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A First-Time Attendee Shares How ONS Congress® Rekindled Her Inspiration

May 16, 2024
Susanne Carrier, MSN, RN, OCN®
ONS Member
Image of dimly lit large room full of seated crowd, with stage and screen at the front of the room


Ignite the Extraordinary was the theme of the 49th Annual ONS Congress® in Washington, DC. It was about being inspired, finding your passion, knowing your purpose, and exploring opportunities. As a first-time attendee, I did not expect to be so moved by the experience. 

Image of Susanne Carrier in front of the Lincoln Memorial

Perhaps I felt my first spark of inspiration from the experience when I visited the Lincoln Memorial for the first time in my 50 years. As I stood in front of this magnificent monument, I reflected on the struggles and triumphs that our country has faced and the overwhelming heaviness of how many men and women have fought for our freedom. The efforts of the past remind me of the importance of perseverance in the face of adversity.

That spark continued to grow as I attended the opening ceremony featuring keynote speaker, Kelsey Tainsh, BS. She faced tremendous adversity as a two-time pediatric brain tumor survivor and stroke survivor. Her story exemplified the resilience of the human spirit in the face of adversity. Despite encountering obstacles in her early life, she persevered and found a way to not only overcome those difficulties but to give back to others through her motivational speeches. Tainsh reminded me of my why—the desire to give back and make a positive impact on the lives of others through my work as a nurse.

That spark of inspiration within me, ignited a flame when I attended roundtable discussions with the ONS Leadership Development Committee. I was surrounded by nursing leaders from across the country, and at first, I felt a twinge of self-doubt sprinkled in with some excitement. What could I possibly contribute to this discussion? As the conversations progressed, I realized we all had commonalities—passion, enthusiasm, dedication, and willingness to learn and grow. The roundtable experience served as a powerful catalyst, inspiring me to go back to my institution and embark on a project that can enhance my leadership qualities. 

As I reflect on the 2024 ONS Congress, I realize that the experience was so much more than acquiring new knowledge or learning about the latest therapies. It was a journey of self-reflection, self-discovery, empowerment, and inspiration. As I was surrounded by colleagues from all over the country, I felt a sense of belonging, a renewed sense of purpose, and deep appreciation for the privilege of being a nurse. This was a transformative experience that has ignited the extraordinary within in me, prompting me to find ways to be more actively involved in my local ONS chapter and in my work community. 

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