Southern Nursing Research Society Conference, New Orleans

While in Nursing School, there are a variety of different conferences that students are able to attend, both in the state and nationally. They cover a variety of different topics – for example, the Georgia Association of Nursing Students Convention. Recently, I attended the Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS) Conference in New Orleans, LA. The theme for the conference was: Nurse Scientists as Crucial Partners to Health Delivery. I was selected to present one of the Top Student Posters at the convention, “Perceived Benefits of the HPV Vaccine by Parents who Reside in Rural Areas.” I had an absolutely great time at the conference, where I experienced and learned so much about the field of nursing research.

My initial experience of becoming interested in Nursing Research began over a year ago. One of the courses I took during the Spring semester of my Junior Year (2011) was an Honors Research course. I began working with faculty member Dr. Tami L. Thomas on her research centering on Parental Perceptions of the HPV vaccine. I chose to work with her for a variety of reasons, one of the most important being that my Grandmother passed away due to complications from cervical cancer before I was born.

Throughout the course of the past year, I worked with Dr. Thomas to conduct my own research on the Perceived Benefits of the HPV Vaccine, specifically focusing on parents in rural Georgia. Dr. Thomas not only guided me, but also genuinely supported me in all of my endeavors throughout the research program. With her help, I learned how to make scholarly posters, presentations, and conduct and analyze quantitative and qualitative research. I had never realized that Nursing Research could involve physically going out into a community in need of help, and actually finding a way to make a difference in the population.

Part of my project involved submitting my research abstract to a conference. I chose to apply to SNRS because they offer a variety of opportunities for student researchers. While the majority of the presenters were in their Doctoral Programs, I was selected as one of the few Undergraduate BSN students. I was able to present my work alongside different PhD students in a Top Student Poster section. In addition, I also participated in a panel discussion focusing on different aspects of conducting student research. Some of the other student presentation topics included: Sleep quality & stress in parents whose children have Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, Managing the healthcare needs of adolescents with Autism, and Children’s perceptions of themselves living with Cystic Fibrosis.

In addition to presenting at the conference, I attended many different sessions and events as well. During the three days of the conference, with over 700 Nurse Researchers/Scientists attending, there were a variety of posters and presentations to view. Some of the presentations that I attended had topics such as: Asthma self-management, Children’s coping behaviors with Autism, the Effects of caffeine & technology on children, Parent’s perceptions of child ICU death, and Predictors of depression in hospital nurses. I found these presentations especially interesting because of their pediatric focus. I also found the session on Clinician Health especially crucial because nurses often forsake their own health when caring for others.

Throughout the conference program, I also attended larger, group-wide events, such as the Opening Keynote with the Dean and Distinguished Professor Dr. Marion Broom from Indiana University School of Nursing. There was also a Plenary Session – SNRS Board Panel: Reference Hearing, a Student Networking Session, and the SNRS Annual Business Meeting. There were a large variety of Nursing Schools present, including Emory School of Nursing, in an Exhibition Hall where they recruited students to MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. Finally, there was a special reception for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nurse Faculty Scholars Program – which includes my mentor, Dr. Thomas, in the current 2009 cohort.

Finally, after the Conference concluded, I had some free time to go out and explore the city of New Orleans. I spent some time walking down the *famous/infamous* Bourbon Street, in addition to checking out the well-known Café du Monde and Acme Oyster House. This was the first time that I had ever been to New Orleans, and I thought the city was wonderful. I found the people to be exceptionally friendly and festive, and the building architecture absolutely beautiful.

Overall, I had an amazing time at the conference. I was incredibly impressed by all of the work that my fellow nurses and student nurses are accomplishing. In addition, attending the conference helped to solidify my interest in nursing research and desire to continue conducting research throughout my nursing career.

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