Accountable Healthcare - Get The Most Out of Your Next Nursing Conference
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September 14, 2018

Get The Most Out of Your Next Nursing Conference

With so many upcoming shows and conferences to attend, we thought we would share a bit of information from the experts on how to get the most of out of your attendance. Lee Nelson, a freelance writer, provides some great tips on what to expect and how to benefit from your next nursing conference. What is a nursing expo/conference and what can someone expect from attending?   “They allow you to stock up on a bunch of CEUs, check out new equipment at vendor booths, stay up to date with the latest research and bond with your co-workers as well as the new friends you’ve made,” says Marissa Labate, BNS, RN, CCRN, PHN. She is a surgical ICU nurse and nurse blogger in San Diego ( She’s been a nurse for four years, and she serves as the marketing chair for the AACN San Diego Chapter. How can you prepare for a conference? Labate always makes her reservation at the hotel right across the street from the convention center. “You’re then able to walk to the conference and easily make a run back to the hotel if you needed something in the middle of the day,” she says. “If you’re not able to be within walking distance of the center, check to see that there are free shuttle buses available from your hotel.” What should a participant in a nursing conference bring with them? Bring business cards that have your current title and contact information and adapters or extra batteries for your phone, laptop or tablet. How should someone dress for a nursing conference? For most conferences, business casual is the standard. Labate brings comfortable clothes as well as some professional outfits. You may be attending receptions, dinners and other networking events that you’ll want to be dressed nicely. “There’s a lot of walking back and forth between sessions,” she says. So, she dresses casually in jeans and comfortable shoes. What are a few things someone should do when they first arrive at the conference site or hotel where it's going to be located? When arriving at the conference site, first check-in with the registration team to receive your badge and all the conference materials. They may also have an app where you can download and access the most recent schedule and the details of the sessions. After checking in, familiarize yourself with the details of the conference, including the schedule, floor plan, help desk, location of food and other necessary items. How do you pick the best break-out sessions at a nursing conference? Plan to attend all general sessions and keynote presentations, as well as any award ceremonies that are open to all attendees, she adds. These types of sessions are usually the main events planned by the conference and have some amazing inspirational speakers. Look for breakout sessions that are related to your interest area or identified learning gap. Also, plan time for fun activities, such as nurses’ night out and special networking sessions like the awards ceremonies or certification celebrations. How can you make your time more efficient when you go through the exhibit hall? The conference catalog usually lists all the sponsors and exhibitors with their exact location. If there is any specific company or product you want to check out, then approach them first. If there isn’t, then schedule an hour or two during the conference to walk through the exhibit hall, starting at one end and finishing at the other. Many exhibitors have goodie bags or other fun items they give out. In addition, some raffle out various desirable products such as an iPad. Why do nurses attend conferences? Her top reasons for attending conferences include:
  • getting the opportunity to network with like-minded people and meet leaders in the field,
  • visiting and exploring a new city or country,
  • presenting and disseminating results of my projects and research
  • learning the latest and greatest in her area of practice.
  • rejuvenating and reenergizing