Producing a professional poster is a wonderful opportunity to share your passions in nursing and have the opportunity to present your findings at conferences and your organization. The poster allows you to connect with professional healthcare colleagues, demonstrating your knowledge and interest in evidence-based practice.
It may seem like a daunting task creating a poster for the first time. What should my specific topic be? Where do I find a template to create my poster? Fear not! When the process is taken in small steps, a professional poster is easy to create and develop.
1. Your Topic
Decide what topic you wish to present. If you are developing a poster for the organization where you work, talk to your manager and other leaders to narrow your scope and focus your topic on what is needed. If you are developing a poster for school (capstone), speak with your professor for the specific requirements.
With your specific topic in mind, you are on your way for doing some research! Research can be tedious, but not if you know where to look. Use evidence-based, peer-reviewed professional journals, as well as professional organizations and other reputable resources. Keep in mind that your references should support your topic and have been published recently (5 years or earlier is a good rule of thumb). Your organization and school may have search tools that they recommend for valuable references as well.
3. Doing Research?
If you are doing a research project for your poster, make sure you give yourself plenty of time to obtain and review your research data. Remember that you may need extra time if you need permissions or guidance from the Institutional Review Board (IRB) or independent ethics committee, or need to get a contract to perform your research. Performing your own research takes time, especially if you have to put together your findings or do statistical analysis. Reach out to colleagues and/or professors who can assist with interpretation of your research findings.
4. The Poster
Once you have all your information and data, you can begin constructing your poster! Keep in mind that the poster should be direct, concise, and attract your readers’ attention. Bring out the highlights of your findings so that others reviewing your poster will get the main facts in a quick manner.
5. Organizing Your Content
You will find that you will have limited room to display your findings on the poster. Therefore, organizing your material in a logical order on the poster is key. Keep in mind any professional pictures, charts, or graphs that you wish to include as well. Consider this sample outline:
6. Creating your Poster
Once you have all your information, it is time to place it on your poster. (Tip: Templates are available on Microsoft PowerPoint.) When adding your information, ask yourself, “If someone was to look at my poster without me standing with it, would they be able to understand the information easily?” Make sure your poster is reader-friendly, direct, and will improve to your readers knowledge on the topic at hand.
7. Poster Review
Before you submit your poster for presentation or send it to be printed, proofread the poster and have another colleague or two read it over as well. Ask reviewers if the poster reads well and if the information is clear. If you are having your poster printed, make sure you read the specifications on the size of the poster and any items that should or shouldn’t be on the poster. Your organization or university may be able to print it for you for free or at a reasonable rate.
8. Poster Presentation
Your poster has been printed and you are now ready to display it for others to see! Be certain to bring needed items to display your poster unless they are provided for you. Bring handout color copies of your poster for individuals to take home, and your business card so others can reach you if they have further inquiries about your findings. As you stand with your poster, take pride in this achievement and engage others as they review your findings!
Now that you have created your first professional poster, I hope you will be inspired to create another. In an upcoming blog, I’ll discuss my own professional poster that I recently created!