The season for meetings: Why I attend them (and why you should too)

May 3, 2016

With the AUA annual meeting beginning Friday, UT blogger Adele M. Caruso, MSN, CRNP, reflects on the benefits of professional meeting attendance.

Adele M. Caruso, MSN, CRNPUrology Times

 

An accumulating body of knowledge suggests that interconnected people live longer. The number and quality of relationships people hold in their personal and professional life relate to happiness and longevity. During this season for meetings, I challenge you to reach out to your professional roots.  In this blog post, I will share what my experiences with professional meetings have taught me.

Also by Adele Caruso, MSN, CRNP - Renal cancer follow-up: Find the happy medium

Cultivate, enrich professional roots. The season for meetings provides an opportunity to form a habit of meeting attendance and establish patterns of interconnectedness. Make it a point to regularly attend your regional, state, and national meetings. There is pertinent material from the various venues that may impact optimal practice at the professional and political levels.

Network with colleagues. Networking with both your advanced practice and physician colleagues offers exposure to unique perspectives, and will undoubtedly enrich your professional life and enhance your individual practice.  Networking is valuable and allows us to form advantageous relationships with like-minded people.  Whether at a national meeting or a more informal casual setting, the opportunities to mingle are abundant.  Networking affords new opportunities at any stage of your career.

Educational opportunities. The national meetings tout a myriad of state-of-the-art lectures, micro expertise, and traditional courses.  Stay current with the knowledge and skills that relate to professional practice and your general field of interest.  The specialty meetings provide experiences to hone your skills and often allow one to enjoy an exotic location. I have to admit that for me, a meeting in a breathtaking ski destination is my preference in the winter, followed by travel to a haven with a “wow” landscape in the summer.

Related - AUA 2016 checklist: 10 ways to maximize the meeting

Garner wisdom from leaders in the field. Many living legends roam meeting sites. Some of these giants in urology are up on stage; others work quietly behind the scenes. Their vast knowledge is an invaluable resource. I am fortunate to have a few of those legends as my collaborating physicians as well as nurse practitioner (NP) colleagues and friends. Their influence certainly inspires one to do more, and in many cases, galvanizes the troops to pursue further research and often motivates others to find solutions to practice dilemmas.

Next: Don't forget regional/state/national NP meetings

 

Don’t forget regional/state/national NP meetings. My local group of NPs is a regional group that is part of the state organization called the Pennsylvania Coalition of Nurse Practitioners. This state group, started by three NP pioneers in rural Pennsylvania, has expanded over the years to include approximately 1,700 nurse practitioners. The NP national meetings are quite an event, often with greater than 5,000 in attendance. The poster presentations now boast a large scale of original evidence-based research approaching the rigor of our physician colleagues. The memories of our journey through countless professional travails have shaped who we are as clinicians and thought leaders in our community.

Read - AUA 2016: Experts offer guidance on the meeting

The power of advanced education. Many advanced practice nurses are seeking advanced education in the form of doctoral preparation, with a movement toward the doctorate in nursing practice as the terminal degree for a nurse practitioner. I am currently pursuing my doctorate at Vanderbilt University and am in awe of the extraordinary talent that exists among my classmates from the United States and across the globe. This class, like others, has the next generation of fine leaders and legends in its midst. Meeting attendance is especially beneficial to those pursuing advanced education, as the exposure to the urology community provides not only inspiration but a framework for study.

Will those interconnected advanced practice nurses and physician assistants fare better in their careers? I would say yes, and they are likely to express more happiness with their professional life and potentially more longevity in their careers!

As always, please feel free to email me and share your perspectives.

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