1. Cameron, Vanessa MSN, BS, RN-BC, CNL

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What do you think when you hear someone being referred to as a millennial? According to a quick online search, there are some common themes. Millennials are assumed to set the bar too high; have a sense of entitlement; be lazy; work to live, instead of live to work; be compulsive job hoppers; and have little value for the experience of others.


Now to be honest, I am 30 years old, and I am a millennial. I opted for an accelerated nursing program to become a registered nurse and earn a Master's degree. I have made significant career changes every 18 months since I entered the nursing profession 5 years ago, and I do find myself to be impatient sometimes. Yet, all the choices I have made were to follow my passion to impact more people: patients and nurses alike. My goal is to support and prepare nurses, who in turn provide exceptional care for patients.


The descriptors of millennials frustrate me because they can be used to judge others' intent and work ethic based solely on age. I absolutely believe that a generation does have common traits. However, I have found that it is because of these traits millennials bring a unique and different perspective and an intense passion to the healthcare mission. I have been fortunate in my short career, having been surrounded by amazing mentors, given many opportunities, and taken supported risks with varying degrees of success, all while trying to stay true to what drew me to nursing in the first place. The people and culture within the Association for Nursing Professional Development (ANPD) help keep me focused and passionate about what I do, pushing me to become better every day. I hope that other millennials, like me, are drawn to this organization and choose to be engaged in the process of shaping nursing and health care through the practice of and advocacy for the specialty of nursing professional development (NPD).



When I first joined ANPD 2 years ago, I was mostly interested in extending my local nursing involvement into the national arena, but felt overwhelmed by the size and scope of so many other national organizations. Professional development and growth of others and myself have always been a focus that has dictated my career progression. ANPD seemed to be the perfect fit for me. I became a member, started reading the Journal for Nurses in Professional Development and Trendlines. I was so impressed that I decided to attend the national convention, although my director suggested that I attend other national conferences. As an NPD practitioner in critical care, I had many critical care colleagues who shared new knowledge and practices, but I was mostly alone as an NPD practitioner. There was no one with whom to share best practices. ANPD's publications provided me with great information, but I needed more. I hoped that attending convention with the opportunities it provided, such as viewing posters, participating in plenary and concurrent sessions, and networking with other NPD practitioners, would be helpful. I was absolutely right.


My first convention was "Aspire to Excel" in Las Vegas, Nevada. The convention's posters and concurrent sessions reflected areas within my practice. This improved my confidence and helped me realize that I, too, had ideas and practices to share with others. Over the week, I networked with many NPD practitioners and exhibitors representing a variety of organizations. I met members of the board of directors, who encouraged me to continue my involvement with the ANPD and bring new ideas to ANPD. This became one of my most enduring memories: real-life ANPD celebrities talking to me and not only listening to my ideas but also willing to mentor and encourage me. I was not an entitled, lazy, disrespectful of experience millennial, new to the organization with nothing to offer. Instead, I was celebrated for my early involvement and engagement and applauded for my innovative thinking. Everyone I met made me feel as if I belonged and had value to add. I could not have been more impressed with the quality and authenticity of the people within ANPD. I left inspired, engaged, and desiring to become more involved with the innovative people whom I had met.



What happened in Vegas did not stay in Vegas. I returned from the ANPD convention with new ideas and plans to implement them. One of those ideas was the development of a cohort program to improve preceptor confidence. A coworker and I returned to the 2016 convention to share this program through a poster session.


Deciding and following through with the submission of an abstract for the following year's convention were intimidating. The hardest part of the process was convincing ourselves that our work was worth sharing nationally-that it was noteworthy and important. It felt risky because of the possibility of rejection. There was also the risk that we could not live up to our own expectations (remember that we millennials set the bar too high). All that risk, waiting, and wondering were worth it when we got notification that our abstract for a poster was accepted.


Meanwhile, the connections I made during the convention led me to work on an ANPD collaborative project with Elsevier on the Medical-Surgical Transition to Practice online program. It was challenging, and stretched me, but I loved how it made me think differently about the future of nursing and how exciting it was to be a part of something so large and influential. Very little could be more gratifying to me than impacting the entry of new nurses into safe, quality nursing practice through an evidence-based transition to practice program.


Fast-forward to the 2016 ANPD Convention, "Aspire to Inquire." My coworker and I shared a proud moment as we presented our poster. The true highlights of our trip were the people we met, the new ideas we brought home for another round of projects, and the renewed drive to continue inquiring and pursuing excellence in nursing. We have implemented concepts from the convention into our workplace and now have excited discussions about the next project, next poster, and even a potential publication.


Since the 2016 convention, I have passed the NPD certification examination, a huge milestone and professional achievement. I was appointed to the ANPD Education Committee and am truly enjoying the opportunity to serve the ANPD membership by analyzing data on the educational needs of NPD practitioners and planning educational products based on these needs. I continue to look for ways to stay involved and engaged in ANPD.


Recently, my role changed from that of an NPD practitioner to a nurse manager. Still, I find a desire to stay even more connected with ANPD. NPD is not only for NPD practitioners. It is a managerial responsibility as well. I view NPD practice as key to a healthy work culture, high-quality nursing care, and positive patient outcomes. I cannot wait to attend the 2017 ANPD convention so that I can look at the information through nurse manager's lens and find ways to continue contributing to nursing and positive patient outcomes. ANPD is a perfect fit! It is a place for all who are interested in NPD, no matter their other specialty.