Even before I started my nursing course I was keen to find out all I could about this profession that I was eager to be a part of.
I attended my first conference, which was a primary care conference, before I’d even been to my first lecture! Having a chance to network with registered nurses, listen to seminars and get a general feel of nursing was really beneficial.
During first year I attended another primary care conference, knowing this was an area of nursing I was extremely passionate about. There I met a registered practice nurse, who gave me so much invaluable advice and support that we met up during my 2nd year of training.
The conferences helped me become certain that I wanted to work within the primary care field. Although I was working on placements in acute care, I was able to take what I had learnt from the seminars into my own practice. I realised that even if a patient has come in for routine treatment, we still have an opportunity to promote health and make every contact count.
I have been lucky to be able to attend many conferences: Primary Care, Kate Granger conference, Public Health and Practice Nursing conferences. All of which I have attended in my own free time. It has been a juggle at times, and tiring due to travelling, but I can without a doubt say that each one has enhanced my knowledge.
Conferences offer student nurses a chance to network with likeminded nurses and key professionals that you would otherwise not have the chance to meet.
I would recommend all student nurses to at least attend the Royal College of Nursing’s annual congress, this was without a doubt the most amazing experience during my student life to date. Hearing key speakers who are influential in the nursing world discuss matters that affect all of us was inspiring. I certainly took lots back onto placement from this, and knowing so much more than I did has made me feel more confident in my own abilities as a student nurse.
So before you say a conference is not for me, give one a try, you may be pleasantly surprised how much you enjoy it and how much information and advice you can gain.
Louise Goodyear is Student Nursing Times’ student editor for adult branch