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Make the Most Out of Nursing Conferences

Nursing conferences used to be the only way to connect with nurses from outside your workplace. Though the internet has certainly changed some of that, it still can be beneficial for nurses to attend conferences.

Networking at Nursing Conferences

One of the top reasons, of course, is face-to-face networking. As Abigail Schneider points out in an article about nursing conferences, “To network is to grow your community of contacts, which is beneficial to advancing your career.” She also pointed out what should be obvious, but is worth repeating: We learn from our fellow nurses, especially from those who work in similar settings or similar specialties.

Much to Learn

Schneider also notes how much there is to learn during a conference’s planned events. The speakers are brought there because of their knowledge, and each one typically has some innovation or insight to bring to the table. Nurses who attend conferences often learn something new about the nursing practice.

And it’s not just limited to what’s on the agenda. The exhibit booths are filled with the latest technologies, giving nurses a view of what might be possible in their healthcare facilities. Healthcare systems often purchase a new system or piece of equipment based on a nurse’s recommendation.

Come Prepared

In “How to Get the Most Out of a Nursing Conference” published on, Marissa Labate, a San Diego nurse and creator of the Lipstick and Lifesaving blog has recommendations for making the most out of a nursing conference, starting with preparation.

This is not just a time to “wing it” as if you were going on an impromptu vacation. Labate suggests staying as close as possible to the convention, preferably within walking distance, in case you need to get something in the middle of the day. Obviously, you want to bring business cards, something to take notes with, a bag for gathering brochures and handouts, and healthy snacks and water.

A phone charger is also a must; when you get to a convention, locate an outlet in case you need a quick battery boost in the middle of the day. Of course, you want to keep your phone silenced during presentations and observe proper phone etiquette when talking with other people.

Business casual is typically called for in nursing conferences, though there may be evening events that call for something dressier. Obviously, during the day, you’ll want comfortable shoes and clothes — you’ll be spending a lot of time on your feet.

You also want to maximize your time; that means getting adequate rest during the week, studying the schedule beforehand, and perusing the list of exhibitors. A conference provides opportunities for learning, but you want to make sure you make the most of it. Remember: It’s not just about what you can gain, but what you can bring back to your fellow nurses.

Learn more about A-State’s online RN to BSN program.

Source: Nursing Professional Development: The Value of Nursing Conferences

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