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Professional Conferences: Get Re-Energized About Your Nursing Career

I was reminded this morning of the value of going to travel for conferences.  Someone I had met 18 months ago at a conference in Brazil emailed me about a really interesting project with multiple benefits to my organization and career.  It's the second project to come out of that conference and a valuable network connection.

So there are lots of conferences out there for nurses and health care professionals.  Some are specific to your specialty, some are great places for general practice resources.

Most of all, what conferences can provide you is moral support for the work we do.

When you find other nurses who understand the challenges of the patients you care for and are trying to help, you realize you are not alone in the clinical practice world.

When you find other nurses who also happen to have an unsupportive manager, toxic personalities on their units, and other relationship challenges that affect the work environment, you know other people understand what you do at a deep level.

That will re-energize you.

Sometimes it may even give you the push you need to make a change.  Thinking about applying for a new position?  Go to a conference and talk to people outside your organization already in that position. Get an idea of what the job is like.

Thinking about returning for your BSN or going to graduate school?  Conferences are a great place to find people who are doing it or have already done it.  Just like with your patients, take the opportunity to assess the situation and figure out if it is the right move for you.

Make your networking LIVE and not just online through social media.  You never know what kind of opportunities might result.  Live connections still have lots of value in our digital media world.

Above all else, a conference can help you get a break.  Nurses are bad at taking vacations and in my experience, this is true all over the world.  A conference can often feel like being away and getting a break while still developing yourself professionally.

But my employer won't pay my expenses.

Not a reason not to go.  In the US, your conference expenses (like your uniforms and books/tuition for going back to school) are tax deductible professional expenses.  Take the time to invest in yourself.

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