The importance of sharing your work at conferences, events and via social media

Jo Odell, FoNS Practice Development Facilitator

On the 6 and 7 March I attended the 5th Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives conference in London. About six months ago I submitted an abstract to present both a poster and a concurrent session. You may wonder why there is a six month gap, but this lead in time is needed by the conference organisers to attract both presenters and participants. So, if you want to present your work at a conference you will need to bear this in mind and not wait til the end of your project before you decide to share it. Your abstract is usually only 300 words, so you can describe what you intend to present, even if your results aren’t clear at the time of writing the abstract.

But why present at a conference? I have always believed in celebrating success as the final ribbon in the Creating Care Cultures Model describes. Whenever I am in the planning phases of any piece of work, I have always sought to find a way of sharing the work, what went well and the lessons learnt. You could do this in a variety of ways, through blogs, twitter, a poster presentation or physically presenting to a room of people. Equally you could start out by telling everyone you know about what you are doing.

 In this particular conference, I was celebrating the Inspire Improvement Fellowship, which has been running for two years, and I wanted to share the impact of the fellowship for the nurses involved, their teams and the people they care for. My presentation lasted for twenty minutes with five minutes for questions from the audience. I used a variety of media including PowerPoint, video and sound bites. Despite a few technical issues it went well and people came up and talked to me afterwards about how we are using the Creating Caring Model to structure the fellowship.

The whole conference was attended by 300 nurses and midwives from across the Commonwealth. I got to chat with people I wouldn’t normally meet in my work and learnt about lots of other initiatives going on in other countries. I was so interested seeing how the countries with developed healthcare systems were supporting those from less developed systems. The level of collaboration was very heart warming.

So my challenge for you is how can you celebrate and share what you are doing as a nurse and in your role? There are lots of opportunities. What’s stopping you? A lack of confidence?  

Here are my hints and tips for getting started:

  • Start small and tell people what you are doing
  • Use Twitter (or other social media platforms) to share
  • Find a mentor who can provide support with abstract writing, developing posters or developing a PowerPoint presentation
  • Present at local events/ conferences first
  • Once you feel more confident, challenge yourself to take it to the next level each time

And finally, get in touch, we’d love to hear what you have been doing.

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