It’s been 2 weeks since I attended Nursing2012 Symposium and I am finally organizing all my notes! My pencil was giving off sparks as I tried to keep track of all that I was learning from the experts during the conference. What a great time I had learning, connecting with nurses (old friends and new!), and answering questions and sharing our ‘goodies’ in the NursingCenter booth in the exhibit hall. Of course, being in Orlando during some glorious weather also added to a wonderful getaway!

The opening address – Livin’, Laughin’, and Learnin’ through the Years – was presented by Barb Bancroft, RN, PNP, MSN. That title sums it up perfectly! The audience was laughing out loud as changes in nursing and medicine from the last 30 years were highlighted. I had forgotten just how many times classifications for diabetes have changed and was reminded of the funny things that patients sometimes say. Ms. Bancroft also shared her 8 ‘best bets’ in nursing. My favorites were “Never stop being a student” and “Work well with others.” 

Steve L. Robbins, PhD., presented the Keynote Address, entitled Unintentional Intolerance. This was powerful! In his presentation, Dr. Robbins used various exercises to demonstrate to the audience how we all have ‘gut reactions,’ and that the important thing is how we handle them. I wish I could demonstrate these exercises here via this blog post (I did use them on my family!). It was incredible – his discussion included topics such as cognitive scripts (how mindlessness and multiple remnant messages lead to this ‘unintentional intolerance’), drive-by greetings (we all do it…say “Hi. How are you?” without actually hearing the response), branding, and mindlessness (think of the things we do without thinking about them, for example, showering and then wondering “Did I wash my hair?”) The best quote that I took away from Dr. Robbins was “Leverage human differences to solve complex problems.”

In Your Patients at Risk: Preventing Complications, I was thrilled to listen to a former colleague of mine present! JoAnne Phillips, MSN, RN, CCRN talked about patient safety and nine adverse events that all hospitals should be working on: falls, ventilator-associated pneumonia, adverse drug events, central line-associated blood stream infections, catheter-associated urinary tract infections, pressure ulcers, obstetrical adverse events, surgical site infections, and venous thromboembolism. Ms. Phillips shared some great resources, namely Partnerships for Patients and the IHI Improvement Map. She also reminded us that “Patient safety is not about decreasing errors, it’s about decreasing harm.”

The next session that I attended was Stop the Revolving Door. Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC discussed the importance of “shifting the healthcare paradigm from a volume-based system to a value based system.”  Ms. Woods stressed 3 things to help reduce the numbers of ICU bounce-backs and hospital readmissions: better care, better communication, and better follow-up. Other points that stayed with me since her presentation include using ‘teach back’ in patient education, scheduling follow-up appointments prior to discharge, and tuning into noncompliance, meaning if a patient is noncompliant, we need to find out why. 

In Faculty-Guided Poster Tour: Ask the Experts, three experts – Frank Myers, MA, CIC; Cheryl Dumont, PhD, RN; and Anne Dabrow Woods, MSN, RN, CRNP, ANP-BC – led an informal tour of the posters being presented at the conference. They pointed out key features of the posters themselves as well as the research being presented. Here are some of the things that I learned and I hope that you find them useful too! 

Linda Laskowski-Jones, MS, RN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM and Captain Jeffrey R. Evans, BS, NREMT-P shared patient scenarios and the hospital and police responses in Bad Boys, Bad Boys…Whatcha Gonna Do? I learned a lot from these experts including never touching a weapon whether it’s immediately apparent or perhaps falls out when cutting off a trauma patient’s clothes, not using cell phones around suspicious packages (did you know they can detonate bombs?), and the importance of being aware of active gangs in your area. The most important advice I remember was always maintaining "situational awareness."

That’s just a sampling of the many presentations offered this year at Nursing2012 Symposium. All of the presentations were recorded and can be found at Lippincott’s eConference If you have the opportunity to attend in the coming years, go for it! Maybe I’ll see you there!