Conference time! We don't know what we don't know.

I spent the past week in San Diego at NTI, a nursing conference put on by The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. I was inspired and renewed surrounded by 8,000 nurses attending the conference. The speakers were dynamic and presented topics ranging from pharmacology, sepsis and evidenced based practices to health care reform and healthy work environments.

Just a few of the 8,000 nurses at NTI

Just a few of the 8,000 nurses at NTI

I was joined by a coworker and met some former colleagues. The hardest job I ever loved was working in the Intensive Care Unit of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. The staff was incredibly cohesive, supportive, professional and on top of their game. I left that position to move out West as a traveling nurse. Who would have guessed that Tamiesha, a traveling nurse from Baltimore put down roots in the very same unit at Sloan-Kettering and introduced herself to me at happy hour? Although we never worked along side each other, I felt a camaraderie with her as if we were from the same family of sorts. We had so much fun comparing notes on the cast of characters and our paths of our careers.

Tamiesha and I connecting at happy hour

Tamiesha and I connecting at happy hour

I also had the opportunity to connect with people who I had previously only known through social media, such as Katie Kleber from Nurse Eye Roll. Did you know that 30% of new nurses leave their job within the first year? That was one of many interesting factoids I learned in San Diego. Katie has done a great job supporting new nurses with her blog and her book Becoming Nursey. Stay tuned for a future post with my interview with Nurse Eye Roll.

This coming week I will be attending a High Risk-Obstetric Conference conveniently located in San Francisco. I’m looking forward to spending time with my coworkers and immersing myself in my specialty. If you have never been to a conference, I would encourage you to put one on your calendar this year or next year. I’ve been to NTI through AACN, ONS (oncology), AANN (neuro), Medical-Surgical Nursing Conference in San Francisco and Symposia Medicus. Ask your clinical nurse specialist for a recommendation or rally your coworkers to join you. It can light a spark if you are feeling a little stale or burned out. It also allows you the opportunity to compare your protocols with hospitals across the country, see new trends and you might even be inspired to do a poster presentation or speak at a breakout session. Someone told me they got a new job while waiting in line for the ladies room! So if your resume can’t progress beyond the recruiter, pack up some resumes and check out a nursing conference.