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Education Session Guidelines

Education sessions should be based on current issues and trends related to perioperative nursing practice, such as executive leadership, performance improvement, education, simulation, patient centric care, leadership, management of the perioperative arena, accountable care, value-based purchasing, health care reform, performance improvement, clinical topics, evidence-based practice, research, and patient/family engagement. 

If you have a submission for a 60-minute session and a similar proposal for a full-day session, please submit them separately.


Quick Links: 


The online application submission process is open year-round, but submission deadlines vary. Deadlines will be noted on the Call for Proposals page.

AORN Surgical Conference & Expo Education Session Information 

  • The annual AORN Surgical Conference & Expo is our largest event with the widest variety of session topics. The AORN Surgical Conference & Expo proposal submission deadline is in May each year. Submissions received after that date may be reviewed and considered for the following year.
  • The majority of the concurrent education sessions are 60 minutes in length. Invited speakers may be asked to shorten or lengthen their topic based on their placement in the schedule.
  • Two-part presentations may be considered when noted as such.
  • Proposals submitted for presentation may also be submitted as Poster Displays and/or AORN Journal articles.
  • Concurrent education sessions at AORN Surgical Conference & Expo have a standard room and a/v equipment set up that may not be changed. Requests for additional items, such as Internet service, must be submitted with the proposal and/or during invitation process. Requests will not be considered or approved after an invitation has been signed and returned. 
  • Room set details:
    • Stage is set on a riser and includes a podium, microphone, and PC laptop, as well as a head table with chairs and one microphone.
    • The audience is set theatre-style and typically will seat between several hundred and a thousand people. 
    • There will be at least one floor microphone in the room for the audience.
    • The number of overhead screens in the room is based on the room size/layout.
    • A/V techs will be available should you have any questions or if problems arise during the session (assigned two rooms per tech).
  • All speakers are expected to include polling questions in their presentation. Attendees will respond to the questions via electronic polling or a show of hands/standing up depending on the room assignment. 
  • All speakers are expected to attend two (2) webinars (live or recorded) to assist in the development and refinement of your session. 
  • AORN Surgical Conference & Expo presentations are professionally recorded, and will be made available for sale with the related PowerPoint (voice over PowerPoint). Speakers who do not want to be (or cannot be) recorded should note such before or after the ‘overview’ text in their proposal application, or make changes to the agreement when an invitation is extended. Concurrent education session speakers who do not allow recording will be placed in the last timeframes and day of the event schedule.
  • As a not-for-profit organization, AORN provides most speakers with free registration for the week of Surgical Conference in lieu of a stipend or honorarium. Speakers that require payment, funding, and/or expenses should detail their requirements after the ‘overview’ text in their proposal application. Requests for funding will not be considered or approved after an invitation has been accepted and the letter agreement signed and returned.
  • AORN members may apply for a grant through the AORN Foundation to offset their expenses to AORN Surgical Conference & Expo.

Pre-Conference Certificate Programs 

These workshops provide in-depth information about important perioperative topics, including tools attendees can modify and implement for their practice settings. Workshops are a minimum of a half day (3.5) hours and a maximum of a full day (7.5 CH). Be sure to note the length of the session in the Activity Documentation section of your proposal.

Proposal Review Process 

AORN Education staff, including a representative for evidence-based practice, work with a Surgical Conference & Expo Advisory Committee to identify topics and review/evaluate session proposals.

Submission Guidelines


  1. Education session proposals are accepted through the AORN online submission process. 
  2. Submissions that do not meet the criteria outlined in the submission process may not be reviewed. 
  3. Each proposal is reviewed in relationship to participant input, trends in health care, and needed professional development. 
  4. Acceptability of each proposal will be evaluated and rated on the organization and clarity of the proposal content and level of interest and impact. Emphasis will be placed on sessions that help the attendee to be more effective in their work setting. 
  5. Please be sure to proofread your abstract and check your spelling prior to submission. 
  6. All submissions are retained by AORN. 
  7. Invitations for AORN education activities are made by AORN Nursing Department-Education staff members only. Other invitations are not valid. 
  8. The contact person identified for each presentation will be informed of proposal status after the review process is complete. Please do not contact us for a status update. 


Presentation Title

Capture the gist of your session in a few words-- the recommended title length is 30 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation. Short, direct session titles are more effective during the marketing process. Long titles may be truncated when electronic fields have a character limit, i.e. online session details.


Provide a detailed narrative description of the presentation while keeping it short and simple-- the recommended overview length is a maximum of 200 words. Submit text only; proposals with graphs, tables, photos, etc. may not be reviewed.


Distill objectives from the overall purpose and/or goal(s) of the presentation. Describe the learner-oriented outcomes which may be expected as a result of participation in the educational activity. These statements should:

  • describe knowledge, skills, and attitude changes that should occur upon successful completion of the activity
  • express learner-oriented outcomes in measurable terms, using measurable, behavioral verbs such as classify, compare, demonstrate, describe, develop, differentiate, discuss, explain, identify, list, name, state
  • identify observable actions
  • specify one action or outcome per objective
  • for a 60-minute session, one or two objectives is reasonable

It is not necessary, nor is it recommended, to begin an objective by saying "The participant will be able to..."

Moderator Name 

At the end of the abstract section, you may enter the name and contact information of a colleague or friend you would like to introduce you and your program. All Moderators are required to be registered for the event and may be required to attend a webinar identifying their roles and responsibilities.

Speaker Information 

All speakers must be identified in the original submission with a maximum of two speakers per session, unless otherwise approved during the invitation process. All proposed speakers are required to enter their contact information, education, and narrative biography, and complete a conflict of interest form. Additional speakers may not be added to the session after an invitation is issued and accepted.


It is suggested that you type and save the content of your abstract in Word or another word-processing program. By using word-processing software, you may run spell and grammar checks to be sure your abstract is in quality form before submitting it, and you will have a copy on file in case of any problems with the submission process. Just copy and paste the abstract into the overview/abstract text box when entering your submission online. 


For questions about the online proposal submission application for AORN Surgical Conference & Expo, OR Executive Summit, or Leadership Development Summit, please contact Susan Love (800-755-2676 x320).

For questions about the online proposal submission application for Pre-Conference Programs, International Summit, and Posters, please contact Beth Gabrysiak (800-755-2676 x233).

Important notes about the online process

Application Title

The “application title” requested when you begin the process is for your reference only. If you were to submit numerous proposals, all of them would be listed in the “My Applications” which is linked to your AORN record using the “application title” as reference. The actual “session title” is required in the Activity Documentation area at “new session” (see below).

Activity Documentation Section

  • Click on “new session” to begin the form and enter your “session title” in the pop-up.
  • Only one “new session” is required per submission.
  • Once you have saved the session title, you may add the objectives one at a time. For a 60-minute presentation, one or two objectives are recommended.
  • You must scroll down in the objectives dialog box to the see the save button.
  • The contact hour calculation in the Activity Document calculates the contact hours as you enter the timeframes of your objectives.

Contact Susan Love (slove@aorn.org  or x320) if you require assistance.

Guidelines for Perioperative Practice


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