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NURSES ATTENDING the Nursing2006 Symposium at the Las Vegas Hilton April 18 to 21 hit the jackpot, gaining a wealth of personal and professional knowledge without placing a single bet. Ask any of the approximately 1,300 attendees for highlights and you might hear something like this.


Nurses were honored for their accomplishments. After program director and Nursing2006 editor-in-chief Cheryl L. Mee opened the symposium and welcomed attendees, she introduced nurses getting awards for excellence in writing. Of six who'd written outstanding clinical articles and personal stories for the journal over the past year, four award winners were on hand to receive their plaques. They also received complimentary travel to the meeting. (Read their stories and learn about them at Murad, maker of skin care products, and the Nursing2006 Foundation supported the awards.

Figure. Top: Cheryl ... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure.

Three outstanding posters were also recognized for excellence. The blue ribbon for clinical topics went to a poster on the nursing implications of body piercing. The winner for education outlined staff-development techniques to ensure JCAHO compliance. In the leadership category, the use of an admissions nurse to foster teamwork and satisfaction in the unit took top prize.

Figure. Center: Mirt... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure.

The sessions had something for everyone. Along with clinical topics such as preventing surgical site infections, practical advice on defusing violence in the workplace, and inspiring insights on end-of-life care, the sessions resonated with wit and humanity.


Keynote speaker Anne Ryder, a news anchor and reporter, hit home with stories of nurses who've touched her life. For example, to win an interview with Mother Theresa of Calcutta, Ryder had to "walk in a nurse's shoes" by bathing poor women who were nearing death.

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An oncology nurse who's "been there," Lillie Shockney described coping with breast cancer, mastectomies, and reconstruction with a survivor's wisdom and a healthy sense of humor.

Figure. Therapy dogs... - Click to enlarge in new windowFigure. Therapy dogs Huck and Splotch greet nurses in the exhibit hall.

In "PAWS for the Hospital," Julie Miller provided guidelines for safe and successful animal-assisted therapy. "Pet therapists" Huck and Splotch (shown in the photo above) quietly sat through her session and several others-barking only when their human counterparts applauded.


Nurses found plenty to do outside the sessions. In the exhibit hall, nurses dined on complimentary refreshments, checked out new products, met with recruiters, reviewed educational materials, and analyzed the poster presentations.


After the structured activities on Wednesday, a "Viva Las Vegas" party helped attendees let down their hair with music, dancing, and prizes. Anyone who won a door prize had to dance to the stage to collect it.


I'd like to do it again. The Nursing2007 Symposium will be held April 19 to 22 at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. The planners are already working on top-notch sessions and extracurricular fun. See you there?