Lessons learned at the American Nurses Association (ANA) Conference

I was so excited to go to the ANA conference since it was being held in Phoenix Arizona and had been so cold in New York City. Unfortunately, it was 55 degrees in Arizona and I didn’t get to go to the pool but the trip was life changing. On the airplane, I got a chance to read Devon Franklin’s book “Produced by Faith”. In his book he talks about the importance of work-spirit balance not work-life balance. This concept hit home since I have been focusing on my faith. Devon Franklin explains, one should combine both work and spirituality to find true meaning and fulfillment in what we do.
My goal is to live a life well balanced in mind, body and spirit. I am committed to developing my mind by taking classes, attending conferences, reading articles and sitting for certifications to help me in my role as a nurse leader. One of the pre-conference sessions was “Learning how to brand yourself”. Nurses pour so much into their profession that they forget to themselves. This session helped us practice elevator speeches, consider publication and brainstorm on dream jobs. I met so many nurse leaders who love their jobs. They enjoy their roles because of the wonderful teams they work with and continue to challenge themselves.
During the conference I decided to go the gym. Exercise really helps me to clear my head and plan career goals. While running on the treadmill I looked over to my right and realized I was running next to a young lady I met at the ANA table. It was a perfect opportunity to network while running. A George Washington University Alumni, her and I talked about GWU and opportunities ANA provides. It was a really motivating, inspiring. She encouraged me to join more professional organizations.
In the past two years, I’ve made strides learning about my faith and using it to keep me charged with everyday tasks. I’ve had colleagues who have blended their spiritual and work life well but I found it challenging at times. By making time to attend events and studying my faith like any other class it is now part of my weekly activities. Attending the ANA conference was an opportunity to meet and learn from nurse leaders from all over the world. I made the best of this experience by saying hello and networking even while at the gym. I encourage you to attend conferences and be open to the entire experience starting on the airplane, you never know who may be sitting next to you or running on the treadmill beside you.