Learn, Connect, Share: HIMSS18

Learn, Connect, Share: HIMSS18

By Cheryl D. Parker, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, FHIMSS, Clinical Associate Professor – Informatics at The University of Texas at Tyler

Over the years, it has always been interesting to see how some of my colleagues never go to conferences, others rarely go and some go on a regular basis.  Some go because it is required by their current job, some because they are active in the leadership of the sponsoring association and others choose to go on their own. And in today's world, there are so many opportunities for education such as webinars, online university courses and how-to videos on YouTube. What value do conferences such as HIMSS18 bring?  

Here are my top 5 reasons for attending conferences even in today's digital world:

  1. Networking – the old fashion face-to-face networking.  Social media is great for staying connected but there is still nothing like a face-to-face meeting to establish a new connection.  Finding a mentor or mentee can be a great benefit of conference attendance.
  2. New Toys – one of my most enjoyable things at a conference is to visit the exhibit hall – especially the newer vendors to help find new ways of working.  Easiest way to get quick demos and nice Q&A time with those that interest you.  I've learned you never know who you are talking to….maybe even your next employer!
  3. A smorgasbord of learning – if you aren't inspired by one presentation…move on to another.  And look for the quick learning opportunities such as "snap sessions" which tend to be very practical.
  4. Insights into the future – it's easy to get complacent going to the same job day after day.   But are you getting the big picture of your industry? What are the new skills sets you should be developing? What health system might be on the auction block for acquisition? What might have an impact on your future?
  5. Energy – the opportunity to be around others who are interested in the same concepts, issues and who even have similar challenges can help top off your mental batteries!


What are your reasons for attending or not attending professional conferences?  


About the Contributor

Dr. Parker is the Clinical Associate Professor - Informatics at The University of Texas at Tyler. She has over 35 years’ experience in the healthcare industry including clinical nursing, management, nursing informatics and education – both corporate and academic.