Rolling on the river: Truth's first conference a big success!
April 15-17, 2011 -- This weekend nursing supporters from around the world participated in The Truth About Nursing's first conference, held at the beautiful Renaissance Arts Hotel in New Orleans. Participants reported that it was one of the most empowering and informative nursing conferences they had ever attended. They said they got many good ideas for moving nursing forward and a renewed sense of hope about the profession's future -- as well as having a great time! (See some of their comments below.) And those of us who gave presentations learned a lot from those who attended the conference about the challenges and opportunities for nursing practice around the world. Thank you!
The conference was Empowering Nurses and Improving Care Through Better Understanding of Nursing. Keynote speaker Kathleen Bartholomew gave us valuable insights on how to improve work relations and patient safety by viewing our relationship to the patient as the central one. She urged us to consider viewing caregivers as being like a tribe encircling the patient, each with an equal duty to speak up about anything dangerous.
Our hilarious endnote speaker Donna Cardillo encouraged nurses to build alliances, not tear each other down, and to speak up and speak out for nursing. She challenged nurses to present themselves as professionals, which means asking for what they want, learning interpersonal skills like how to take a compliment and how to shake hands, and embracing public speaking as a way to enhance respect for the profession.
And Truth director Sandy Summers (with help from Truth senior advisor Harry Summers) addressed the media's portrayal of nursing, including the threat it poses to nursing practice and patient health, and how we can all work together to improve understanding of the profession.
Other conference speakers offered important and compelling presentations. Educator Ellen Ceppetelli described her program at Dartmouth educating medical students by having them follow nurses at work; she read telling "before and after" quotes that showed how much respect students gained for nursing just by shadowing nurses for a few hours. Penny Kaye Jensen, President of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, and her APRN colleagues discussed the poor portrayal of APRNs in the media and the perpetuation of misconceptions about APRNs by some physician groups. And representatives of Rutgers University's 2012 Project, including former Washington state legislator Jennifer Belcher, talked about ways to get more nurses into politics and inspired us to increase the profession's involvement in public policy activities.
Another conference highlight was the nine stories of nursing empowerment delivered in the exciting Pecha-Kecha style (in which each speaker's presentation was limited to 20 slides auto-programmed to show for only 20 seconds per slide). Nursing experts from around the world discussed topics including improving the portrayal and standing of nurses in Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia, how to prevent and recover from medication errors, the growth of nurse-focused clinics, and innovative nurse-led programs to teach Boy and Girl Scouts about nursing. We learned how recruitment ads affect nursing retention, and heard an Irish scholar explain her study of YouTube images of nursing. And the Truth's Las Vegas chapter president described the exciting protest she led last year outside a nightclub that was hosting a naughty nurse costume contest.
It was not all work. We took a lovely break on Saturday evening for a Riverboat Jazz Dinner Cruise on the Mississippi River. And throughout the weekend we enjoyed the food and culture of the Crescent City.
Overall, conference participants learned how to improve nurses' relations with the public, the media, decision-makers, and colleagues, with a focus on improving understanding. We hope everyone developed a stronger sense of nursing empowerment. That work is critical in helping the profession get the respect and resources that it deserves and that patients need nurses to have. If you were unable to join us at this, our first conference, we hope that you will be able to join us at the next one. We appreciate the involvement of all who attended. And we look forward to working with you to help nursing move ahead!
Below are some comments of those who attended the Truth's conference:
"Truly one of the best nursing conferences I have attended. Our image of nursing in media and the general public can and does have a profound effect on nursing shortages, and nursing burnout. Great, inspirational speakers offering lots of tools that I will definitely share with the nurses at our hospital. This was a great eye opener." Adrienne Fugett, RN, BSN, MBA, Magnet Program Manager, University of New Mexico Hospital
"I REALLY enjoyed the conference. I was very inspired, and got a lot of good ideas. I am planning to start a chapter in the San Francisco Bay Area. Thanks so much for all your efforts. You have given me hope." Karen Frey, RN, MS, PNP, Oakland Medical Center
"I always judge the quality of a conference by the enthusiasm and new thoughts that I come home with. Your conference was awesome! I am bubbling over with new ideas to incorporate into my course." Pat Woods, RN, MScN, Faculty, Langara College of Nursing, Vancouver, British Columbia
"I want to thank you and your organization for providing an excellent conference and an excellent conference experience over all. The sessions were informative and constructive and the speakers were uniformly excellent." Joan Britten, Assistant Director of Public Relations, University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing
"Thanks so much for the awesome conference. Thanks so much for being such a great host and putting together such a great conference." Greg Riehl RN BScN MA Program Head, Nurse Re-entry, Basic Critical Care Nursing Programs, Saskatchewan Institute of Applied Science and Technology
"Congratulations on your first Truth conference....It was truly a powerhouse of individuals who are committed to making a positive difference in nursing." Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, The Career Guru for Nurses
See the conference: