Message From the President Making the Most of Conferences Research in Nursing & Health, 2014, 37, 88–89 Accepted 30 January 2014 DOI: 10.1002/nur.21590 Published online 25 February 2014 in Wiley Online Library (

The Annual Conference of the Southern Nursing Research Society is a premier event in the SNRS calendar. Our 28th Annual Conference, “Enhancing Value-based Care: Generating New Knowledge”, was held February 12 through 15, 2014, in San Antonio, Texas. Each year, we look forward to welcoming nurse scientists from academic, health care, and research institutions. We plan a program that offers value to nurse scientists at all professional levels, from students training for a research career through senior scientists. Why should nurse scientists continue to attend conferences? Conferences provide many opportunities beyond exchanging information: opportunities to present and refine one's ideas, interact with other scientists, learn new information, and find new collaborators. Humans are social creatures, and gathering together energizes nurse scientists. Conferences are an ideal forum for “stimulating a random collision of ideas and approaches” (Alberts, 2013, p. 737) that can move nursing science forward. Participation in a conference is valuable, whether or not one is presenting. Presenting at a conference can help to build one's scientific reputation (and that of the presenter's institution), but all conference attendees can improve their visibility to other scientists through participation in interactive sessions such as Research Interest Group meetings. Poster presentations, in particular, provide excellent opportunities for both presenters and attendees to engage in dialogue with other scientists and generate new ideas and collaborations. During tight economic times, nurse scientists may be tempted to focus their resources for conference attendance on specialty conferences. However, attendance at the annual conferences of SNRS and the other regional nursing research societies offers the important benefit of broadening the circle of potential collaborators and enriching one's research. Cross-fertilization of ideas is more likely to occur in meetings with a broader constituency of nurse scientists: “More general meetings offer more opportunities for the type of happy accidents on which creativity depends” (Petsko, 2006, p. 233).


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As an enthusiastic SNRS attendee, I offer the following advice for maximizing benefit from attendance at regional nursing society conferences. First, be prepared! Review the program and plan for the activities most interesting or important to you. Review the list of attendees; plan to reconnect with individuals you know and meet new people with similar interests. Plan to broaden your horizons by attending some sessions that are not in your area of expertise. Bring materials you want to share (e.g., business cards, a brief synopsis of your research interests, or abstracts of recent publications). In place of an elevator speech, practice a Twitter-sized (144-character) conversation opener about your research. Second, mingle! Introduce yourself, giving your full name, affiliation, and your opening Twitter-sized conversational gambit. Wear your name tag. Use the poster sessions and coffee breaks to network. Ask questions at the end of presentations. Ask people you know to introduce you to new people. Go beyond the people you know or have planned to meet, and “chat up random people” (Luiggi, 2010, p. 80). Conferences are still an important part of scientific discourse. The SNRS and other regional nursing society annual meetings are vital to advancing nursing research. Attend and enjoy, and I'll look for you at the next SNRS Annual Meeting! Cindy L. Munro SNRS President University of South Florida Apollo Beach, FL E-mail: [email protected]

References Alberts, B. (2013). Designing scientific meetings. Science, 339, 737. doi: 10.1126/science.1236324. Luiggi, C. (2010). Meet and greet: How successful networking will make you a better scientist. The Scientist, 24(11), 80–82. Petsko, G. A. (2006). The highs and lows of scientific conferences. Nature Reviews Molecular Cell Biology, 7, 231–234.



Exit or Entrance? When you transition out of a leadership position in an organization, do you view this as an exit or an entrance? The transition to new leadership in SNRS has occurred. As many of you also may have moved from a leadership position to the “sidelines,” a few points about this transition may be useful. First, you do not have permission to exit (retire) from service! While you may need some respite at the completion of your tenure, do not stop supporting the organization. This includes participating in groups, such as our Research Interest Groups, and serving as an abstract reviewer, grant reviewer, or another important membership role that facilitates the organization's mission. This is also an important time to serve the new Board by mentoring new Board members. Second, you can enter into service as an ambassador for the new leaders. By fostering good relationships with members and other stakeholders, while maintaining loyalty to the organization and the Board, you can help make the new leaders' journey seamless. Always speak positively of the new leaders and their endeavors. Because you have been in formal leadership, you continue to be a role model for the members. Carefully monitor your actions, by asking yourself: (a) Are you an active member of the organization? (b) Are you participating in organizational development? and (c) Is your dedication to the organization's mission evident? Your intentions and actions, verbal and nonverbal,

Research in Nursing & Health

should continue to support the mission and vision of the organization. Finally, remember that you are not in a formal leadership role! This seems very easy, but many struggle with this part of the transition. Letting go is part of maturing, and letting go of the leadership role is essential if the organization is to grow under the new leaders. The energies of the new leaders should be spent in focusing on the organization, not battling a former leader! Whether you are ending your time as chair of a committee or Research Interest Group or have served on a Board or in another leadership position, these points are essential to the health of the organization and your continued contribution to the organization. Will you think of this transition as an exit, or as an entrance into a new phase of your life as a leader? Answering this question now will prepare you for the next time, because, according to the late Pittsburgh Pirates slugger Stargell (undated), “life is one big transition.” Patricia B. Crane SNRS Past President University of North Carolina Greensboro Greensboro, NC E-mail: [email protected]

Reference Stargell, W. (undated). Retrieved from http://www.searchquotes. com/quotation/Life_is_one_big_transition/205224/.

Message from the president: making the most of conferences.

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