professionalism and leadership for today's students. This organization represents over 3,000 student nurses from across the state who are preparing for initial licensure as registered nurses. Involvement in TNSA also prepares students for involvement in professional associations and leadership positions in healthcare agencies upon graduation. The mission of TNSA is to provide the highest education for student nurses while aiding in the development of the whole person; to have direct input into the standards of nursing education; to influence the educational process and to model a high level of integrity among students in their dealings with people as they strive for excellence in everything they do, as it is an expectation and not a goal.

Who is in charge of TNSA? The voting body of TNSA is the House of Delegates, composed of nursing students representing different schools across the state of Texas . The House of Delegates meets once a year at the state convention. This year our state convention will be held at the Houston Omni Westside Hotel- Houston, TX on February 22-26, 2005 . Also during the state convention, there are numerous educational opportunities. The state convention provides the opportunity to meet with other schools and share information about programs, projects, and fundraising; to help other chapters with ideas and to increase cohesiveness within our state. The board of directors will be elected at this time and serve as the board of directors for the upcoming year. During state convention scholarships are also awarded; and members, who have contributed to leadership development and advancement of nursing students, are recognized during the award ceremony.

TNSA is a great opportunity to get involved in your local community. Local chapters contribute to community health activities, legislation activities, conventions, campus activities, educational programs, and other shared-governance leadership opportunities. As well as making a difference in your community by being involved, you will also contribute to yourself by gaining integrity and commitment. As a nursing student it is your duty to promote health, and being involved in your community presents a positive image of nursing.

TNSA allows student nurses the ability to make professional contacts and the opportunity to network with people who can impact their profession and give them access to new opportunities, friends, jobs, and information. TNSA promotes health, community service activities, aids in development of the whole person, prepares students to be leaders, and promotes professionalism. Overall, TNSA will prepare you for your career. So the question to ask is, why not join TNSA?

If your school does not have a chapter established or you have questions pertaining to this article please contact me at sandy.delgado@ttuhsc.edu .

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Burnout and Nursing Students
By Reb Self, TNSA Editor

Many nurses suffer burnout due to long shifts and heavy patient loads brought about by the nursing shortage. It is less well known that many nursing students, too, suffer from burnout.

Nursing school is one of the most stressful and intense educational experiences around; so most students, nurses, and instructors agree. Semesters of long lectures, difficult subject matter, cramming for tests, days and nights of clinical preparation and clinical experiences can leave student nurses exhausted. All of this doesn't mention any personal or family stressors, which every person has. Pushing themselves to perform even while exhausted, students may eventually suffer burnout. Burnout maybe more frequent in two year programs, because these students are frequently nontraditional, with more family responsibilities, as well as having to be prepared to pass their state board exams in half the number of semesters as a four year program. BSN programs are also very intense and stress packed, however.

One major problem with burnout is that often the person suffering the condition may not be aware of the symptoms, or if he/she is aware he/she maybe so numbed from the condition that he/she fails to recognize the symptoms in his or her self. Stress sufferers also often fail to realize that they are near breaking from the stresses that they are carrying, until they actually become unable to function. In the nursing program that I attend, burnout is not the subject of any lecture until the final semester, though much is mentioned about coping with stress. Burnout is addressed only to teach students to be able, as nurse managers, to recognize these conditions in other staff, nurses, and patients.

Burnout is frequently thought of as something that a professional suffers after years of repetitive tasks, but burnout needn't take years to develop. It may develop in mere months with overwhelming stress. High achievers and perfectionistic students are far more likely to suffer this malady than are average students. Often high achievers do not know how to cope with not making exceptional grades so these students drive themselves beyond their human limitations trying to perform at the top of the class. Add to this the need to hold a job, take care of children, a home, and a spouse, (or whatever other stressors are in a life), and you have a recipe for burnout.

Are you suffering burnout? Would you realize it, if you were? What can you do about it? How does one learn to recognize their danger signs? As a recent sufferer of this common condition, I would like to share a bit about my experiences, so that you hopefully will avoid the pitfalls that could land you in this condition.

I wasn't sure what was wrong. I started the semester without being really prepared; content, I thought, to drift through this last semester of nursing school. I had been through a lot of personal stresses and had decided that a 4.0 GPA was not necessary this time out. I would just get B's and get finished. Then the first and second chapter tests came and I made failing grades. Never had I been so distraught over school. I just couldn't seem to stay focused on the subject matter. I was procrastinating about assignments. It seemed as if all that I put into my mind just drained out. I felt as though my mind was a sieve which wouldn't retain anything. I forgot times and dates for meetings and assignment deadlines. I was afraid I wouldn't get all the outside work finished by semester end. I felt overwhelmed by the least little things. I felt that I needed help with everything, but there seemed to be no one who understood. I was one of the students who helped others, not one who needed help. I asked my instructors what I could do. They made suggestions like attending the student service center for test preparation and time management assistance. I had already done these things. I knew how to study and how to read and focus, but my mind didn't seem to be under my control. I became disorganized. I had a huge argument with myself every time I had to attend clinicals. I would tell myself that I could handle it, I could go. Then I would argue that I wasn't prepared, that I couldn't get myself together, and that I was stressed beyond belief. I would finally go, and I managed to stumble through several weeks of classes and clinicals. I was not performing up to my normal standards, and this bothered me greatly. I gave up and decided to drop the advanced med surg course and its clinical component. I made an appointment with a counselor. I also made an appointment with my family doctor.

After weeks on antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications as well as weekly counseling sessions, I began to feel like myself again. I managed to complete the less stressful courses for the semester. I was slated to graduate in December, but this is now postponed until May. I am still very concerned about the stress of this coming semester. Will my mind function normally, or will I again find myself unable to focus? Only time will tell. I will continue with the counseling and meds through the semester.

I do not share this to gain sympathy. I neither need nor want that kind of attention. I merely want you to avoid the pitfalls of burnout. Do a quick self check, and ask a friend to tell you if you are appearing to begin to falter.

The signs and symptoms of burnout include but are not limited to:

Increase or decrease in appetite
Gastrointestinal disturbances
Headaches
Fatigue
Exhaustion
Lightheadedness
Changes in sleep patterns
Mood swings (anger)
Low self esteem
Memory disturbances
Impaired judgment
Cravings for sweet and/or salty foods


Self care strategies include:

Taking time off on a regular basis
Maintaining proper diet and exercise
Relaxation techniques
Keeping work and personal life separate
Lowering your expectations of self and others
Acknowledging your own limitations
Realizing that you are not the only one who can do the job
Learning to say “No” to those extras that rob you of time and energy
Laughing more and socializing with people you enjoy
Remembering why you want to be a nurse

(Many of these suggestions were taken from a presentation by Nicole Coston, a recent graduate of the South Plains School of Nursing)

Burnout is real and it is scary. It can affect anyone. Be kind to yourself and others. Rest and relax. Laugh at every opportunity. Cut yourself some slack. Take care of yourself.

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Looking Forward Beyond Nursing School
Texas Peer Assistance Program for Nurses (TPAPN)

Jessica Wright, Southern Regional Director

What in the world is TPAPN?

How does someone become involved with TPAPN?

How can I help other nurses through their recovery?

For further information regarding TPAPN please refer to the website:
www.texasnurses.org

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NSNA Convention Date Approaching!!!

While finalizing plans to attend state convention, in Houston , Texas , February 23-26 2005 , remember National Convention is in Salt Lake City , Utah , April 6-10, 2005 . Reserve chapter funds to be able to attend, and don't forget to make your reservations. Details are available at www.nsna.org . There are also national offices, contests and awards up for grabs. Enter now. Deadlines are listed on page 191 of your Chapter Information Guide.


Hurry, Hurry, Hurry!!! Entry Deadlines Are Upon Us!!!

State Convention marks many activities. One of the most rewarding is the Awards Banquet. It has been overheard that some members were upset that one or two chapters received a majority of the awards last year. The way to remedy this is for more chapters to apply for awards. The simple fact is, if you don't apply you can't win. Some chapters apply for every award. Theirs' are sometimes the only application. Hence they win by default. This is written not in anyway to denigrate these conscientious chapter's efforts, entries, and projects. If your chapter enters and these recently awarded chapters enter, the competition will be based solely on the entry, project, and effort, not upon who was the most recent winner. Why not give the competition some added zest. Make it hard for the Board to decide the winners. Give each contest an entry from your chapter. Don't disparage your chapter's efforts. Maybe the project wasn't the absolute success you had envisioned, enter it anyway. Who knows, yours may be the best entrant.Deadlines for entries are as listed below and on the entry forms in the Chapter Guide pages 65-77,109,113-133,134-140, 141-143,145-171:

Don't overlook the chance to file as a candidate for a state office now. This way you can hit the floor running with campaign slogans and strategies all set the first day of convention.

Mail those entries now before the rush of school gets in the way!!!


By-Laws Change | TNSA's Annual Convention| Looking back at Council of Schools | Attention All Chapter Presidents! |What is TNSA and why should I get involved? | Burnout and Nursing Students | Looking Forward Beyond Nursing School | Other

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