How to Make the Most of Attending a Professional Nursing Conference
By Allan Robinson
Do you want to advance your nursing career? A nursing conference may be the best next step.
Advancement can mean increased job security, a higher salary and more satisfaction with your job.
Common strategies for boosting a nursing career include obtaining an advanced degree, which can be expensive and impractical for a nurse who already has a full-time job.
Attending a nursing conference is another way to advance, since it allows you to network and obtain the resources needed for continuing education (CE).
Additional benefits of a nursing conference include remaining current on the best practices in your specialty, meeting new people in your niche and gaining insights into workplace issues.
Nursing Conferences: 5 Ways to Maximize Your Time
1. Meet Colleagues Outside Your Work Environment
A nurse’s demanding lifestyle often leaves little room for maintaining social relationships, even with other nurses. Attending a nursing conference is an effective way of making friends and creating the professional network needed to further your career.
These events may be hosted in very nice hotels, which help alleviate the work-related stress nurses often feel. The atmosphere makes it easy to introduce yourself to fellow attendees after a session and exchange business cards.
The relaxing social atmosphere of a nursing conference is also conducive to seeking out nursing job opportunities. The guest speakers often hold high positions in their field, and attendees often include the heads of hiring departments and training programs.
2. Find a Nursing Conference in Your Specialty
The number of nursing conferences scheduled in the United States each year is quite large, so you should have no trouble finding some that are of particular interest to you.
Healthcare news site MDLinx is just one place you can find a comprehensive list of nursing and CME conferences.
Attending a conference in your specialty is usually the most effective way of using your time away from work. Nursing conferences may also be dedicated to a specific healthcare practice that interests you, even if it’s not in your specialty.
3. Obtain Resources for Continuing Education
Nursing conferences primarily consist of lectures in many cases, but they also include other activities to help you meet your CE requirements.
State requirements for continuing education and nursing hours vary; you can find a list of requirements by state or visit the state websites for nurse certification or licensing if you’re not sure how many hours you need.
The workshops and seminars at a nursing conference often provide CE credits, which may be a more convenient and cost-effective way to keep up on requirements than enrolling in a formal class. This strategy can also reduce the time needed to obtain a certification.
4. Visit the Exhibit Hall
A nursing conference typically has an exhibit hall that showcases new products from vendors. These exhibits provide an opportunity for you to learn first hand about the latest technologies that are available.
They can also introduce you to companies you’ve never heard of before, allowing you to provide input on future purchase decisions by your employer.
5. Obtain Insights you can Apply in your Workplace
Attending the lectures, seminars and workshops in a nursing conference can provide you with insight on a professional issue that you apply in your own workplace.
Demonstrating your newfound knowledge in patient care or medical technology is a highly effective method of gaining recognition from your peers and superiors.