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GNSA Bulletin - September 2021 Edition

Published September 01, 2021

Emerging Leaders

Rebecca Koerner, MS, APRN, CPNP-PC


BS to PhD Program

University of South Florida


Anticipated Graduation Date:  

Spring 2022

I decided to pursue my PhD after working as a neonatal intensive care unit nurse, where I realized with research, I could help more than just the patients I was assigned to. I wanted to make a larger impact on the lives of mothers and their infants and research offers me that opportunity. As a bedside nurse, I had the opportunity to conduct my own research study where I got to be fully immersed in the research process and truly found my passion. During my time as a PhD student, I have worked as a graduate research and teaching assistant and have been involved in numerous leadership positions such as the President of the Doctoral Nursing Student Organization, the College Student Advisory Board, and a member of the PhD Faculty Committee. These experiences have solidified my plan to work in academia after graduation as a nurse scientist focusing on maternal/infant health, specifically oral health and its effects on the oral microbiome and adverse perinatal outcomes. I also plan to continue my leadership roles both within the university and nursing community, and hope to one day be a director of a PhD program, helping and mentoring students find their passion in nursing science. I am so honored to be an emerging nurse leader and hope to make a difference in the lives of women, children, and other nurses who are also passionate about making a difference! 



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: Nursing Is In Crisis': Staff Shortages Put Patients at Risk

New York Times reporter, Andrew Jacobs, published an article titled 'Nursing Is in Crisis': Staff Shortages Put Patients at Risk'. The article identifies the growing concern among practice leaders about having enough registered nurses available to deliver essential care. Leading authorities in academic nursing, including D. Patricia Pittman from George Washington University and Dr. Peter Buerhaus from Montana State University, weigh in on issues connected to nursing supply and demand. 

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

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.

Meet the 2021-2023 GNSA Leadership Council

Four new members were chosen for the 2021-2023 GNSA Leadership Council. These new members will join the six continuing members. This group of leaders from across the country play a critical role in GNSA program development. Selected through a competitive application process, members work hard to ensure that the professional development needs of graduate students are met. Engaging with the GNSA membership through the Bulletin and GNSA Connect Community, the Leadership Council works tirelessly to ensure that their strategic planning and programming helps develop future nursing faculty, clinical leaders, scientists, health policy leaders, and administrators.

The four new members include:
  • LT Akeeka Davis, PhD Program, Villanova University
  • Kyle Durrant, DNP Program, Johns Hopkins University
  • Denise Robertson, DNP Program, University of Alabama at Birmingham
  • Melissa Vera, PhD Program, University of Washington
These four new members will be joined by six continuing members:
  • Tamu Abreu, PhD Program, Texas Woman's University
  • Marissa Bartmess, BS to PhD Program, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • Maria Burfiend, BS to DNP Program, Rush University
  • Cassandra Dziobek, Post-Doctoral Fellowship, Dartmouth College
  • Maria McDonald, PhD Program, University of Virginia
  • Shazia Mitha, PhD Program, Columbia University
Join them in the GNSA Connect Community as they share their nursing and leadership journeys. To read more about each member, click here


Interact with the GNSA Leadership Council in the Community!

A major benefit of GNSA membership is the ability to network with students from across the country. Get started building connections today and explore the GNSA Connect Community. Meet the Leadership Council members who will be posting introductions and questions throughout the month of September. Tell the community about yourself and share your research and practice interests. Also, what attracted you to the nursing profession? Login to your MyAACN account and click on GNSA Connect from your GNSA dashboard and share your story. 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 Programa 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


Share Your Feedback and Tell Us What You Need

In an effort to continuously improve on the GNSA programming and services, we are seeking your feedback through the 2021 GNSA Evaluation Survey. Tell us what services you have benefited from and which ones don't meet your needs. Your feedback is critical to ensuring that we provide the right value to graduate students across the country. Complete the survey, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a $50 Amazon Gift Card. The survey will close on September 30. To complete the survey, click here.  

Do You Strive to be a Leader? 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

Balancing School, Work, and Life for Your First Year as a Graduate Student
October 11, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET


Participants will explore strategies to navigate their first year in graduate school, including effective ways to manage time and competing responsibilities.
What Does an Editor of a Journal Do and How Do You Write a Query Letter?
November 19, 2021 at 12:00 pm ET


Learn more about the role of a journal editor and how they interact with writers. Participants will discuss the purpose of a query letter and how to write one that will get the editor's attention. 
How to Select an Appropriate Journal for Your Publication
December 8, 2021 at 6:00 pm ET


Consider how to select a journal that best fits your manuscript and the importance of meeting author guidelines. 
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 the 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! We are looking for representatives from several states, including Delaware, Washington, DC, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming. 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. To submit an application by September 3, click here

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