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Get Involved: Become Inspired Today to Make a Difference Tomorrow

October 9, 2013

When I stepped onto the stage to sing the Star Spangled Banner at the National Student Nurses’ Association’s 61st Annual Convention Opening Ceremony last year, I never could have guessed where that performance would take me just five months later. On September 18, I was reunited with my duet partner Bianca Green to sing in front of hundreds of emergency nurses from across the world. 

It really all started when I went to my first Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP) Annual Convention in November 2011.  I was surrounded by hundreds of student nurses – some new, some seasoned – who had this contagious desire to make a difference in the nursing profession even as a student.  I assume I caught the “leadership bug” because I left the conference inspired to harness my true potential as a student and future nurse.  My mentors Professor Alecia Fox and 2010-2012 Drexel SNAP President Stephanie Glatts supported me and reassured me that I was ready to take advantage of the chance to run for a Director position on the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Board of Directors.  At the NSNA 60th Annual Convention, held in Pittsburgh in April 2012, I was successful in my campaign and was elected as Director East for the 2012-2013 NSNA Board of Directors. Through that experience, a fellow board member, Bianca Green, and I were granted the opportunity to sing the Star Spangled Banner at our 61st Annual Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Little did I know, the president of the Emergency Nurses’ Association (ENA), Ms. JoAnn Lazarus, was sitting front and center among the 3,000 conference attendees and was impressed by the rendition we performed that evening.  A week later, I received an email inviting Bianca and me to sing the National Anthem at the 2013 ENA General Assembly and to attend the Annual Conference. We had the amazing opportunity to network with exemplary nursing professionals and learn about the many facets of emergency nursing.  

I am extremely blessed for the opportunities that I have been granted to me throughout my college career so far.  My experiences have taught me the importance of leadership and mentorship; that becoming a part of something that is bigger than me is endlessly gratifying.  But most of all, it has taught me the essentiality of “paying it forward” and influencing my fellow classmates to get involved and become inspired today in order to make a difference tomorrow. 

As students, whether you want to become a nurse, a physical therapist, or a teacher, we have the power to make a difference and promote change in our world.  Mark Twain once said, “Don’t let school interfere with your education,” and how I interpret that today is to not let that anatomy lecture, research paper, or math test be the end of the learning process. We all have the potential to do something greater. In this day and age, it is important to expand our minds beyond the four walls of a classroom or the text on a PowerPoint presentation.

I have learned from attending the Emergency Nurses Association’s 2013 Annual Conference (in addition to other nursing conferences) that engaging in organizational activities, becoming passionately involved in a community initiative, or whatever your interest may be, can positively impact your abilities as a student and as a future professional.  Not only do you have the opportunity to network with those role models you aspire to emulate one day; you also learn the meaning of professionalism and develop both integrity and character, which I think are the building blocks of success. Author Paul Coelho’s book, The Alchemist, reads, “When we love, we always strive to become better than we are.  When we strive to become better than we are, everything around us becomes better too.”  I challenge you to get yourself out there; harness your true passion, potential and purpose as a student and future professional because we have the power to make “everything around us…better too” (Coelho, 1993).      

by Rebecca A. Walker, BSN Co-op ‘15


Coelho, P.  (1993).  The Alchemist.  New York, NY:  Harper Collins.