Sunday, May 26, 2013

Nurse Conference Week

Last week I had the opportunity to go to the National Teaching Institute's Conference in Boston, hosted by the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN). It's an annual conference and I've never been to it before, but with the location being so close to home (read: not paying extra for travel and hotels), it seemed pretty hard to pass up. I went with several co-workers from my job and a few thousand other nurses from across the nation.

Here's the breakdown of my week:

- 8AM "Need More Nurses: Educator and Faculty Opportunities for Critical Care Nurses and APNs" I'll share more about this in another blog post
- 10AM AACN's President Address ... this was basically a huge pep rally for nurses, glow sticks and DJ included.
- 12:30PM "Power, Persuasion of Influence: Which Skill Do You Really Need to Create Change"
- 2:15PM "Sedation Management in the ICU"
- 4PM "Beyond Tired: Experiences in Prevention and Treatment of Emotional Exhaustion in High Acuity Nurses" I'll share more about this in another blog post

... late Monday night, William started having kidney stone pains again. He was up, rolling around in bed in pain, until about 2:30AM when I finally convinced him to go to the ER. We spent the rest of the night in the ER, getting a CT scan, IV fluids, and more pain medication prescriptions. I got home technically in time to shower and make it to the conference, but I had 1.5 hours of sleep that night, and I knew that sitting in a conference all day would not go very well. Plus, I was carpooling with a few co-workers, and feeling like I couldn't get home if Will called made me uneasy. So I stayed home with Will on Tuesday.

- first hand practice at home health nursing with my husband ;)

- 8AM "Endocrine Emergencies: Maximizing Outcomes" This was a lot about diabetes management and some other diseases dealing with the thyroid and adrenal glands
- 9:45AM "Hepatorenal Syndrome: Issues, Answers and Management in Progressive Care" I wish I had chosen another session instead of this. I wanted to learn about liver/kidney disease, but most of this guy's talk was about starting new protocols within a hospital. Womp womp.
- 11AM I met with some old UVA co-workers for lunch! It was so nice to catch up and hear about what was going on with my old stomping grounds! It made me miss my old job and co-workers a bunch, though. .I'm so grateful to have gotten some time with them!
- 1:15PM "Early Palliative Interventions for the Critical Care Patient" I'll share more about this in another blog post
- 2:30PM I wandered around the HUGE "Expo Hall", which has hundreds of product vendors, displays, and recruiting services. You get a ton of free stuff (pens, bags, sanitizing hand gels, etc) and see lots of the latest and greatest gadgets and technology in healthcare. My co-worker calls it "Hill Billy Shopping" : )

- 8AM "Super High BMI: Coming Soon to a Critical Care Unit Near You" I'll share more about this in another blog post
- 10AM "Caring for the Chronic Pain Patient in the ICU"
- 11:45AM "I'll Drink to That: Caring for Patients with Alcohol-Related Critical Illness" I thought this would be about the effects of alcoholism and withdrawal. A large percentage of the patients I care for all under those two categories, so I wanted to get more details about them. It was actually about dealing with emergencies related to alternative alcohol usage... such as drinking antifreeze or mouthwash to get drunk. Not was I was hoping for, but still very interesting!

As you can see, it was a packed week. I plan to blog about a few of those topics because they can create a great dialogue about issues concerning nurses and consumers of our healthcare system. In general, a lot of presenters mentioned or discussed the changes anticipated with the Patient Safety and Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), but all of those discussions were founded on various hypotheticals... because most people still don't know what will happen when those changes roll out!

Anyway, that's what my last week was all about.

Happy Memorial Day weekend! It's chilly up here, but supposed to warm up tomorrow. I'll be hanging out with patients for the holiday, and then our anniversary trip/vacation starts at 3:31PM on Thursday : )

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