The 12th annual OR Excellence conference kicked off this week and for the first time in the popular event's history, attendees were sitting in front of screens instead of a stage. During the virtual event's first of many educational and entertaining sessions, opening keynote speaker Kay Frances, MBA, launched into her high-energy presentation on how to combat the stress of life inside and outside of the OR with humor and positivity. Although Ms. Frances acknowledged that it's impossible to eliminate stress altogether especially while working during a pandemic in the demanding, high-pressure world of surgery she challenged attendees to focus on how they react to stressors and determine what they could control about the challenging situations they encounter in their daily lives.
In between witty one-liners, personal anecdotes and a spot-on Janis Joplin impression, Ms. Frances provided attendees with an array of practical tools such as a Navy SEAL breathing technique they could use to reduce stress. Toward the end of her keynote, Ms. Frances hit on a topic near and dear to OR leaders everywhere COVID fatigue, and what they could do to minimize the impact of this phenomenon. One suggestion she offered: Take a break from reading the headlines. "News is cheesecake for our brain," said Ms. Frances. "If you want to lower your mood, just take in too much news."
The keynote ended with Ms. Frances imploring attendees to find daily inspiration by thinking about their purpose in life, checking items of their bucket list, creating a personal mission statement and even thinking about what they'd want people to say about them at their funeral. She said these things, coupled with all the small examples of inspiration we can find in the day to day, drive life's value.
If you missed Kay Frances' opening keynote, her presentation will be available on demand. And if you haven't yet registered for Virtual OR Excellence, which is free to Outpatient Surgery subscribers and AORN members, there's still time to join the conference for access to incredible learning and networking opportunities.