If you're like most surgical facility leaders, you attend professional meetings first and foremost for the education. But if at the end of the trip all you have to show for your effort is CE credits, something's wrong. Every professional meeting should result in at least one new relationship with a colleague. Someone you can consult, share with, learn from and teach.
Surgery facility managers call ORX one of the most fun and interactive conferences they've ever attended. A big reason is the interactive audience-response system. These easy-to-use devices let you give speakers live feedback during presentations with just a push of a button. Presenters ask the audience questions during each session, with the results anonymously beamed live to the screen for all to see. You'll learn not only from the presenters, but from each other.
We get it, and that's why the team at OR Excellence works extra hard to foster the kind of lasting connections that Christy Lee, RN, made last year in Las Vegas. "I met so many kind, intelligent, happy folks at this conference," she says, and adds that she's still in touch with 3 of them.
Unlike a lot of meetings, OR Excellence is intimate only 300 to 350 facility managers attend ORX each year. To everyone colleagues, vendors and the ORX staff you're a unique individual, not a number. "It's more personable," says Ms. Lee, who serves as manager of outpatient surgery services at the University of Missouri Medical Center.
"It's a small group that's perfect for interaction, with lots of social activities where we can mingle," says Leila Welborn, MD, medical director of the Children's Ambulatory Surgery Center in Washington, D.C., and an OR Excellence attendee for 5 years running. "It's very conducive to meeting and talking with other professionals from similar settings and sharing experiences from the workplace," adds Paula Kyler, RN, nurse manager at the University Orthopedics Center in State College, Pa.
And you'll have a lot in common with your fellow attendees, because about 90% of the people who attend ORX are surgical facility leaders, many hailing from the nation's busiest surgical facilities. Meet them all at the many relationship-building activities sandwiched in between the 15 hours of CE/CME credit:
- Memorable social events. Don't miss the Wednesday night wine-tasting and Thursday night martini-tasting events in the exhibit hall. Last year, very ambitious attendees had the opportunity to taste more than 40 different wine varieties on Wednesday night (whew!) and chocotinis, espresso martinis, blue martinis, flirtinis and many, many other styles on Thursday night while shopping for new products and chatting in the exhibit hall. "The wine tasting was great!" says Sharon Mock, RN, OR director at Nason Hospital in Roaring Spring, Pa.
- The Tournament of Champions. On Thursday, ORX attendees will split into teams and compete against each other to correctly answer challenging questions about surgery posed by moderators. "I love the competitive nature of the Tournament of Champions," says Marlene Brunswick, RN, MSN, CNOR, surgical services director at Mercy St. Vincent in Toledo, Ohio. "We were pretty intense working out the answers."
- Thursday lunch. Chat up old and new friends at a scrumptious OR Excellence Awards luncheon on Thursday, which, like the wine and martini tasting, is included in your conference fee.
Put 300 or so people together, all of them facing similar challenges, and let them learn, mingle and enjoy life together, and the result could be professional relationships that last a lifetime. "I loved the connections I made," says Hope Waltenbaugh, MSN, RN, director of same-day surgery at Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pa. "Now when I have a question I can use my 'phone-a-friend' network to help."