AORN Blog - The Periop Life

First-Time Expo Attendee: Prepare to Expand Your Horizons

First-Time Expo Attendee: Prepare to Expand Your Horizons

April 10, 2018     

Alexis E. Flanders, MSN, RN

Alexis E. Flanders, MSN, RN, was a first-time attendee of AORN’s Global Surgical Conference & Expo. Back at work now, she took time out of her busy OR schedule to reflect on her conference experience in New Orleans.

Flanders has been a nurse since 2009 and is a Travel Operating Room Nurse with Cross Country TravCorps currently on assignment in southern Mississippi. She lives in Tennessee when not traveling, and takes her one-eyed Labrador Winston on the road with her.

Share a few of the education sessions you attended and what information you found most useful.

Perioperative Teamwork and Communication: I attended this session first due to the importance of communication in healthcare. Learning how simple miscommunications can have life-or-death consequences made a huge impact on my practice goals.

Test your Liability IQ was an eye opener, too. As a nurse, documentation is the only proof we have once the patient leaves our care. Being more mindful to document everything you do, not assuming that it will be implied, hopefully will decrease our chances of being sued.

I participated in some focus groups and learned about how products are to be better marketed for the needs of the department. It was a change of pace to be a part of development and share my concerns with a manufacturer.

While Workplace Violence is a hard topic to cover, it’s not going away. Learning techniques to de-escalate and how to avoid conflict is a lifelong learning project.

What advice would you give to a first-time attendee next year in Nashville?

Be prepared to expand your horizons! Go to sessions that interest you. There is an abundance of topics that are vital to your practice now and in the future.

Also, obtaining contact hours in person allows you to hear questions asked by your peers. As a perioperative nurse, my focus is case-oriented and my downtime is simply limited. Online learning allows me to become easily distracted. In-person CEs prompted me to focus and respect the speaker and content more.

Also, get some Nashville hot chicken. I highly recommend putting it on your to-do list.

What was your favorite part of Global Surgical Conference & Expo?

I really enjoyed the exhibit hall. There were countless vendors and products that are new or different from the locations that I have traveled. It was overwhelming at first, but I appreciated product demonstrations and the hands-on learning. There were simulations in the exhibit hall that were outstanding and worth being a part of during the conference.

What was the most significant take-away from Global Surgical Conference & Expo that you’ll take back to your team?

You truly never stop learning as a nurse. I was able to talk with my colleagues about the sessions I attended and product demonstrations and they shared my same excitement for the future of the operating room. The love for learning translates to our love of providing quality and compassionate patient care.

Since the conference is a great place to connect with other periop nurses, can you share a specific networking experience you had?

As crazy as this may sound, I actually met a lot of the wonderful men and women that work for AORN. You know when someone sponsors an event and you never actually see a human from the organization? AORN was in the building, like Elvis, but alive. I fangirled a bit because this is an organization that has helped shape my career and I was overwhelmed with meeting all of the people that made this conference possible. And here I am, sharing my amazing conference experience in this blog.

Make plans to join Flanders in Nashville at Global Surgical Conference & Expo 2019. Housing is now open for next year’s conference in Nashville, TN, April 6–10, 2019. Book through AORN’s housing partner to receive the best availability and lowest rates in the city.