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You’re a new nurse. Now what?

As a new nurse, you’re developing leadership skills through connections and relationships. You’re simultaneously learning how to apply your formal school knowledge into practice … keeping your head above water in this new transition period. We’ve all been there. And now comes the unique challenge of figuring out what to do with another “new” thing you’ll have – free time! Finally, the tests are done. When you clock out, your work is done.

So now what?

After working for about a year, I found myself asking the same question. I was ready to emerge and do something for my career that wasn’t my “day-to-day” assignment. In school, we had briefly talked about professional organizations and opportunities for growth. With my new-found free time and some extra money, I decided to explore a professional association membership.

I was nervous to go to PSNA events because they were more intimate gatherings with experienced nurses (both professionally and personally). However, I found the events to be fun. Multi-generations of nurses were able to commiserate over the same issues and discuss ways to take action.  The YNP group was also holding events that catered to my current career step.

Through my PSNA/YNP membership, I’ve been mentored by nurses and government affairs representatives who have helped shape my professional career. One of my most rewarding experiences — both personally and professionally — happened with the help of PSNA. A few years ago, I was able to help protect my smallest patients outside of the NICU by testifying in front of a PA House of Representatives committee about the critical need for resources for opioid-dependent mothers.

Today I write this post from Beijing, China! Through the support of PSNA/YNP, I gained the confidence to connect with the president of the Chinese Nursing Association and discuss career options in my city. I now have the tools to participate in PSNA, American Nurses Association (ANA), and CDC initiatives that I truly believe in. It’s through PSNA/YNP’s mentorship and membership that I continue to gain valuable experiences.

Although I’m not living in Pennsylvania, I’ve budgeted to continue my memberships because the value, fellowship, and connections far exceed the cost. Membership has helped streamline my career and consider professional paths outside of the “traditional” nursing career.

In this season of thanks, I am grateful for my experiences, friendships, and connections gained as a PSNA/YNP member. Professional membership will continue to benefit me, my career, and my patients.

by Ashlee Homer, PSNA Member

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