Networking is important, but it should not be hit-or-miss.
The author, a resident of New Zealand, focuses on benefits that research congress networking provides.
Flight bookings. Done. Accommodation. Paid. Bags. Packed. Passport. Checked. Visa. Approved. That was two weeks ago. Today, I am back in Sigma’s embrace in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, which contributes to my ongoing goal of attending every International Nursing Research Congress. That’s how important I consider these annual events sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing (Sigma).
Sigma’s warm hug is so tight and collegial, it’s difficult to resist. I have gained friends through the years and have established a professional network of nurses who represent various countries. These are the reasons I keep throwing myself into Sigma’s welcoming embrace.
For nursing, a very diverse profession, networking involves establishing and maintaining professional relationships with like-minded people. Because nursing has numerous specialties, networking should not be a hit-or-miss endeavor. To network successfully and learn about innovations taking place within their specialties in various parts of the world, nurses should have a firm hold on what they want out of their careers and know what specializations they want to pursue. More accomplished nurses can share best practices with colleagues from other countries. Young nurses can gain valuable wisdom from experienced nurses and access to resources from various organizations and agencies.
One thing I’ve realized with networking, though, is that the country and organizational context should always be considered when thinking about adapting innovations and best practices. Coming from the Southern Hemisphere, I have to sift through an enormous amount of knowledge shared at research sessions to make sure I am getting what best fits nursing practice in the country I represent. Context includes not only a nation’s economic and political environment but also its culture, policies, governance, leadership, regulations, demographics, epidemiology, nursing situation, and more.
One thing that fascinates me here in Alberta, Canada, is the presence of sharps bins in malls and public places. For public safety and harm reduction, I think this is an idea I can bring home to New Zealand. Related to this, I enjoyed the talk about implementing supervised injection services and the best practice guidelines program given by Doris Grinspun of the Registered Nurses’ Association of Ontario (RNAO). In addition to the networking opportunity the program provides, the guidelines are worth looking into and adapting to your country’s and your organization’s context. And this is just Day 1! There’s more to learn in the next four days. That’s what makes these conferences so exciting!
Sigma never fails to live up to my expectations, and I am glad to be back in its embrace. Sigma is a complete package. It not only provides opportunities for connectedness, it is a nurse’s ideal medium for expressing excellence in scholarship, leadership, and service. RNL
Monina Hernandez, MNurs (Hons), PGDipHSc, PGCertTT, RN, CNS, is a director of the Nursing Council of New Zealand, a lecturer at the School of Nursing of Massey University and a migrant nurse leader in New Zealand.
Below are a few pictures from Thursday’s events. All photos will be posted here a few days after congress is over. Our photographer is Suzan McEvoy.