Fall conference season is coming to a close, but the spring conference season will be here before we know it. That means abstract systems are open and accepting podium and poster abstracts. I didn't submit my first real conference abstract until two years post-graduate school, and even with as much education as I had at the time, I was terrified.
I put together my abstract as best I could, and thankfully, I had two amazing nurses who offered to look over my abstract before I actually submitted it. Those nurses, who have probably submitted more abstracts than I can even imagine, spent five minutes of their time quickly editing and suggesting revisions, all the while explaining the rationale and imparting their knowledge to me.
I submitted that abstract and many others following it, using the nurses’ same advice, which led to many podium and poster presentations. Five minutes quite honestly changed my publishing and presenting career as a nurse.
To all the amazing nurses with curriculum vitaes that could paper an office: Give five minutes (or more!) of your time to novice nurse presenters. Encourage them, look over their abstracts, provide constructive criticism, and take them under your nursing wing, developing the next generation of nurse leaders, publishers, and presenters.
To every single nurse reading this, you should consider submitting an abstract to a nursing conference for either a poster presentation or a podium presentation.
You are an expert at something, and you need to contribute your knowledge and work to the nursing body of knowledge so we can all learn from you.
Draft your abstract, seek out experienced nurse presenters for five-minute feedback, revise your document, and submit it. If it gets declined, take the reviewers’ feedback to heart and submit the abstract again to the next nursing conference. We learn by repetition, and writing abstracts is no different. It takes practice.
I’ll be looking for your name at the next nursing conference!