There are countless reasons to attend a professional conference, no matter what line of work you’re in. However, with the rapidly shifting landscape of health care in America and the ways in which medical services are administered, attending an EMS conference in your area can go an especially long way in making you a better responder. Here are my top 6 reasons for finding and attending an EMS conference in your area or a national meeting if you have the opportunity to do so.
Reason #1: Networking
This is by far the single most important benefit from attending EMS conferences. You will meet more EMS professionals and make more connections in the industry inside of 2 or 3 days than others might in an entire career. At every conference, job connections are made and ideas shared. This can lead to career mobility as well as better care for patients.
Reason #2: Staying up-to-date
As previously mentioned, in EMS, the way we deliver care is changing rapidly. Not only does medicine itself change over time, but the administration, ethical, and legal building blocks that all tie together behind the scenes change quickly as well. By attending a regional or national conference, you’ll be investing in your own career by ensuring that you’re on top of or ahead of current trends.
Reason #3: Learn something new
I’ve attended many conferences both in the interest of personal and professional development in my life and my mindset is always the same with each; I go into each and every one expecting to walk away with one new idea for my life or career. I don’t expect to walk away a completely new person with an entirely new direction, I just open my mind up to finding one really useful idea that I can walk away with. This keeps me focused on ensuring that I’m absorbing as much as I can from all of the different sessions, but also prevents me from getting overwhelmed with information overload.
Reason #4: Get fired up…again!
It’s not uncommon, especially in EMS with long, inconsistent, and physical shifts, to get a little burned out and stagnant in your job. Attending an EMS conference might just light a fire under you to get you excited about your career again. This might even lead to you seeking out a more advanced certification or becoming an instructor. You’ll no doubt come away excited and fired up after attending a conference, it’s what you do with that motivation and energy back home that will count.
Reason #5: Check out new technology
At many EMS industry conferences, medical equipment manufacturers or distributors are on hand during expo hours to show off new devices and technology. It’s always amazing to see how quickly technology is advancing and even if you’re not in charge of getting budgets approved for your organization, it can help sharpen your game to know what’s out there and how it’s changing the face of emergency medicine.
Reason #6: Have a little fun someplace new
America is a beautiful and diverse country and one of my favorite reasons for attending conferences is simply to check out a new city, enjoy some new restaurants, and see new sites. Whether your attending a regional or national conference, you’ll have a great excuse to get out of your neck of the woods and possibly enjoy a city you haven’t visited before.
The National Association of State EMS Officials (NASEMSO) hosts a pretty comprehensive calendar of regional EMS conferences and symposiums at http://www.nasemso.org/Resources/Calendar/. EMS World also maintains a good schedule of upcoming events available at http://www.emsworld.com/events.