Hello! I have been an Endocrine Specialist Nurse for many years, and recently joined the Society for Endocrinology Nurse Committee. I was asked to write this article to share my experience of attending the annual Society for Endocrinology BES conference with you.
Endocrine Specialist Nurses are no different from other nursing specialities (although I would argue we are a special breed!). Like others, we have to constantly keep ourselves up to date, not only in our own field of expertise, but in all current best nursing practice and mandatory training courses. We, too, are under pressure to ensure we have the necessary training and development to fulfil the recommendations for our revalidation.
WHY YOU SHOULD ATTEND
Opportunities for us to attend relevant courses or study days (which are limited in our field) can be fraught with endless difficulties – least of all getting the time away from our busy clinics. We are constantly developing our roles and taking on new responsibilities. In many cases, we are working in isolation and do not have the luxury of a team of nurses or colleagues with whom to discuss issues. This is why attendance at the Society for Endocrinology BES conference can really help you.
OVERCOMING INITIAL DOUBTS
I must admit that when I first thought about attending, and looked at the programme, I wondered if it was for me! I feared it was very advanced and scientific, and might not benefit me other than through the dedicated nurse sessions.
This fear, I can honestly say, was completely unfounded. By carefully looking at the programme, I was able to identify many sessions and lectures of interest to me and fellow nurses. Indeed, sometimes you will have to choose between sessions, as it is not always possible to attend everything.
The dedicated nurses’ sessions are chaired and led by nurses, and usually concentrate on a specific theme or topic with case presentations. We also invite medical experts in our chosen topic to come and share their knowledge with us. The sessions are intended to be informative and educational, and they give us the opportunity to present our own work/ case studies in a friendly setting, if we so wish.
Along with the varied programme, the conference will give you the opportunity to network with other nurses and medical staff. Indeed, last year saw a dedicated nurses’ area and lounge for the first time, which gave nurses their own space to meet and get together. This is especially beneficial when you are travelling on your own, or if you are a first-time attendee, as there is nearly always somebody there to chat to. At designated break times there is at least one member of the Nurse Committee on hand for you to get to know.
AROUND THE CONFERENCE
The commercial exhibition hall is usually a great gathering place, including all the leading pharmaceutical companies, patient groups and advisers. They provide useful and up-to-date information and literature that can help you with the day-to-day running of your clinic and ultimately benefit your patients.
'I was able to identify many sessions and lecutres of interest to me and fellow nurses. Indeed, sometimes you will have to choose between sessions, as it is not always possible to attend everything'
There is also a fantastic poster display, which is attended at certain times by the posters’ authors, again enabling nurses to network and chat with colleagues. Nurses are always encouraged to display their work, so you should take advantage of this additional opportunity and get credit for your hard work.
Sessions such as ‘How do I?’ and ‘Meet the Expert’ are usually excellent and informative. Here are some examples of what is on offer this year in Brighton, which may be of particular interest to us as nurses. They will be presented by endocrinologists from the UK and further afield:
- Quality of life in patients with pituitary disease
- Normocalcaemic hyperparathyroidism – treat or discharge?
- Low testosterone and normal gonadotrophins: who, when and how to treat?
- Adrenal crisis and outcome of Addison’s disease
- How do I approach drug-induced hyperprolactinaemia?
- How do I rule out insulinoma?
- How do I titrate testosterone therapy?
- How should I counsel a young woman with PCOS about fertility?
- How long should I treat prolactinoma?
Last, and by no means least, there is always the opportunity to socialise. This starts with the Welcome Reception, which will help make you feel part of this special event and is a chance to meet new colleagues, who in time will become friends.
As the years pass and your knowledge increases, the Society for Endocrinology BES conference will offer you so much, and you will continue to benefit, no matter how junior or senior you are.
This is a very special year for the Society, as it celebrates 70 years of drawing endocrinologists together, and advancing scientific and clinical research and education, as well as bringing endocrinology to a wider audience. Hopefully it will draw more people than ever, especially nurses, to its annual conference in November in Brighton.
I hope to see you there!
Endocrine Specialist Nurse, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and The Pituitary Foundation
The Society for Endocrinology BES conference is taking place in Brighton, UK on 7–9 November 2016. You can find more information and register to attend here.