April 2018 Print

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Maddie Larsen, RN, BSN APIC 2017 National Conference: First Time Attendee

I was glad to attend the APIC 2017 National Conference in Portland Oregon from June 14- June 16th. This was my first national conference and I was a little overwhelmed with hoe many options there were for learning opportunities.

The first day I started early with a presentation on direct observation versus electronic surveillance for hand hygiene. This was my first session, but I ended up attending a lot of sessions on this topic. It seems there is a lot of discussion in the IP world around updating the way hand hygiene compliance is performed.

After this early session I attended the opening Plenary by Celeste Headlee which was a great way to kick off the conference. I spent the rest of the day in the networking area and in the exhibit hall. Wow! Was the exhibit Hall overwhelming. I could easily see how someone could spend their entire conference just in this area. The vendors all had a lot of enthusiasm for what they were sharing and everyone was very friendly. I learned a lot about products I currently use at my facility that I didn’t know, as well as a lot about new products on the horizon. The exhibit hall was also a great way to network. One of my favorite things in the exhibit hall was the CIC prep that took place in the form of Jeopardy throughout the conference. It was fun to watch and to be able to test myself on knowledge.

The Exhibit Hall also had an area for poster presentations. I loved being able to see what breakthroughs and interventions other healthcare systems have done both locally (we had some APIC Indiana representation) as well as nationally. I made sure to come back and discuss the posters with the author when available on those that I wanted to learn more about.

The rest of the conference I bounced between the exhibit hall and the mini sessions (about an hour each) that I found most interesting. I attended sessions on SSI prevention, hand hygiene, Outbreak investigation, novice infection prevention tips, and NHSN. I found the NHSN sessions to be particularly helpful.

I also attended the APIC Indiana dinner that was provided. This was a great experience that allowed me to relax and learn from other IPs the best way to strategize my time for the rest of the conference. Networking is so important and this conference made that possible both for the Indiana folks and for national networking!

My advice for first time attendees is to plan ahead, but don’t plan too much! I found that my planning allowed me to optimize my time, but I also over-booked myself. I added stress to the situation by running from place to place trying to get to all the speakers I wanted to hear. By the last day, I had ditched my plan and decided to just go with the flow. I still went to my “must-see” events but didn’t stress if something else came up. Just have fun and enjoy! I also highly recommend using the app on your phone. You can see events, highlight your favorites, and also download posters and presentations straight to your device. It was awesome!

I came back with so much information that I was able to sift through which was also amazing! I feel reinvigorated and ready to tackle new ideas and better implementation strategies for work I am currently doing. It truly is a once in a lifetime opportunity that I am grateful to have had the opportunity to do!

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