Headed to Your First Conference? Here’s What to Expect
Conferences for nurses range from small to very big, and in focus. Some feature small, specialized seminars, while others are larger and include speakers on topics that affect the profession on a wide scale. And many emphasize specific areas of nursing, providing an opportunity to meet and learn from others doing the exact same kind of work you do.
If you haven’t been to a conference before, this is what you need to know.
You’ll get the opportunity to push yourself. Attending a conference opens up the chance to push yourself professionally. For example, if you know well in advance which conference you’re going to, consider presenting an abstract. You’ll need to submit your research beforehand and have it accepted by the conference, but if you pass, you’ll get the chance to discuss your ideas with hundreds of your peers. And, even if you don’t present, you’ll still have the chance to discuss and debate ideas with presenters and other delegates.
You’ll learn a lot. You’ll come back from the conference armed with knowledge on the newest technologies, products, and approaches. You’ll have opportunities to talk with others in your specialty who face some of the same challenges, but may approach them differently. And, you can get your CME hours taken care of. Many conferences offer the ability to fulfill continuing education requirements, which are necessary to renew nursing licenses.
You’ll have fun! Conferences tend to be in cities that offer ample entertainment and dining options. And there will probably be vendors or groups that host dinners or happy hours. Just remember to be professional at all times. It can be tempting to let loose, but think of your time at the conference as an extension of your normal work environment — after all, you’re meeting new people and networking, and you want them to remember you for the right reasons, since there’s always the chance your professional paths could cross in the future.
You’ll have time to think. Most likely you’re on the go all the time in your day-to-day role. Attending a conference will give you the chance to take a step back, and because you’ll be away from the constant demand of patient needs, you can think about your career and your role away from your regular clinical environment.
You’ll get stuff to take home. You can take samples that range from souvenirs like pens and keychains to product samples and informational booklets and papers. In addition, you can also explore textbooks, technologies, and other products at the exhibitor booths. It will let you get hands-on experience with stuff you otherwise wouldn’t get to see in person.
Ready to start planning for your first conference? Head to our conferences’ listing to see what’s coming up.