A new year offers new beginnings. In that spirit, consider this self-assessment question: When you attend a work function, conference, or a community or social event, what is your interaction style? Do you prefer speaking with only people you know, or do you mingle and meet others? There's comfort in the known and predictable, but the trade-off is the loss of opportunities to establish new connections. Social conversations may reveal shared interests and challenges as well as insights. Although not every interaction leads to a lasting connection, the value may come in unexpected ways.
I once met a nurse at a conference; we spoke briefly during a session. A few months later, I flew to Chicago for a meeting and discovered that the meeting organizer erroneously canceled my reservation. With no hotel room at 10:00 p.m. in a city hosting a large convention, I pondered my very limited options at the desk. Then the same nurse I met a few months earlier walked up to say hello. When I explained my dilemma, she offered to let me stay in her room. The hotel manager responded by unexpectedly offering us a very high-end suite with two bedrooms at a regular room rate if we roomed together. We both enjoyed amazing accommodations because of a prior chance encounter and her kindness.
Another encounter at a conference coffee break led to my talking with two nurses, a husband and wife, who were interested in writing for Nursing journal. As we discussed article topics, I learned that they instructed a course that my husband and I needed for our Wilderness Medicine Fellowship. The end result: All parties achieved their goals and lasting friendships developed.
Over the years, meeting new people has linked me to writing projects, educational endeavors, committee involvement, travel, and many enduring relationships, both professional and personal. It's not about wondering, “What's in it for me?” The objective is to expand your professional network and seek to contribute, learn, and grow in mutually beneficial ways. That includes opening your circle to disciplines and diverse individuals who may not be nurses. Connecting is a two-way street. The only expectation should be the chance to meet someone and engage in conversation. What follows just might influence your thinking or perhaps even your career path.
Happy New Year!
LINDA LASKOWSKI-JONES, MS, APRN, ACNS-BC, CEN, FAWM, FAAN
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, NURSING2019 VICE PRESIDENT: EMERGENCY & TRAUMA SERVICES CHRISTIANA CARE HEALTH SYSTEM, WILMINGTON, DEL.