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GNSA Bulletin - February 2022 Edition

Published February 02, 2022

Emerging Leaders

Inga Antonsdottir, BSN, RN


DNP/PhD Program

Johns Hopkins University


Anticipated Graduation Date: August 2023


Research Assistant in the Memory and Aging Services Innovation Center


My goal upon enrolling in a dual degree program (DNP/PhD) was to intertwine my scientific curiosity with advanced clinical practice. When presented the opportunity to combine and cultivate my interests at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing in their unique dual degree program, I did not hesitate to say yes. Simultaneously working towards a DNP and a PhD is no walk in the park, but with the incredible mentorship, experiences, and opportunities JHU SON provides, I have grown tremendously. In this program I am learning to provide seamless care, conduct cutting-edge research, and disseminate meaningful findings to my patients and colleagues. I am halfway through my fourth year of the DNP/PhD program working towards both my Adult-Gerontological Primary Care Nurse Practitioner degree and on a dissertation involving actigraphic measurement of sleep and circadian rhythms in persons living with Alzheimer’s disease and their care partners.  


My long-term goal of becoming a clinician-scientist in the field of Alzheimer’s disease research has always fueled my decisions. Upon completion of my program, I hope to lead clinical research trials to develop new treatments. Maintaining a clinical position as an advanced practice nurse will allow me to interact with my patients, their care partners, and ensure their thoughts and ideas on what matters most to them are heard and used to facilitate relevance for the research I conduct. As I look toward graduation in a little over one year, I hope to obtain a post-doctoral position that will allow me to further strengthen my research and clinical skillsets and an eventual faculty position to share my passion for Alzheimer’s research with students as we train the next generation of clinician-scientists.  



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 Research: 

On January 25, 2022, the National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing (which includes AACN as a member) released findings from a national survey of over 5,600 nurses showing that racism is a substantial problem for the profession. Fully, 63% of surveyed nurses have experienced racism in the workplace with the transgressors being either a peer (66%), a patient (63%), or a manager/supervisor (60%). Further, 57% of nurses have challenged racism in work settings, but more than half said their efforts resulted in no change. The Commission urges all nurses to confront individual and systemic racism while seeking greater understanding of racism’s impact on the profession, patients, and colleagues. The Commission is seeking public comments on The 2022 National Commission to Address Racism in Nursing Foundational Report by February 14, 2022.

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.

A Mental Health Check-In


It is hard to believe that we are already in February 2022. If you are anything like me, the beginning of the New Year is often filled with hope and expectation for accomplishing goals and improving overall health. As I spoke with several colleagues, friends, and family members at the start of 2022, however, I quickly realized that this year has been challenging for many people. Some have continued the tradition of naming and writing down goals, but for many, the New Year was met with continued mental, emotional, and physical fatigue due to ongoing stressors. As nurses and students, we have continued to work hard throughout the course of the pandemic despite difficult situations and even traumatic experiences. The experience of many daily compounding stressors can make it even more challenging to set new goals or to accomplish the goals that were previously determined. This year, let’s consider one important goal in which we acknowledge the needs of our own mental health. One way to do this is to regularly ask yourself mental health check-in questions such as the following:

  1. How am I feeling both mentally and physically today?
  2. Have I provided my body with its basic needs (food, exercise, sleep)?
  3. Are there specific things that are taking up most of my headspace?
  4. Are there things in my life that are negative and should be cut out?
  5. What have I done lately that I enjoy?
  6. What inspires me?
  7. What have I been grateful for lately?
  8. Who do I have in my corner for support?

Brief mental health check-in questions can be a great way to assess how we are really feeling and acknowledge this critical aspect of wellbeing. In addition to thinking through these questions, I have found it helpful to write down my answers and discuss them with a trusted friend, family member, or counselor. What other check-in questions or mental health strategies have you considered for this year? Join us in the GNSA Connect community for further discussion!  

Maria McDonald, MSN, FNP
GNSA Leadership Council Member
University of Virginia


How Do You Cope with Mental Health Challenges? 

Howareyoureallyresize_2128222.jpgAs graduate students, you have multiple competing interests from school to work to family life. The pandemic has highlighted significant work stressors for many in the nursing profession. Learning to cope with various mental health challenges can be a beneficial skill. Maria has shared her check-in questions above to help develop an internal assessment. What other strategies do you use? Is there a mental health practice that you have found to be successful? Share and reflect with the GNSA Connect community by logging in to your MyAACN account and clicking on GNSA Connect from your GNSA dashboard. If you have questions about how to access or use this resource, contact Autumn Spriggs at

Meet the Newest GNSA Liaisons

Serve as a Student Leader and Become a GNSA Liaison! 
Is your institution represented by a GNSA Liaison? You can explore the list of current Liaisons here. If you are looking to grow as a leader and network with graduate nursing students across the country, then this is the opportunity for you. You will serve as the primary point of contact and connect your fellow students with GNSA resources that may be of interest to them. Sign up to serve as a GNSA Liaison for your institution today! As a GNSA Liaison you will be among the first to know about opportunities, scholarships, and events. Click here to learn more about the role. If you have any questions, contact Autumn Spriggs at

Reflections on Black History Month
Guest Editorial from Patrice Little, DNP, FNP-BC
Founder & CEO, NP Student Magazine

Less than two years ago, the nursing profession was challenged to revisit its constructs that influenced how we approached the education of Black student nurses, the promotion of Black nurse leaders, and the care for Black patients. 


What did we learn?

  1. There was a lack of appreciation for contributions to our discipline from Black people.
  2. There was an under-representation of Black nurses as leaders for national nursing associations and organizations.
  3. Nursing students were miseducated in theory and the delivery of care for the diverse population of Black individuals.
  4. There was an under-representation of Black authors for nursing textbooks.
  5. The Nightingale Pledge had not been revised after the Civil Rights Movement.

We learned that revisiting the constructs positioned us for growth in these key areas. And, since the global reckoning of 2020, many nursing organizations across the nation have committed to celebrating Black History throughout all levels of nursing year-round.

In this movement, NP Student Magazine also launched Nursing with Intention, a health equity initiative that seeks to improve racial-cultural competencies by providing a safe space for all nurses to support nurses who seek to increase their understanding of how racism, as a social determinant of health, impacts healthcare outcomes in minority patients. Join us this month in the GNSA Connect community as we share ways in which you can help celebrate Black History Month as a graduate nursing student. 

Leading with Compassion: Insights from Nursing’s Academic and Practice Leaders
February 8, 2022 at 2:00 pm ET
Navigating today’s healthcare landscape requires leaders who understand the power and promise of compassion. Representatives from the American Organization for Nursing Leadership and AACN will identify key components of compassionate leadership and consider the impact compassion can have on self, teams, and organizations. Learn how nursing’s academic and practice leaders are working to elevate compassion as a priority for the nursing profession.
This webinar is presented in cooperation with the American Organization for Nursing Leadership (AONL).


Beyond Flexner Alliance Social Mission Scholarships

The Beyond Flexner Alliance is committed to advancing social mission in health professions education. The Alliance's annual conference - planned this year on March 28-30 in Phoenix, AZ - is an interprofessional forum focused on advancing health equity and social justice through health profession education and brings together leaders in change to share new strategies and tools to advocate for meaningful change. The Social Mission Scholarship program will partially support conference participation costs for awardees. Scholarship funds may help cover the costs of conference registration OR hotel room accommodations. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until March 21, 2022. If you are interested in learning more about this opportunity, click here


Minority Fellowship Program Call for Applications

The Minority Fellowship Program (MFP), offered through the American Psychological Association, has a family of opportunities to help promising graduate students, post-doctoral trainees, and early career professionals achieve lasting success in areas related to ethnic/racial minority psychology and other behavior sciences. The MFP provides financial support, professional development activities, and opportunities for professional and personal guidance. The deadlines for the various programs vary; to learn more, click here 

Registration is Open: 2022 Student Policy Summit

Registration for AACN’s 2022 Student Policy Summit is now open! Up to two students from AACN member schools, who have the permission from their dean, may register for this exciting two-day conference on March 27-28 in Washington, DC. Nursing students from around the nation will have opportunities to participate in dynamic program sessions, with direct engagement from federal legislative and policy experts. To register for AACN’s 2022 Student Policy Summit, click here.


For more information on the conference, as well as safety precautions that will be taken for this event, visit the Summit website. We look forward to seeing you in March!  

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