If you are enrolled in a nursing school, you are clearly motivated to embrace a fulfilling career in nursing. It may be too soon to focus on what comes after graduation, or even to think beyond earning your RN license. But eventually, you will have a chance to catch your breath. That will be a good time to consider how to enhance — and advance — your new career.
While the information you are learning in nursing school is current, and grounded in today’s best practices, you should be aware that change is inevitable in your chosen profession. One way to stay current with advances in technology, testing, machinery, pharmaceuticals, procedures, and best practices is to regularly attend nursing conferences.
Fun — and Informative
If you are still a student, the effort to remain current as your career progresses may sound like more drudgery. But once you enter the workforce, you will discover that conferences can actually be an enjoyable way to reconnect with colleagues, get fresh perspectives on old problems, earn continuing education (CE) credits, and network within the community of healthcare professionals. You might even have a little fun.
At nursing conferences, you will have ample opportunities to meet interesting new people, while reconnecting with others. Of course, attending conferences is also a good way to further your career and advance the goals of your employer organization — while simultaneously taking a brief break from the daily grind of nursing duties.
Well-organized nursing conferences are typically planned in such a way that you get a chance to choose your own schedule. With so many individual break-out sessions to choose from, it is all but impossible to attend every presentation. But that is part of the fun. You choose what appeals to you most, based on your interests, or whatever you perceive to be your educational shortfalls.
Choose Your Specialty
There are all types of conferences, too, with different focal points, depending on the sponsoring group, association, or nursing specialty. Do not make the mistake of assuming that nursing conferences have little to offer bedside nurses working in the trenches of frontline medicine. On the contrary, nursing conferences are not just for the benefit of management or management-track nurses. They typically offer something for everyone. And do not overlook the opportunities to pick up some freebies along the way! Sponsors and vendors often prepare gift bags full of branded surprises. Some are even useful!
Of course, some working nurses calculate that time away from work is time spent not earning. Consider asking your employer if there is funding available for just such a purpose as attending professional conferences. After all, they are a good way to stay current with your need to obtain CE credits.
Another feature of nursing conferences is that they tend to be hosted in “destination cities.” These are larger cities with plenty of tourist appeal, such as Miami, Las Vegas, Chicago, New York, etc. The proximity to world-class entertainment means you may have an opportunity to combine your work-oriented visit with a little vacation time.