One of the best ways to get the nursing continuing education credits you need while also doing a bit of networking (and having some fun) is to attend nursing conferences. Professional nursing conferences are most commonly offered by hospitals, nursing specialization boards, the American Nurses Association, and the National League for Nursing. Providing education, conference speakers, and the chance to develop new skills, these conferences run the range of week-long affairs to an afternoon or two a few times per year.
Why Attend a Nursing Conference?
For many nurses, conferences aren’t optional. Whether you are in need of continuing education credits, or if your place of employment requires it, some nurses might be required to attend a certain number of conference hours each year. Local or national nursing associations might also require members to attend once or twice in order to keep the membership current.
Not everyone who goes to a conference has to be there; in fact, for many working professionals and student nurses, this is a unique chance to meet others in the field and to develop contacts and relationships for the future. The chance to boost your education is a great draw, as well, since part of being a great nurse is always growing and developing within the profession. In some cases, attending conferences can help boost you toward a goal of a specialty certification.
How Much Do Nursing Conferences Cost?
Because these are highly organized events, often including famous educators and speakers, there is almost always a registration cost associated with a conference. Additional considerations include travel and hotel costs, meals, and time spent away from work—all of which can add up to a large investment. For some nurses, these costs are covered by a hospital or other place of employment; for everyone else, it is a tax-deductible purchase.
Depending on how far you travel and what type of conference it is, you can pay anywhere from a few hundred dollars to a few thousand. Some local nursing associations offer scholarships to help pay for the trip, and even the conferences themselves might have discounts or payment waivers for those unable to cover the whole costs.