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The Ultimate Newbie’s Guide to Nursing Educator Conferences (Part 1)

January 10, 2024

By Kateri Gabriele

Finding the right conference for you

sim2grow OADN23

A great nursing conference offers a number of benefits to a nurse educator's career and professional life. The conference setting is perhaps the best networking opportunity at every stage of your nursing career, allowing the space to connect with peers, exchange ideas, and build relationships. The diverse educational offerings, including keynote speeches, workshops, and panel discussions, make conferences a hub for learning about the latest trends, technologies, and best practices in the field.

Beyond personal development, conferences also contribute to career advancement by providing a platform to showcase your work, gain recognition, and acquire new skills.

Exposure to novel ideas, technologies, and trends not only broadens perspectives but also ensures professionals stay current and relevant in their respective fields. When we’re at conferences, we get to talk to nurse educators about medication administration simulation, which can be a new type of simulation to some of the people we talk to. For others, our product offers a new, less expensive way to practice the key skill of med pass practice.

Additionally, conferences foster a sense of giving back, encouraging attendees to share their expertise through presentations, contributing to the collective body of knowledge and offering support to those new to the field.

Every conference offers an opportunity for learning and growth—which is why it’s important to pick the right ones for your goals, and ensure you’re prepared to make the very most of what they offer.

Choosing the right conference: Education vs. simulation conferences

There are so many types of conferences—the options can be overwhelming. We’re going to focus on two main categories: nursing education and nursing simulation.

Nursing education conferences provide a platform for educators, faculty, and professionals in the nursing education field to discuss innovations, best practices, and challenges in nursing education.

Nursing simulation conferences focus on the use and advancement of simulation techniques in nursing education and practice, offering a space to network, share and engage on the latest methodologies dedicated to advancing healthcare simulation outcomes.

Nursing simulation conferences offer a number of benefits for various stages and pathways within the nursing profession.

  • Nurse educators: Stay updated on the latest simulation techniques, technology integration, and best practices in nursing education.
  • Clinical instructors: Learn about effective clinical teaching strategies, simulation tools, and methods for bridging the gap between theory and practice.
  • Nursing faculty: Explore innovations in teaching methodologies, curriculum development, and assessment techniques.
  • Nursing Program Directors: Gain insights into the latest trends in simulation, accreditation standards, and strategies for program improvement.
  • Simulation Specialists/Technologists: Stay informed about cutting-edge simulation technologies, share experiences with peers, and enhance simulation program effectiveness.

Professional nursing education conferences are also designed to cater to a diverse audience within the nursing profession, including at various levels of experience and responsibility.

  • Nurse educators: Stay updated on best practices in teaching, learn about innovative educational strategies, and engage with peers in the field.
  • Nursing faculty: Gain insights into the latest trends in nursing education, accreditation standards, and educational technology.
  • Clinical instructors: Learn about effective clinical teaching methods, advancements in healthcare education, and strategies for student success.
  • Nursing program directors: Gain knowledge on curriculum development, program assessment, and strategies for program improvement.

When should you choose both?

Attending both simulation and education focused conferences can help faculty understand how to best integrate simulation education modalities and experiences into their curriculum, aligning the simulation objectives to critical nursing education standards and competencies.

Picking the right event

When starting your conference search, it’s worth first considering the top five nursing conferences that are widely recognized as being among the best and most valuable experiences. These include:

  • National League for Nursing (NLN) Education Summit: This conference is held annually by the NLN, which is a leading organization for nursing education. The conference focuses on topics such as curriculum development, assessment and evaluation, and leadership in nursing education.
  • International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) Conference: This conference is focused on the use of simulation in nursing education. It offers workshops, presentations, and networking opportunities for educators who use simulation to train nursing students.
  • Sigma Theta Tau International (STTI) Nursing Education Research Conference: This conference is focused on nursing education research and provides an opportunity for nursing faculty to present and learn about the latest research in nursing education.
  • Nurse Educator Conference: This conference is organized by the National Organization for Associate Degree Nursing (NOADN) and is focused on topics related to associate degree nursing education. It provides an opportunity for nursing faculty to share best practices, network, and learn about new trends and developments in associate degree nursing education.
  • American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Annual Conference: This conference brings together nursing faculty, deans, and other leaders in nursing education to discuss current issues and trends in nursing education. It provides opportunities for networking, professional development, and learning about new developments in nursing education.

This is just a small sample of the many nursing education conferences available. It's important to research different conferences and choose the ones that best fit your interests and needs. If you are new to conferences, we often recommend starting small: choose a small, one-day conference near home and then branch out to bigger, longer conferences. This was exactly our approach when our business was small and we were new exhibitors. Try these ideas to find a local conference that aligns with your interests and professional goals:

  • Explore websites of nursing organizations and associations at the local, regional, or national level. These organizations often host or promote nursing conferences.
  • Check the websites of nursing schools, universities, and colleges in your region. They may host or participate in local conferences and events.
  • Reach out to local nursing schools and inquire about upcoming conferences or workshops. They may offer information on educational events open to the public.
  • Explore online event platforms such as Eventbrite, Meetup, or local community event calendars.
  • Search for keywords like "nursing education," "nursing conference," or related terms in your city or region.
  • Check professional nursing journals and publications for announcements and advertisements regarding local conferences.
  • Join nursing education-related groups on social media platforms (e.g., Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter) that cater to your local area.
  • Inquire with local hospitals and healthcare facilities about any upcoming nursing education conferences or events.
  • Attend local nursing meetings, workshops, or seminars, where organizers may announce upcoming conferences.
  • Check the websites or contact local health departments and government health agencies.
  • Reach out to colleagues, peers, or mentors in the nursing profession.
  • Subscribe to newsletters from nursing organizations, educational institutions, or healthcare entities.

Remember to verify conference details such as dates, locations, and registration requirements before planning to attend. The bonus to attending a conference in a new city is getting to build in some time to take in the sights or plan an excursion—a great way to reward yourself for a successful conference event!

Pros and cons of virtual attendance

Virtual attendance at conferences is also an option in some cases. While not getting the benefits of networking or experiencing the exhibit hall, this is often a less expensive option and can work when there is content at a conference that is important to you, but the timing doesn’t work for travel.

Now that we’ve covered conference categories, how to find them, and how to choose the right one(s) for you, in part two we’ll dive into preparing for the conference and navigating the experience once you’re there to make the most of the opportunity. Meanwhile, make sure to stop by our booth at the next conference we’re at! Sign up for our newsletter to learn more about our schedule.