5 Great Reasons to Attend a Nursing Conference This Year
Written by Kim Carson, RN
In September of last year, I attended my State Chapter Conference for the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses. I was shocked that I felt so reinvigorated during the event and afterward. With stresses such as COVID-19 and short-staffing at an all-time high, it was ideal timing to renew my passion for nursing, meet new colleagues, and make friends. Nurses need each other right now! 2022 is the ideal year to attend a nursing conference. Read on to find out why.
1. Learning New Things Prevents Burnout.
According to theHarvard Business Review, employees who engaged in learning at work experience fewer negative emotions such as anxiety, stress, and burnout. Deepening your knowledge also helps nurses gain confidence and sense of self-efficacy.
2. Finding Community and Fellowship.
In the age of COVID, attending a conference can help create a human connection that nurses are craving. Many conferences have moved to online formats. While this did make it easier to attend, it still felt like something was missing. After more than a year of Zoom staff meetings and conference calls, online communication is not as enticing. If you can safely meet in person, the ability to chat with colleagues in real life is truly invigorating. I met new friends and found a mentor that I keep in touch with six months after the event.
3. It Looks Good To Your Boss.
Most hospitals want their staff to engage in continuing education and professional growth. Consider attending a conference as a professional goal for your next performance appraisal. You might learn new best practices to bring back to your home unit.
4. Misery Loves Company.
Joking (not joking)! As staff nurses, we all face pain points in our careers. You might be struggling with how to make evidence-based changes on your unit. Maybe you aren’t sure how to handle crucial conversations with providers or other coworkers. Maybe you are feeling generally stressed on your unit about COVID or the current staffing shortages.
Talking to nurse leaders and staff from other facilities who are dealing with similar problems can help in two ways:
First, it makes you realize you are not functioning in a bubble and you are not alone. Staff at other hospitals face the same challenges.
Second, by opening up about struggles you are having on your unit, colleagues can collaborate to help you find innovative solutions.
The nurses I meet at conferences are great resources for sharing ideas so that I am not recreating the wheel when I begin new unit projects.
5. It can renew your spirit and motivation.
Attending a conference gets you out of your scrubs uniform and physically away from your normal work routine, allowing you to slow down. This time away from patient care is refreshing. The ability to reflect on your nursing practice may help you remember what inspired you to become a nurse in the first place.
If you are not a member of a nurses’ organization, try looking within your specialty to find a conference you can attend. No specialty? Check out the American Nurses Association. You can find information about their annual conferences on their website. It may sound dorky, but I love a great conference. I feel like it’s an act of self-care!
About the Author:
Kim Carson, RN, works as a perinatal nurse in Vail, CO. With over 17 years of experience, she holds specialty certifications in inpatient obstetrics and maternal-newborn nursing and is a board-certified lactation consultant (IBCLC). When she is not caring for the moms and babies in her community, she can be found outside kayaking, snowboarding, or listening to music.
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