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GNSA Bulletin - August 2021 Edition

Published August 12, 2021

Emerging Leaders

Blandine Yacinthus, BSN, RN


BS to DNP Program

Regis College


Anticipated Graduation Date:  

August 2022

My background in nursing is broad, but I have always had a strong interest in mental health. A few years ago, while working as a correctional nurse in the prison system, I realized that the behavioral population was not receiving all the help it needed, and I thought I could be one of the people advocating for them and advocating for my fellow nurses. After interviewing with a couple of advanced practice nursing schools, I chose my current program at Regis mainly because of the follow up from the advisor and the fact that the program is 100% online. 
I find the program rigorous and very formative. In my opinion, students are being well-trained to face the requirements of our ever-evolving healthcare system. I have had many opportunities to grow professionally and academically since I enrolled in the program because the school offers things such as graduate assistance positions, which not only assist students with their tuition, but also help prepare them for their future professional roles. 
Before starting the DNP program, my plan was to practice as a nurse practitioner and continue teaching (I occasionally work as an adjunct clinical faculty at a local university). But after being involved in various types of nursing studies, I now have a plan to also include some research in my professional future.



GNSA members are doing extraordinary things across the country and globally. Are you our next emerging leader? Do you excel in your graduate program, demonstrate excitement for your nursing work, and/or have potential to greatly contribute to health care? If so, submit an emerging leader nomination form today to self-nominate or nominate a fellow student. The emerging leader will be selected from the applicants and notified when they will be profiled. Help us recognize future nursing leaders!


Noteworthy Article: Increasing Racial/Ethnic Diversification of Nursing Faculty in Higher Ed is Needed Now

Roy Thompson, a PhD candidate from Duke University School of Nursing contributed to a guest editorial titled Increasing Racial/Ethnic Diversification of Nursing Faculty in Higher Ed Is Needed Now. During the article, Mr. Thompson calls on schools of nursing to "commit to implementing anti-racist and culturally appropriate recruitment and retention strategies". In addition, Mr. Thompson also offers more than a dozen strategies for schools to consider related to faculty recruitment and retention and addressing systemic discrimination. 


NAM to Host Two Twitter Chats on Actionizing Recommendations from the Future of Nursing 2020-2030 Report

On August 10, 2021, the National Academy of Medicine's Future of Nursing program will host two Twitter chats to engage nurses and hear their perspectives on actionizing recommendations from the new report: Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity. Join the conversations at 12:00-1:00 pm ET and 9:00-10:00 pm ET

Take Over the GNSA Instagram!
Are you interested in sharing details about your life as a student? Want to show how you balance your time between work, school, and home? If so, participate in the GNSA Instagram Takeover Tuesdays. Share your strategies for success with other graduate students. What is your go-to study snack? What does your desk look like? Have you recently attended a webinar and want to share your experience and thoughts? Share all this and more on #Takeover Tuesday. Fill out this form to participate


DNPs of Color Upcoming Webinar

On August 17 at 7:00 pm ET, DNPs of Color will host a webinar titled Nursing Faculty: Navigating Your First Year in Academia and Beyond. If you are interested in attending this event and learn about their other events, click here to register. 

Join the GNSA!
Take advantage of the various benefits that are free to you as a graduate student! Tell your fellow students and make sure they join today! Click here to complete the online application.

Preparing for the Academic Year Ahead

As we near the start of another school year, I am sure that there many things on your mind. On top of the stress and excitement that comes along with a new school year, we are also still in the midst of a pandemic. So, in light of these two events coinciding with one another, I have compiled some of my own thoughts and practices that may help other graduate nursing students as well.

Getting Organized (and staying sane!)

  • I like to make sure I have my calendar ready to go (I am old-school and prefer my paper and pen-based calendar) with room to write in and make note of specific dates. I put Zoom meetings, vacations, weekly reminders, due dates of assignments, and even loved one’s birthdays on this calendar.
  • If I have any long-term goals I am working towards (such as a dissertation proposal or manuscript submission), I may give myself some personal deadlines and write them in my calendar. This can help me stay on track for my personal and academic goals.
  • I also like to write down the fun/self-care items I have planned for the semester. It gives me something to look forward to when I look on my weekly to-do list and often gives me that extra boost of endurance I need to get through the difficult weeks (something fun is coming!).
  • As you progress in your program, you may be getting to a place where you are applying for jobs or other opportunities while simultaneously completing graduate program requirements. It helps me to start the semester by updating my resume/CV and having a cover letter draft. By doing this, I have most of the hard work out of the way and can quickly apply to new opportunities (should the opportunity arise) without taking too much time from my work week. Just remember to edit your cover letters before submission (i.e., changing the addressee and altering some of the language to be suitable for the opportunity you are applying for).

Staying Safe

  • Universities across the country are going to have very different responses to the COVID-19 pandemic (i.e., when masks are required, if students will go back online, etc.). I am preparing for change to occur. I am not sure what will happen, but I am trying to stay flexible. Knowing that change could occur may be helpful moving forward.
  • If your university or college of nursing implements a policy regarding the COVID-19 pandemic that you think could be problematic, speak up and use your nursing voice. We need to use our nursing voice, but we can also do so in respectful ways. At your university, identify who is the person you would contact regarding COVID policies/procedures and craft a respectful, evidence-based email or script regarding the policy you think is problematic, where you think it falls short, and what you would propose. Universities and colleges of nursing typically consider a multitude of stakeholder perspectives prior to making a decision, so do bear that in mind. It also may be a good idea to reach out to your school's graduate student senate.
  • I would encourage all graduate nursing students to get vaccinated if you are safely able to do so and follow leading heath guidelines (WHO, CDC, NIAID, etc.) to prevent COVID-19 transmission.

I hope everyone has a great start to the Fall semester!

Marissa Bartmess, BSN, RN
GNSA Leadership Council Member
University of Tennessee, Knoxville


How Do You Prepare for the Academic Year?

We all have our strategies to help get us mentally prepared for the academic year. Whether it's planning out a detailed calendar, making sure you get in some family time, or catching up on some academic reading, each of these activities helps ensure that you have a successful academic year. Share your strategies in the GNSA Connect community and engage in a dialogue to see if there are any tips you can borrow. Are there tools or resources you are excited to try (such as scheduling tools, time management apps, or even meditation apps), be sure to share those. If you have already used some tools or apps your excited to continue to use, tell us about your experience! Login to your MyAACN account and click on GNSA Connect from your GNSA dashboard. If you have questions about how to access or use this resource, contact Autumn Spriggs at


Call for Applications: 2021-2022 GNSA Digital Innovators Program


The GNSA is pleased to announce a call for applications for the second GNSA Digital Innovators Program, a member-exclusive opportunity for graduate students who are interested in becoming future nursing faculty. This program will offer participants modern approaches and creative methods to educating the future nursing workforce. This team-based program will focus on developing digital creators through a series of virtual sessions twice a month that will help build a skill set in preparation for a final digital showcase. Content will be delivered by Apple Education's leadership and learning teams.

A total of 15 student pairs (30 individuals total) will be selected for the program. To be eligible, team members must be interested in teaching, be current GNSA members, and receive a letter of support from their nursing school dean/director.  Teams will consist of two graduate students and should submit one application. As you begin forming your team, ensure that the teams include a diversity of thought, ideas, and perspectives.
Important Note: Teams interested in applying should be comfortable using Apple technology as this will help you practice the skills expanded upon during the virtual sessions and, for the duration of the program, have access to an iPad that can load the latest iPadOS and is compatible with an Apple Pencil.
Applications are due September 30, 2021. Selected teams will be notified by early November. To apply for this opportunity, click here If you have any questions, please reach out to Marta Okoniewski at
Interested in learning more about this program, join the inaugural cohort final Digital Showcase. The event will take place on August 5 @ 2:00 pm ET. If you are interested in attending, you must register here


Share Your Innovative Work and Apply for the GNSA PhD-DNP Collaboration Award!

Have you been collaborating with a PhD or DNP student on a project this year? Collaboration among students in these two programs is being celebrated and honored through the GNSA Award for PhD-DNP Collaboration Excellence. The award recognizes productive joint efforts and highlights the outstanding work underway to advance the nursing profession through an innovative and synergistic approach to translating research into practice and generating new knowledge. Winners are featured in the GNSA Bulletin and other AACN publications and receive a $2,000 award. The doctoral student team will be invited to attend AACN's Doctoral Education Conference to receive the award. The application deadline is August 28, 2021. To view last year's winners and a description of their project, click here. For more information on the eligibility criteria and application, click here

Looking for Leadership Opportunities, Become a GNSA Liaison 
Are you interested in further developing your leadership skills? Do you have an interest in building a stronger connection with the students and faculty at your school? If so, sign up to serve as a GNSA Liaison for your institution. Click here to learn more about the role and find out who the current Liaisons are. As a GNSA Liaison you will be the first to know about opportunities, scholarships, and events. We are looking forward to an exciting fall semester. If you have any questions, contact Autumn Spriggs at

Professional Development Opportunities through the Graduate Nursing Student Academy (GNSA): On the Road to Graduate Success
August 24, 2021 at 12:00 pm ET

Are you a new graduate nursing student eager to take the next step forward in your education? Going back to school can quickly get overwhelming with a mounting pile of questions and real-life concerns. Come learn more about the GNSA and its many free resources designed to help you succeed in your graduate studies, including a popular webinar series (CEs available), an online community, networking opportunities, advocacy tools, and funding announcements. Come hear success stories and learn insider tips for navigating the GNSA website, locating opportunities, and finding answers to your questions quickly.



  1. The learner will understand how to navigate the GNSA website and easily access the available resources.
  2. The learner will assess how to use the resources available for success in their graduate nursing program.
Okoniewski_1980650.jpg Spriggs(1)_1980652.jpg
Marta Okoniewski, MPA
Director of Student Engagement
Autumn Spriggs
Student Services Manager
Registration Details Available Soon!


Uniform Advantage-GNSA Scholarship

The Uniform Advantage-GNSA Scholarship supports students who are seeking a master's or doctoral degree in nursing and are members of GNSA. Applicants are asked to write an essay describing how health care has changed in the last 10 years and how they will impact its future. The next application deadline is September 30, 2021. To apply and learn more about the scholarship requirements, click here.  


Deborah E. Trautman Future Nurse Leader Scholarship

Funded by Liaison International, this program provides $3,500 in scholarship funding and a personalized enrichment experience for graduate nursing students who aspire to leadership positions in academic nursing. Two awards are available annually, and the scholarship is open to students in master's or doctoral nursing programs offered at AACN member schools affiliated with NursingCAS. To learn more about the eligibility criteria and the application process, click here. The deadline to submit an application is October 1, 2021. 

Still Time to Apply for the GNSA Advocacy Leaders

Do you want to strengthen your advocacy and policy skills? If so, apply for the GNSA Advocacy Leaders today! The group will consist of two representatives per state including Washington, DC and Puerto Rico. Each Advocacy Leader participates in quarterly conference calls with an opportunity to learn about current nursing education policy priorities and ways in which they can advocate on behalf of fellow graduate nursing students. The deadline to submit an application is Friday, August 6. To submit an application, click here

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