What To Ask When Attending a Professional Conference

Sharon Carpinello

With the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses (AWHONN) ) convention coming up next week, I began thinking about the importance of getting together with peers and colleagues for professional growth. Not only are professional conferences a way to network, they also allow you to enhance your own knowledge of the “latest and greatest” practices within your chosen field.   With all of today’s medical advances it is critical to be aware of what’s new and what’s working so not only are the actual educational sessions important, but so are the visits to the vendors. I remember my first AWHONN convention and going to the vendors to get the “free stuff” they give away. Now with the Sunshine Act (http://www.medmarc.com/Life-Sciences-News-and-Resources/Webinars/Pages/Physician-Payments-Sunshine-Act.aspx?gclid=CLaTjq3Jk80CFQkyaQodYK0IUA) it’s assured that companies are reporting appropriately for their “give-a-ways.” I really appreciate this law as I feel it encourages us, as professionals, to really listen to one another and vendors to truly analyze whether or not the new drug or the new device fits into our hospital’s workflow and patient population. I recognize that some of us may not have decision-making authority, but as RNs it is still so critical to bring that new level of knowledge back to your peers and leadership.

Here are a few questions to consider when attending a professional conference:

  • What are the key trends in your field?
  • What evidence is behind these trends?
  • How will these trends change your practice? Will it help improve overall patient care?
  • How can you bring these trends back to your unit?
  • Who else is supporting these trends – other peers, vendors, professional organizations?

So at your next conference, get out there and ask these critical questions. Meet a new person, talk to a different vendor, and attend sessions that are going to challenge your current thought process.

I will be at the AWHONN convention next week in Grapevine, TX. Feel free to stop by the GE Healthcare booth and let’s discuss trends and current practices. I am proud to be part of the Centricity™ Perinatal family, as with a team of clinicians standing behind the product, we want to share our thoughts with each of you. Plus, we are quickly approaching our 50 millionth baby to be born* on the Centricity Perinatal system and want to celebrate with you.

GE Healthcare is proud to sponsor the AWHONN Excellence in Writing Award from a Clinical Nursing Journal and the Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic, & Neonatal Nursing Award.


* Estimation only and based on an algorithm comprised of various factors to project the arrival of Centricity Perinatal babies.

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