Nurses converged on Atlantic City, NJ, for the Trends in Trauma and Cardiovascular Nursing Conference March 27-30.
Unlike last year's stormy weather, the sunshine made for a more enjoyable commute and provided an opportunity to explore the outlets and shops just outside the Atlantic City Convention Center during session breaks.
Inside, nurses were getting the latest information on topics such as sepsis management, therapeutic hypothermia and endovascular surgery.
In addition to the focused clinical education, a theme also ran through the day of appreciation for the nursing profession and the importance of self-care, be it personal or professional.
In his plenary session March 29, "Networking: How to Become the CEO of Your Career," Rod Colon told attendees that gone are the days when hard work speaks for itself, and organizations automatically reward employees and staff for it.
"Where you're heading in your career is your responsibility," said Colon, president, Rod Colon Consulting Inc., LLC. "You are the CEO of you, and you need to be excited about yourself and your career."
Most notably, Colon shared that networking isn't just about finding a job and, therefore, shouldn't cease when you've landed a sought-after position.
Building and maintaining professional relationships, and sharing your dreams and goals, should be an ongoing part of your career management strategy, he said.
Speaking from his own Latino cultural perspective, and recognizing that a full third of the audience comprised Filipino nurses, Colon said he knows self-promotion can be at odds with our upbringing, culture and religion.
His advice? "You need to get comfortable being uncomfortable."
If you don't like the word "networking," he added, think of it as "friendship."
Deb Gauldin, RN, a former obstetric nurse and current singer, songwriter and motivational speaker, came to her session equipped with a love of nurses, a sense of humor and a guitar. And she used them all to help attendees slow down and let go of the worry and hurry.
She warmly greeted those in room, said she hoped everyone got what they needed from her presentation, and broke into song.
Attendees erupted with laughter as Gauldin belted out a bluesy tune that recounted the trials of a "Big-Legged Woman."
After that effective ice-breaker, Gauldin talked about ways nurses can find satisfaction in their work and personal lives, which she said has been demonstrated to correlate with better health.
Some ideas she shared were related to meditation, or simply setting aside time each day to "stop the chatter in your brain" and reconnect with the value of the task at hand.
She cited as an example, HeartMath, a method used by Delnor Community Hospital in Geneva, IL, to help employees diffuse anger and frustration by harnessing feelings of gratitude and releasing judgment.
Lastly, she called upon attendees to practice gratitude and embrace what is, instead of remaining focused on how you imagined things might be.
In Your Shoes
Irene Stemler, BSN, RN, invited attendees to share their nursing histories during "Generous Listening, Powerful Stories."
|GENEROUS LISTENERS: Critical care nurses share their stories with ADVANCE at this Spring's Trends conference.
ADVANCE had the unique opportunity to hear from each of five nurses, including:
- Joan Burns, MS, BSN, RN, PCCN, from South Jersey Health Care in Elmer;
- Donna Turner, BSN, RN, CCRN, from Nemours/A I DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, DE;
- Marianita Mantilla, BSN, RNC-NIC, CCRN, from Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark, NJ; and
- Anne Marie Paris, BSN, CCRN, and Lisa Gretz, RN, CCRN, both from Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton, PA.
Each nurse shared how she entered the profession and what has kept her practicing, in some cases for many decades.
While experience has taught her that negative stories about errors and tragedy can sometimes be deemed more newsworthy by the media, Stemler knows there is more good than bad in the profession.
This is where she believes the power of nursing lies - in your ability to tell your positive nursing story.
She called attendees to action, and shared a story of a friend who, everywhere she goes, tells people "I'm a nurse," and she would appreciate it if they would donate blood.
Barbara Mercer is managing editor at ADVANCE.
All nurses, Stemler told the audience, should never underestimate the power of that phrase: "I'm a nurse and . insert the thing you are passionate about."