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With so many options for continuing education, networking, and learning now available to nurses, why attend a conference? Although some of us are lucky enough to have conference expenses reimbursed, attendance still involves an investment of your time and effort. We asked the attendees of the recent Lippincott Clinical Nursing Conference for their thoughts, and the results spoke for themselves-there's just no replacement for face-to-face interaction!

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New topics, procedures, drugs, and more

Many of the conference-goers agreed: When it comes to the latest information on procedures, drug administration, and patient safety, the depth and breadth of information out there can be overwhelming. No matter how many professional publications a nurse subscribes to, or social media outlets he or she follows, there's always a sense that complete knowledge is just out of reach. "It's so dynamic, it can be hard to keep up," said one of our attendees. Conferences help with that, featuring important changes, curating the most critical updates, and allowing nurses to swap best practices in a natural, memorable way.


Earning CE credit

Although there are many ways to earn continuing education (CE) credit, most people just learn better in motivated, clinical, cooperative, and live settings. "If you choose to do an online program, you don't really develop a relationship with a professor," is how one attendee put it. And finding the right CE topics can be a challenge, too, says one of our respondents: "Specialty nursing can create barriers. We need CEs to maintain our broad knowledge and clinical skills."



"As a new nurse, I have a lot of options. Do I specialize? Do I go get my masters? Hearing about where other nurses came from and the routes they used to get there is very encouraging." Not everybody has a hands-on mentor and as this attendee points out, conferences can sometimes provide little doses of guidance when you need it most. Not everyone takes a traditional path to nursing achievement, and it's gratifying to network with seasoned nurses who know this. Networking even extends beyond the nursing community-editors, publishers, vendors, academicians, and others who have a vested interest in nursing can be very useful people to know over the course of a long, successful career, and all are usually found in conference settings.


Exploring a new city

"I'm in a residency program at a small hospital in my hometown, so it's great to get away and have some relaxation time in a different area," said one attendee. For many, attending a conference can be a refreshing and welcome change from the stressful daily demands of nursing. With increasing emphasis on work-life balance, conferences pack a 5-for-1 punch when it comes to accomplishing career goals and having a good time.


Advancing the profession

Ultimately, conferences push our profession to better itself. Technology is constantly changing how nurses function and learn; it's hard to keep up, but conferences can help, providing hands-on time with the latest innovations in a low-pressure setting. Further, just hearing experts confirm your skill set can instill a whole new level of confidence in yourself as you reenter your routine. "The conference has given me the information and the confidence I needed to transfer into my new role as a nurse educator," said one nurse.


Conferences remind nurses why they should be passionate about their field and proud of their careers. One respondent put it perfectly: "Attending a conference allows us to champion topics and subject matter important to us." So next time you're on the fence, take a step back from your routine and make time to reinvigorate your practice at the next'll be better for it.