Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA) Conference

This inaugural conference of the GNSA is aimed at graduate nursing students at all levels and will feature sessions focused on professional development, advanced practice nursing, leadership development, mentoring, and nursing innovation.

The inaugural Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA) Conference Seizing the Opportunity to Lead and Shape the Future of Health Care is open to graduate nursing students in master's and doctoral programs, who are members of the Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA). The first of its kind, the national GNSA conference features sessions on publishing, mentoring, nursing innovation, transition to careers in education, practice, and leadership, as well as health policy and advocacy. Come experience a variety of  enriching professional development activities and dynamic networking opportunities. As the future of the nursing profession, this conference helps students establish connections that can further their educational advancement and learn from national nursing experts.

Hotel Information

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel
265 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303
Phone: 404-521-0000

  • The room rate is $149 single/double.
  • The cutoff date for reservations at the group rate is February 1, 2018.
  • To make a hotel reservation, visit go to
  • The room block may fill before the deadline, so please make your reservation early. If/when the room block fills, AACN will post a list of alternative hotel on its website.


The Atlanta Marriott Marquis Hotel is located approximately 12 miles from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL). Taxi fare is approximately $35 from the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. For additional ground transportation options, please visit

The Atlanta Marriott Marquis offers valet and off-site parking: the valet parking fee is $35 a day; the off-site parking is $4 hourly and $20 daily.

Above rates are subject to change.

Continuing Education Credit

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Centerís (ANCC) Commission on Accreditation.

Continuing nursing education (CNE) hours will be awarded to those who attest to attendance at entire sessions and complete the electronic evaluation process after the conference. The CNE certificate will be provided online only after completion of evaluation.

Dietary and Special Needs

If you have any dietary restrictions (e.g., vegetarian, kosher, or gluten-free) or special needs, please email us prior to the event at

Contact Information

655 K Street, NW, Suite 750
Washington, DC 20001
Phone: 202-463-6930


Thursday, February 22

2:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

4:00-5:00 p.m.
Networking Session* Optional

5:00-7:00 p.m.
Reception and Poster Presentations

Friday, February 23

8:00-8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
Welcome from GNSA Leadership Council and AACN President and CEO

9:00-10:00 a.m.
Keynote Session: Defining Moral Courage and Finding Empowerment
Speaker: Alexandra Shaffer-Wubbels, BSN, RN, Clinical Nurse Educator, Burn Trauma Intensive Care Unit, University of Utah Hospital

10:00-10:30 a.m.
Coffee Break

11:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m.
Getting Published
Speaker: Patricia Morton, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, FAAN, Dean and Professor, Editor, Journal of Professional Nursing, University of Utah, College of Nursing

12:00-2:00 p.m.
Lunch (on your own)

2:00-3:00 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

Demystifying Mentoring for Educational Success
Speakers: Laura Taylor, PhD, RN, ANED, Assistant Professor, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences

Nursing Innovation and Nurses as Entrepreneurs
Speaker: Tiffany Kelley, PhD, MBA, RN, Founder & CEO, Nightingale Apps LLC, and Anna Young, Co-Founder, CEO, MakerHealth, MakerNurse

Being a Change Agent Starts Now: How Graduate Students Can Advocate for Policy
Speaker: Lauren Inouye, MPP, RN, Director of Government Affairs, American Association of Colleges of Nursing

3:00-3:30 p.m..
Coffee Break

3:30- 5:00 p.m.
Breakout Sessions

Transition into Education

Speakers: Joan Cranford, EdD, MSN, BSN, Assistant Dean in Nursing, Georgia State University; Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN, Dean and Professor, Emory University; and Linda Streit, PhD, RN, Dean and Professor, Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University

Transition into Practice
Speakers: Deanna Babb, DNP, APRN, FNP, BC, FAANP, AANP Region 8 Director; and Daniel Bell, DNP, CRNA, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, Kaiser Permanente

Transition into Leadership
Speakers: Mary Ann Fuchs, DNP, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Vice President of Patient Care and System Chief Nurse Executive, Duke University Health System, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs, Duke University School of Nursing , Sharon H. Pappas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Chief Nurse Executive, Emory Healthcare; and Ora Strickland, PhD, DSc (Hon), RN, FAAN, Dean and Professor, Florida International University

6:00 p.m..
Networking Dinners

Saturday, February 24

8:00-8:30 a.m.
Continental Breakfast

8:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m.
General Session: Interprofessional Health Assessment Simulation: Preparing for Success
Speakers: Sharon K. Lanning, DDS, Professor, Peridontics, Virginia Commonwealth University; Elizabeth Micalizzi, MBA, PMP, CCRP, Administrative Director, Center for Interprofessional Education and Collaborative Care, Virginia Commonwealth University; Jeffrey B. Petraco, MBA, BSN, RN, Research Assistant, Graduate Student, Virginia Commonwealth University; and Debbie Shockey, DNP, APRN-BC, CPNP, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University

9:30-10:00 a.m.
Networking Break

10:00 a.m.-11:30 a.m.
Closing Session: The Future of Health Care and the Impact of Nursing
Speaker: Angela Patterson, DNP, FNP-BC, NEA-BC, Chief Nurse Practitioner Officer, CVS MinuteClinic, Vice President, CVS Health

Registration Fees

(Only one discount per person, per conference can be taken.)


Early Bird
By February 9, 2018
After February 9, 2018
AACN Members $149 $249

The GNSA is open to all masterís and doctoral level students at AACN Member institutions. To join, click here

For payment related questions, please contact us at

Substitution, Cancellation, and Refund Policies

If you subsequently cannot attend this event, the following options are available:

1. You may substitute your registration to another individual within your organization. This must be done by contacting the AACN Conference Department via email at

2. If a substitution is not possible, your cancellation request must be received in writing and confirmed by AACN; otherwise, it cannot be honored. The following refund arrangements will then apply:

a. Cancellation requests received by February 9, 2018 will be refunded minus a $150 non-refundable administrative fee.
b. Cancellation requests received after February 9, 2018 will not be granted any refunds.
c. Refunds will not be given for no-shows.
d. No-show registrations with an open balance will be charged a $150 non-refundable administrative fee after the event.

Please note: Cancellations received fewer than 7 days prior to the conference start date will be reviewed and processed within two weeks after the last day of the conference.

AACN reserves the right to cancel this conference and any group activity that does not meet minimal group requirements. AACN assumes no responsibility for non-refundable airline tickets, hotel reservations, car rental, or other travel costs.

Location Information

Atlanta Marriott Marquis
265 Peachtree Center Avenue
Atlanta, GA 30303

Get directions

Continuing Education