Using conferences as continuing ed

Image: Dave & Les Jacobs | Cultura | Getty Images

This past weekend I attended the annual conference of the American Organization of Nurse Executives (AONE) in Indianapolis, Indiana.  For those of you that have ever attended a conference before, you know what it is like.  Several days of sitting in lectures, networking and collecting free pens from all the exhibitors.

I have been to a few different ones in my career but this time I actually took advantage of the continuing education that was provided.  I know this will all sound incredibly exciting and you will be extremely jealous that you were not there, but I attended lectures on the implementation of peer review, maintaining adequate staffing levels by using hours per patient day vs. an acuity model and a review of the research on a nurse engagement study.

If you have not been to a conference before I highly recommend it.  It is the opportunity to meet and network with other nurses just like you.  The best part is that the nurses who attend are nurses that are in your specialty.  If you are an Emergency Department nurse and attend the Emergency Nurses Association conference, you will be hanging out with other ED nurses.  In this case I was able to spend time with other nurse leaders from all over the country and the world.  It’s actually a little energizing.

You find out at these things that nurses from the other side of the country, or even the other side of the world have the same difficulties, the same concerns and the same joys that you do in your daily practice.  I learned that all the things that drive me nuts about my job, are the same things that drive a nurse manager in Finland crazy too.

If you do go to a conference, take advantage of the speakers that are presenting.  Many are reporting on research studies that can help you your daily practice.  You can even get ideas for new programs to implement on your unit or even an idea for a research study of your own.  Who knows, maybe the next year you will be presenting your publication to the conference.

Plus all the vendors that want you to purchase their stuff will wine you and dine you the entire time.

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