In-Person conferences in the past prior to the pandemic

Regardless of one’s profession, continuing education / professional development will always be essential.  I have extensively attended national conferences for many years in order to fulfill license requirements, national certification and to simply stay current with practice. So, I am a very experienced conference attendee.

I also served as an accreditation appraiser for well over 10 years, so I am more knowledgeable than most about standards, criteria, and outcomes for continuing education.

For over 10 years, I also worked as a Nurse Planner responsible for developing the education components for conferences for three (3) national nursing associations. Whew!!! I’ve been busy! 

Everything in the world of conferences was going great until 2020. Then the coronavirus arrived at Stateside and in-person conferences came to a complete nationwide stop. COVID-19 is a deadly and profound disease that is highly contagious.  Ironically, I was working remote for a national nursing association as the Lead Nurse Planner. The association had to quickly convert the in-person annual conference to a virtual venue!  The risks for exposure to COVID-19 was too high considering air travel, transportation to the hotel, crowding in the conference rooms and social events.   There was no way that public health safety could be managed for in-person venues… plus the COVID vaccines were not yet developed.

Let us now REALLY fast forward to 2022.  Many national associations are currently planning to resume  in-person conferences. In reflection of the past 19 months, are you ready to resume in-person conferences?  You may have to examine your personal readiness AND the conditions set forth by conference organizers. 

Consider the following ten (10) questions you may want to reflect as I believe we are arriving at a New Normal for in-person conferences:

  1. What is your vaccination status?
  2. Are you fully vaccinated… including the booster vaccine?
  3. Will conference organizers require proof-of-vaccination for in-person attendees?
  4. The business model for conferences tend to estimate cost-benefit ratio.  Revenue must be generated so good attendance will be the goal.
  5. Will there be a mask mandate within the indoor venues/ conference rooms?
  6. What is the infection rate for the host city or state?
  7. Will public health safety practices be recommended… masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene as the minimum?
  8. How will socializing and networking events be managed?
  9. Will the all-important Exhibit Hall be open?
  10. Currently, air travel in the U.S. is a bit “messy”. Will you have a “Plan B”?

I have carefully considered each of the above questions. I am fully vaccinated with the booster. I am staunch pro-mask. I have done a nice amount of air travel since June 2021.  Consequently, I will opt to continue with virtual platforms for conferences.  Right now, some vaccinated folks are having breakthrough infections. This is concerning to me. Even though I love attending national conventions and conferences, I am going to hold off a bit longer from attending in-person venues. I will continue to achieve my CE hours via remote learning. 

I really LOVE in-person conferences. I have attended conferences and conventions for many many years. Here are some of my treasured photos that I snapped ever since camera phones became affordable! Enjoy!!!

My Last In-Person Conference – 2019

Little did I have a clue that in March 2019, this would be my very last in-person conference to attend.

What are your thoughts? What are your plans? Feel free to leave a comment!

Thank you!!! I hope you enjoyed my photo-journey to past in-person conferences throughout the years.