By John Wallace
There is no shortage of professional conferences for HTM professionals. Whether you consider yourself to be a clinical engineer, a biomed or an HTM professional conferences have a lot to offer.
The AAMI Exchange is one of the largest conferences for the men and women who repair and maintain medical devices. However, it is far from the only conference for HTM professionals. MD Expo is held twice a year and provides many of the same benefits seen at the AAMI Exchange. Local and/or state associations also have meetings and conferences worth attending.
Professionals from hospital in-house biomedical departments as well as those who work for third-party service companies and original equipment manufacturers can benefit greatly from attending conferences. There are several reasons to attend, but I want to share the top four reasons. The first reason might be a surprise – fun!
It is difficult to list these in order of importance because people have different motivations and objectives. However, the #1 reason to attend a professional conference, in my opinion, is fun! There are some other more traditional reasons to attend, which I will get to soon, but having fun is important! Having fun and being entertained while at a professional conference can provide a reboot. A high energy level helps motivate everyone to hit the ground running when they return to work. Ideas will be shared during the fun times and those same ideas will be shared with a great deal of enthusiasm when each individual returns to work after the conference. Every MD Expo I have attended has been busy and lots of work, but it has also been fun! So, attend a conference for all the right reasons and don’t forget to have fun.
Continuing education is always a huge reason to attend a professional conference. Earning CE credits for certification, re-certification or to reach an individual goal are all important reasons to attend a conference. I suggest looking at the education schedule to determine which classes you plan to attend ahead of time. Look to see if the continuing education is accredited and how many credits you can earn for each session. When you attend the session, arrive early and introduce yourself to the presenter. Sit toward the front of the classroom and take notes. After the presentation, ask any questions you have about the topic. You may even want to set an appointment to discuss the information more in depth later in the day.
Expand your horizons by spending some time in the exhibit hall. It is easy to get comfortable with one company and stop researching what the market has to offer. The exhibit hall has the latest and greatest products and solutions from throughout the nation. Technology is ever evolving. New features and brand-new products could offer a perfect solution to your facility’s latest issue. Also, a new company or a merger of two companies can create opportunities for new expanded offerings.
Networking, networking and networking! A professional conference like MD Expo is the perfect place to connect with peers, re-connect with colleagues and add a few experienced mentors to your list of contacts. I have heard stories of people making lifetime friends with a person they meet in the hotel bar at a MD Expo. However, MD Expo doesn’t leave things to chance. It provides countless ways for attendees and vendors to interact via a keynote address, workshops, educational sessions, exhibit hall hours, a happy hour, final night party and more. Bring a big stack of business cards to hand out, but do more than just shake hands and hand off a card. Make connections. Have conversations. Interact. The rewards that come from a network of peers are amazing.
So, those are my top four reasons to attend a professional conference. The largest MD Expo ever was held earlier this year in Houston, Texas. The first ever AAMI Exchange just wrapped up in Cleveland, Ohio. More opportunities are coming soon. Find out when your state HTM association is having its next meeting and be sure to attend. Also, check out all that MD Expo has to offer in Baltimore this October. We even have a few “tools” to help convince your supervisor that you need to attend. You can find the Attendee Toolkit online at MDExpoShow.com/toolkit and you can find out more about the conference at MDExpoShow.com.
John Wallace is the editor of TechNation magazine. He joined MD Publishing in 2013 and has more than five years of experience covering the HTM industry.
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