Why You Should Attend Conferences
More people are asking how to get free CEUs online. It is about getting the credits and maybe learning something new. However, there is a great deal to be said for taking a day or two out of your schedule to attend a conference once or twice a year.
There is so much to be gained by attending a course that you cannot get when you take a course online. You get the opportunity to interact with the person giving the talk. This gives you a chance to not just learn a new topic but also to think about it in a different way. Asking questions and seeing the speaker and their passion and excitement may help you regain that excitement you had when you first came into the program. It may help you think of something in a different way, a way that could make more sense or give you ideas that could change what you do and how you do it.
The other thing it gives you is networking opportunities. You may be tired of hearing about networking but it is very valuable. Not just for jobs but because you never know what someone can help you with. Our community is small and very supportive. There are creative people doing research, changing positions, and creating new ideas in our field. You may be able to help them or they may be able to help you. If you are managing a lab and need a new P&P, someone may have one already written. If you are starting a CPAP clinic, there are others out there who have done it successfully. Having a face to go with the name of the person can help when you need that little something.
You may think that taking a day off and going to a conference is not that important, but I would never have had the opportunity to teach if it was not for meeting someone at a conference. I would not have been able to update my QA, if it was not for meeting someone at a conference and hearing her ideas on how to make QA painless. I would never have started writing this blog if not for a conference where I was inspired to share my knowledge.
Take a day this year and attend a conference in your area. You will never regret it.
Editor's note: Planning your educational agenda? Look no further than our 2012 guide to conferences, with more than 100 state, regional, and national conferences. ADVANCE Insiders can download the guide at http://respiratory-care-sleep-medicine.advanceweb.com/Web-Extras/Online-Extras/2012-Conference-Respiratory-Care-Sleep-Medicine.aspx