It was a great few days in steamy San Antonio, site of "ASCs 2008," the first annual meeting of the ASC Association (ASCA), the new group formed through the merger of AAASC and FASA. By all accounts, last month's show was a wonderful success, both in size and scope. The show had an energy, a buzz, that wasn't there when AAASC and FASA each put on their own shows that were pretty hard to tell apart.
"I thought it was incredible," says ASCA President Kathy Bryant. "People seemed really glad to be here, sharing information and making contacts. People were relieved to have one national meeting. They didn't have to make a decision as to which one to attend. They knew everybody would be there."
It sure seemed like everybody was there. There were 2,800 total attendees, which is 500 more than FASA's 2006 show in Orlando. The 248 vendors who lined the exhibit hall were greeted with steady traffic. "This was definitely the largest exhibit hall ever in the industry," says Ms. Bryant.
There were new speakers and fresh topics and standing-room-only audiences. Retired basketball star Magic Johnson's surprisingly moving and inspiring keynote address drew a standing ovation.
Dues-paying members of ASCA will be pleased to know how much money the merger is saving in association salaries alone. Craig Jeffries, the former executive director of AAASC, made $279,840 in 2006, according to tax records. Ms. Bryant's 2006 salary: $247,524.
A most refreshing sight at the show was the practical woman to the left, Jamie Galinsky, RN, of the Gulf Coast Surgery Center in Houma, La. She was in scrubs. And clogs. Just like a day in the OR. And she was easily the most comfortable person at the show.
"This is a surgery convention," she said. "Once you think about it, it's a pretty simple thing to do. It takes all of the anxiety out of it."
She didn't visit the nail salon for a French manicure and pedicure or the dry cleaners before her trip to San Antonio. She packed four sets of navy scrubs and one dress outfit. "I'm comfortable and I can last all day," she said. We asked a passerby what she thought. "I wish," she said, "I had been so smart."