Learning. Networking. Fun. Meeting CE requirements. Exciting destinations. All in one place. Now cancelled.
Many associations and organizations are taking their conferences online. Virtual meetings are not the same as those in-person experiences, but it’s the next best thing until we can safely convene and learn.
Why should you consider attending a virtual conference?
Virtual events are not new, but during this time of COVID-19, they are becoming the norm and becoming better equipped to align closely with the in-person events we are more familiar with. A virtual conference can still bring that learning experience to you, just in a different format and in the location of your choosing. We’re nurses and we are used to adapting, and we still need to meet our continuing education requirements for licensure and certification. Why not consider attending a virtual event?
Here are some benefits:
- Lower cost – No flights or hotel rooms to book; registration fees may also be reduced.
- Health and safety – Less travel means less exposure to and transmission of COVID-19.
- Curate your own experience – Be selective and take advantage of new opportunities!
What do you need to know before you “go”?
- Map out your schedule. Invest time to plan your schedule, especially if there are overlapping sessions. When available, view the full agenda, including session title, descriptions and speaker bios. Is there a calendar within the event platform or app? Bookmark or add sessions so you don’t miss the ones you are most interested in attending. If session handouts are available, download or view them prior to the start of the virtual event.
- Make sure that your device is compatible. Read the technical instructions closely. Look for instructions about what browser to use. If a ‘System Checker’ is available, run it on your device ahead of time. You don’t want to be downloading applications or making sure you have a solid internet connection during the event. Make a note of how to access Technical Support in case you need help before or during the event.
- Know how to access your CE credits. Do you need to take a test or answer questions? Do you need to complete surveys or evaluations? Plan how you will meet your requirements and access your certificate or transcript. You may need or want to take care of these logistics as you go through the sessions, while the information is fresh in your mind. If that is not an option, take notes as you would at a live event so that you can refer to them later.
Engage with the other attendees and speakers.
If there is an attendee list and/or chat feature, reach out to other attendees and speakers to network and make the most of the event. You may be asked to ‘opt in’ or ‘join’ so that your contact information is visible to allow others to reach out and network with you.
Attend the Exhibit Hall.
If there is a virtual exhibitor showcase, visit the ‘booths’ and learn about services and products that event partners have to offer. Like an in-person event, there may be certain hours that the hall is open, so consider that when you are planning your experience. In some instances, exhibitors may hold live chats or showcases at their booth, or even offer giveaways and raffles to attendees.
View the posters.
Is there a poster session included? Be sure to view the posters; there may even be additional CE available, so check out the details and instructions closely!
Use social media.
Follow, like, share, and tweet and use the conference hashtag before, during and after the event.
Some organizations will grant access to archived sessions. Pay attention to the timing (when they will be available and for how long) so that you don’t miss anything that you want to go back to.
While we all navigate this new normal, I hope that any virtual event you attend is inspiring and educational! Be sure to complete evaluations and/or submit feedback to the planners and presenters to help enhance future events!