September 1, 2022
Dear OADN Members:
In just a few weeks, we will have the opportunity to gather in New Orleans for the 2022 OADN Convention. What a lively city for connecting with colleagues and friends! Add a schedule full of education sessions focused on associate degree nursing education and opportunities for networking and you have a convention that will leave you “Owning your Influence” in new ways.
Knowing I am a more seasoned nurse educator and convention attendee, others have asked why I keep attending each year. Can’t I read an article or watch a webinar about a new trend affecting education? Surely, I must be following influencers on social media and listening to the latest leadership podcasts, right? Well, yes, I am, but none of these activities can replace the annual event of gathering together and I love the OADN Convention experience most of all. Every convention is different, and each has influenced my professional development in a unique way.
When I was a novice faculty, I learned about active learning strategies, simulation, and pedagogy that promotes clinical judgment. I would be texting a peer excitedly, sharing a new idea. At the midpoint in my career, I found myself drawn to more professional development sessions and now, as I transition to administration, I seek sessions about mentoring, curriculum, and accreditation. I already have on my agenda the Saturday morning session about finding one’s voice as a leader and every OADN convention attendee quickly learns that Sunday morning is all about NCLEX. Attending presentations with titles that piqued my interest ultimately made a significant impact by broadening my perspective and helping me to fill in knowledge gaps that I was not even aware of at the time. I encourage you to take a closer look at the schedule and plan to attend those sessions that are important or interesting to you and will help you become your best.
Another key reason for attending convention is meeting others who share your passion. Where else will you find inspirational, enthusiastic leaders and educators whose sole focus for 3 days is associate degree nursing education? OADN conventions have given me the opportunity to talk to with respected peers one-on-one about what they are experiencing and share ideas that have enhanced my practice. When attending a session or poster event, I have the chance to ask the presenter questions about their work, something I cannot do when listening to a podcast or reading an article. Even when presenting my own work, receiving feedback from others has helped me think differently and provided me with new insight.
You may meet someone while sharing a meal or attending a session and make a lasting connection that could dramatically impact your career. It is a connection made at a past convention that inspired me to become more involved with OADN by joining a task force. I hope this year’s convention influences you to become more involved in OADN. Attend a session delivered by the OADN Simulation Committee or leadership presentation. You may be inspired to serve OADN on a committee or task force or apply to be part of the exceptional, new OADN Leadership Institute. The writing-focused session with Anna Valdez may inspire you to submit a manuscript or become a peer reviewer for Teaching and Learning in Nursing.
It should not be overlooked that attending a convention is just fun! In New Orleans you may try new foods (beignets, anyone?) or find time to see a few, local attractions that truly highlight the soul of the city. Traveling with your peers is truly a bonding experience that strengthens relationships and helps ease some of the stress that comes with being a nurse educator. I love the Exhibit Hall (yes, you read that correctly). Where else can you see the latest simulation and testing products, try out new equipment, explore education and professional association opportunities, check out needed services, or my favorite, peruse all the nursing books.
Despite the fatigue from busy days, immersing in convention activities has always left me feeling rejuvenated. I am excited to implement what I learn every year at convention and always inspired to become more involved in OADN. I am already looking forward to who I will see in New Orleans. Hopefully, it will be you!
Mariann Harding, PhD, RN, CNE, FAADN
Chair, OADN Convention Education Planning Committee