Upon my arrival home from an excellent international conference, I read Maureen Shawn Kennedy's Editorial, “Facebook, LinkedIn—What About ‘Hello’?” (April), regarding the value of face-to-face networking and collegiality at national conferences. I found myself smiling in agreement.
I hope face-to-face networking isn't becoming outmoded. Almost all of my nursing positions have resulted from face-to-face networking at conferences and nursing organizations, and I have been fortunate in my opportunities in those positions.
As Kennedy says, meetings provide a large-scale forum for discussing important professional issues, sharing innovations, and disseminating our work. One of the most important aspects of these conferences is connecting with friends and meeting new colleagues. Truly, this sustains our profession, my specialty of psychiatric mental health nursing, and me.
I recently attended the International Society of Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurses (ISPN) Psychopharmacology Institute and Annual Conference. It was excellent, informative, inspiring, and fun. I enjoyed connecting with friends and colleagues—leaders, policymakers, clinicians, educators, and researchers—from around the United States and other countries.
Before the conference, experienced ISPN members were paired with new members. I had the good fortune to be matched with an accomplished psychiatric nurse and educator from the United Kingdom. We enjoyed getting to know each other, joining in activities with other attendees and speakers, and discovering that we face many of the same issues in our respective countries.
Like Kennedy, I would also ask nurses: Why not let this happen for you?
Pamela Minarik, PhD, RN, CNS, FAAN