“I don’t really know what to expect,” Ray Hultman says, sitting across from me in a lounge chair at the Bonaventure Hotel in Montreal. At this hotel, the Canadian Nursing Students’ Association’s (CNSA) National Conference’s Opening Ceremony is about to begin. National Conference is the biggest event CNSA puts on all year, and it is the result of a year of hard work and planning, and allows around 400 of its 30,000 members to come together and network, be social, and learn new skills, attitudes, and about innovations in nursing. Fittingly, this year’s theme is “To New Beginnings: Addressing Stigmas and Innovations in Nursing.” When asked about which workshop he’s most excited, Ray quickly lists off several agenda items “[Becoming] a leader: [Developing] self-consciousness with the Enneagram,” but also the “PIV” workshops, and a speech by Tilda Shalof titled “Okay, Nursing Boomer.”

 “Conferences are a really valuable experience, and outside of National Conference or Regional Meetings, this sort of environment is not one to which you’re exposed in our normal curriculum.” Ray also enjoys the fact that he can take knowledge from each conference and expand his point-of-view and that each speaker adds a unique perspective. Being able to hear from and work with people with this first-hand knowledge and these experiences is invaluable. He admires that ‘progressive minds’ come together at these conferences and that important and sometimes taboo subjects get discussed too.

As a nursing student of Thompson Rivers University, you are automatically a CNSA member. Ray encourages all nursing students to attend these conferences if they can, and the TRU CNSA works hard with TRUSU to facilitate the attendance of TRU students at these conferences. All members (nursing students) are eligible to attend the conferences, but can also apply for funding through the TRU CNSA chapter. The conferences are held twice a year, with Regionals in fall and Nationals in January. For more information, you can check out the TRU CNSA Facebook Page or contact your delegates at the trucnsa@gmail.com.