As I write this, it’s almost time for AWHONN’s annual convention and I’m thinking about my plans for making the most of the event. I’ve been attending convention every year for a while now. I first started attending as a new AWHONN member to see what this great organization had to offer in terms of professional education and to check out the latest resources in the exhibit hall. Then I went for a few years because I was a member of the JOGNN editorial board and the editorial board meeting coincided convention. For the past three years, I’ve had the honor of being the editor of Lifelines, and in that role I work at the publications booth, present a session on writing or reviewing for Lifelines and generally am a presence for our readers.
At the top of my list of things to do this year is attend the opening ceremony, as I do each year. I love the pomp and splendor of the honor guard and the beauty of the fluttering U.S. and Canadian flags. I love standing to sing my country’s anthem, and I always feel so proud that AWHONN recognizes U.S. and Canadian members in this way. And the keynote address at the opening ceremony is always inspiring and sets a wonderful tone for the whole convention.
Next on my list is the exhibit hall. I love spending time in the AWHONN publications booth and speaking to members and prospective members. This is an opportunity for you to tell me what you’ve enjoyed in the pages of the journal and also what you hope to see in the future. People always approach me at the booth to discuss manuscript ideas or to check on the progress of something they’ve submitted. I appreciate the openness and enthusiasm that mark these discussions, and I invite all of you to take the opportunity to meet not only me but also Jen Hellwig, our new managing editor, and to reacquaint yourselves with Carolyn Davis Cockey, Lifelines’ executive editor and AWHONN’s powerhouse associate director of publications. This year marks Lifelines’ 10th anniversary (and the 35th anniversary of our sister journal, JOGNN), and we’ll have special giveaways at the booth to mark the occasion.
This year I’m presenting at two sessions. One is a specialty panel on women’s sexuality, and I’m thrilled to have two experts with me to engage in what I think will be a very interesting look at a topic that concerns most of us personally and also professionally in our care of women across the lifespan. I’m also presenting a session on how to review manuscripts for Lifelines and other scholarly presentations. I really enjoy doing this session. There are always participants who are excited at the prospect of sharing their knowledge by becoming a reviewer, and this session serves to both orient them to some of the details of the task and, I hope, inspire them to write and submit a manuscript of their own at some point.
One thing that I’m not going to do is spend time at convention only with people I know, to the exclusion of meeting attendees who are not yet friends and colleagues.
One thing that I’m not going to do is spend time at convention only with people I know, to the exclusion of meeting attendees who are not yet friends and colleagues. Convention is a wonderful opportunity to meet new people and make connections that will be useful in the professional world. Sure, it’s comfortable to spend every waking moment with your friends or colleagues from the unit or clinic. But you see them every day back at home! Think about inviting someone new to have dinner with you and your friends. It can be really lonely at convention if you don’t know anyone, and that’s particularly true at meal times. So talk to the person sitting next to you at a session or standing in line to buy your morning beverage.
I’m thrilled that this year we’ll meet in Baltimore, MD, and I get to see the sea again! I grew up one block away from a beautiful beach, and now that I live in the middle of the prairies, I long for the sounds of the waves, the smell of the salt and the cries of the gulls. I have my new sunglasses ready and waiting for the long strolls I intend to take, and I hear that the Maryland crabs are truly delicious. What else could a landlocked woman want?
So grab this copy of Lifelines, tuck it in your overnight bag and head for the airport. Convention awaits, and, personally, I can’t wait. See you there!