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GNSA Bulletin - September 2022 Edition

Published September 08, 2022

Emerging Leaders

Rhonda Smith Wright, MSN, MHSA, RN


PhD Program

Conway Scholar

Johns Hopkins University

Member, School of Nursing Ethics Board


Anticipated Graduation Date:  May 2024

 After a few years instructing public health nursing clinical courses, it became clear I was ready to take the next step in my journey. Engaging with communities highlighted more questions than answers about the need for improved healthcare access and dignity in underserved populations. Additionally, leading students to their own conclusions about their role in meeting those needs was an unexpected joy. Academia seemed like a great fit for my next steps, combining practice with research, teaching, and mentoring.
So far, I haven’t been wrong. I have experienced a breadth of service and leadership roles in the PhD student organization, faculty search committees, and a health equity interest group. Primarily, the PhD program has offered a training ground for learning core skills and collaborating with highly-accomplished researchers in nursing and beyond to confidently conduct and defend my own research. It is truly a privilege to think deeply about challenges beyond just clinical practice implications, but also its associated philosophies and ethics. 
The research I am conducting centers on the adult sickle cell disease population. It is driven by the same healthcare access and dignity questions I faced as a clinical instructor. My proposed study aims to examine population-level injustice and structural barriers’ impact on healthcare utilization and pain outcomes. After graduation, I look forward to finding an assistant professor position, where I can hone my research interests, continue collaborating with colleagues, and support nursing students in their own journeys.  



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 for yourself or 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 Publication: 

In the July 2022 Journal of Nursing Regulation, Dr. Ellen Kurtzman and colleagues from the AcademyHealth Interdisciplinary Research Group on Nursing Issues Advisory Committee published a collection of abstracts on Nursing Workforce Challenges in the Postpandemic World. The cited works call for “rebooting” the practice environment to offset the adverse effects of the pandemic, which includes launching innovative models of nurse-led care; reimagining nursing-sensitive performance measures; sustaining efforts to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion; and reforming payment policies that reflect nurses’ value. The abstracts reinforce the importance of a supportive work environment for achieving nurse well-being, improving patient outcomes, and reducing health inequities.  

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.

Welcome Back


Hello GNSA members! I hope you are all having a great start to the academic year. The fall semester can be exciting and overwhelming at the same time. You may have great expectations for this year and have already set goals for things that you hope to accomplish. If you are anything like me, setting goals can be exciting but the process to achieve those goals can also feel daunting. As we continue through the academic year, I would encourage us all to consider the following tips to help us achieve our goals this year:

  1. Outline your plans and goals. Take some time to write down your short term and long-term goals. What are some daily and weekly steps that you can take to achieve these goals?
  2. Work on time management skills. Graduate school can be a lot of work and prioritizing tasks can be challenging. Some people find it helpful to make to-do lists for each day or each week. There also are many organizational tools online and apps that can be helpful to remember important meetings, tasks, and even important personal events with family and friends. It is important to find what time management strategy works best for you. Check out this webinar on our GNSA webpage if you are interested in learning more about ways to balance school, work, and life.
  3. Connect with others. Join a group that can assist with finding opportunities at your university and can help to improve your overall experience in graduate school. Finding groups, whether in person or online, can be a great way to connect with fellow students and gain a broader perspective in your learning experience.
  4. Identify a mentor. Finding a good mentor can be an important step in graduate school. A mentor will provide guidance as you move toward your goals and will help you to think broadly about opportunities that may be well suited for you. If you are interested in ways to develop the mentoring relationship, check out this link from a previous GNSA webinar called Exploring Successful Mentoring Relationships.
  5. Take time for self-care. Find ways to incorporate activities that maintain and improve your physical and mental health. During a busy semester, it can be challenging for these to be prioritized. Remember that your physical and mental health are just as important as developing intellectually. Here is a link from the National Institute of Mental Health with good tips for self-care:
  6. Stay focused on the big picture. Remember the purpose of your progress in school. One of most important lessons that I have learned in my graduate school experience is that the goal is not perfection, but progress in learning. Remember your passions, values, and purpose in pursuing your goals. This can be encouraging as you continue to move forward.
What are other strategies that have been helpful for you? Please share additional tips in our GNSA Connect Community. I look forward to continuing this conversation and hearing from you!
Maria McDonald, MSN, FNP
GNSA Leadership Council Member
University of Virginia


What Strategies Do You Implement as You Head Into a New Academic Year?

Are there things you do each year to help you start off your fall semester? Do you have an important strategy, tool, or app that you use? If so, share your tips in the GNSA Connect Community. Use the community to bounce ideas off of the national network of graduate students. You may even learn some new tricks that can lead towards success!
As a GNSA member, access to this community provides you with the benefit of networking, learning from other graduate students, and sharing resources. Be sure to login today through your  MyAACN dashboard (GNSA Student Center -> GNSA Community) and explore the topics. In addition, you can review the members tab, which includes a directory of the GNSA members across the country. Be sure to have your profile completed so that others can connect with you. If you have any questions on this resource, contact Marta Okoniewski at

Tell Us What You Think - Complete the 2022 GNSA Evaluation Survey
In an effort to continuously improve on the GNSA programming and services, we are seeking your feedback through the 2022 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 December 1. To complete the survey, click here.  

Deadline Extended - PhD-DNP Collaboration Excellence Award
This is your last opportunity to submit an application for the GNSA PhD-DNP Collaboration Excellence Award. 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. Applicants must include one PhD student and one DNP students and can consist of teams of students. 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 in San Diego, CA to receive the award. The application deadline is September 9, 2022. To view last year's winners and a description of their project, click here.

Expand Your Leadership Skills - Become a GNSA Liaison! 
Are you looking for opportunities to become engaged with the GNSA? If so, apply to serve as a GNSA Liaison. This is an opportunity for you to flex your leadership skills, meet other Liaisons from across the country, and serve as a representative for the graduate nursing students at your school. 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

Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science 2022 State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research
The Council for the Advancement of Nursing Science (CANS), a signature initiative of the American Academy of Nursing (Academy), is pleased to announce the 2022 State of the Science Congress on Nursing Research - Social + Structural Determinants of Health - will be held at the Grand Hyatt in Washington, DC from September 15-17, 2022. This conference is open to students at all levels, as well as nurse scientists. Click here for more details, including registration rates and keynote speakers. Join CANS today to receive a discounted student registration rate! 

Missed one of our spring 2022 webinars? All events have been archived, and you can register to review them at any time. Once registered using the link, you will receive an email confirmation with the link to the recording. Don't forget, you can also earn CEU credits for the webinars, just complete the evaluation. 
Designing an Engaging Poster
Aired May 31
Navigating the Job Search as a New APRN
Aired April 20
A Trajectory of Success: From Landing the Position to Transitioning to Advanced Practice
Aired April 20
Collaboration for Success
Aired April 5
Tips on Writing a Successful Abstract
Aired March 29
Turning Your School Paper into a Publishable Manuscript
Aired January 25


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, 2022. 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, 2022. 


Join the 2022-2023 GNSA Advocacy Leaders


We are still looking for members to join our GNSA Advocacy Leaders! This group of 104 representatives (2 from each state) receives specialized instruction through quarterly conference calls to further develop understanding of the policy and advocacy process. To apply, click here and submit your application by September 23, 2022.