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AORN Blog - The Periop Life

5 Tips on How to Become a Conference Speaker

Become A Conference Speaker

June 17, 2022


Connecting with colleagues by presenting an education session is one of the best things about attending a professional conference. It can open new networks, build your resume, and help colleagues advance their practice.

If you haven’t presented at a conference, you may feel intimidated by the process or think you have nothing to contribute. But the truth is we all have experiences to share that can help move the professional forward – whether you’re sharing a clinical expertise or talking about a hot topic issue such as staffing solutions.

AORN's 70th annual conference in San Antonio next April features the theme, "No Limits." And longtime AORN leader Jay Bowers, BSN, RN, CNOR, TNCC, hopes it inspires nurses to step outside of their comfort zone and present at the meeting—whether a veteran in the OR or a newbie.

As a reviewer and someone who has honed the art of presenting at Global Surgical Conference & Expo, we asked Bowers for some tips on submitting a session proposal. Here’s his advice:

  1. Hot Topics are In Demand
    While incorporating discussion on evidence-based practice is valuable, your topic doesn’t have to center on a clinical issue. In fact, insights on hot topics impacting periop care right now are high on the list of topics AORN is looking for.
  1. Presentation Time is Flexible
    New this year, education presentations can be 30-, 60-, or 90-minutes long. So, if you are a new presenter and afraid you can’t speak in front of an audience for an hour or more, fear not.
  1. Multiple Proposals are Encouraged
    Don’t feel pressured to limit yourself to one proposal if you have several ideas. Bowers stresses, “the more education proposals to review, the better.”
  1. Global Presenters are Welcome
    If you work outside of the US, consider your session for the global track. AORN encourages perioperative professionals from other countries to share their unique practice perspectives and can provide additional support in planning your presentation, even if English is not your first language.
  1. Be Specific
    When filling out the podium presentation form, make sure to answer all questions to the best of your ability. Proposals with more detailed information will help reviewers more clearly understand your topic and why it is important to share.

Ultimately, Bowers is looking for presentations that will help foster the growth of every OR nurse in one way or another. “Please don’t be shy about submitting a session proposal—if you are nervous about speaking in front of group, we are all here to help and support you through this endeavor,” he reassures.

As an added perk, if you present a concurrent education session at AORN Expo 2023, you receive a complimentary weekly registration to the conference. That’s a win-win.

Interested? Education proposals must be submitted by July 1. Get the details on submitting your education proposal.