5 conference networking tips for nurses

Nursing conferences cancelled for 2020: What they're doing instead

If this was your breakout year to attend or speak at a 2020 nursing conference, you may be facing the task of rearranging, uncertainty and even potential cancellations. If you can't make rescheduled conferences work or are having to forgo a long-awaited event happening later in 2020 amid the potential health risk of traveling, condolences are definitely in order.

» RELATED: Why you should attend a professional nursing conference and what to expect

But being nurses and educators, conference organizers are naturally going to make the best of this bad situation. Be sure to keep up with the updates on your scheduled conference of choice, since COVID-19 cancellations require everyone to accommodate and pivot as the situation unfolds. As of May 31, 2020, here's what the profession is doing instead of the orginally scheduled nursing conferences in 2020: 

Spring 2020

Original: Dermatology Nurses’ Association 2020 Annual Meeting was scheduled to take place March 18-21 in Denver, Colorado.

Plan B: Rescheduled! The new dates are July 15-18, 2020, and the DNA gave those who were registered the option to cancel before May 29. Its registration database is currently closed while the DNA confirms speaker or session changes, and the revised schedule for the DNA 38th Annual Convention will be posted ASAP. 

Original: The Annual Assembly of Hospice and Palliative Care was scheduled to take place March 18-21, 2020, in San Diego.

Plan B: Cancelled for 2020! The next "premier educational event for hospice and palliative care providers" will be held February 17-20, 2021, at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver.

Original: The AORN Global Surgical Conference & Expo 2020 was originally set for March 28-April 1, 2020, in Anaheim, California.

Plan B: Retooled to be delivered in digital format! The Virtual AORN Expo 2020 is happening online from May 1-July 31, free for members. 

Original: The Annual Interdisciplinary Breast Center Conference was scheduled to take place April 3-8, 2020, in Las Vegas. 

Plan B: Cancelled for 2020! The next such conference is scheduled for March 19-24, 2021, and the host, the National Consortium of Breast Centers, is making arrangements for those who want to roll over their registration to maintain the 2020 price for 2021.

Original: The American Academy of Ambulatory Nursing 45th Annual Conference was scheduled April 15-18, 2020, in Chicago. 

Plan B: Became a virtual event! The AAAN 45th Annual (Virtual) Conference is happening in Summer 2020 on four consecutive Tuesdays beginning July 28, 2020.

Original: Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) Annual Conference 2020 was scheduled April 22-25, 2020, in Anaheim, California.

Plan B: Cancelled for 2020! The next SPN Annual Conference will be held April 14-17, 2021.

Summer 2020

Original: The American Association of Critical Care Nurses NTI National Teaching Institute 2020 conference was scheduled for May 4-7, 2020, in Indianapolis.

Plan B: Cancelled for 2020! Plans for 2021 have not been announced.

Original: National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) 40th Annual Conference was scheduled May 30-June 2, 2020, in Pittsburgh. 

Plan B: Cancelled for 2020! NAON is reaching out to registrants and will announce future conference plans as they become available.

Original: The Nursing Education Accreditation Conference was scheduled for July 16-18, 2020, in Atlanta. 

Plan B: Cancelled for 2020! The upcoming Nursing Education Accreditation Conference has been scheduled for July 7-9, 2021, in Atlanta.

Original: The National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) Methodologies Boot Camp was scheduled for August 3-6, 2020, in Bethesda, Maryland. 

Plan B: NINR is monitoring the situation and as of May 31, 2020, had not opened registration. 

Original: The American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA) 2020 Annual Congress was scheduled for August 14-18, 2020, in San Diego.

Plan B: Cancelled for 2020! But the AANA did say its staff "is developing an exciting virtual experience designed to keep you at the top of your profession. Stay tuned!"

Fall 2020

Original: Emergency Nursing 2020 was scheduled for September 8-11, 2020, in Las Vegas.

Plan B: Replaced with a virtual event for 2020! The ENA announced May 29, 2020, that its in-person event would not be feasible and "EN20X – A Virtual Xperience!" would serve as the association’s annual conference for 2020, including "a robust exhibit hall including featured events and competitions that will be available to you virtually everywhere." 

Original: The National Neonatal Nurses Conference has been planned for September 9-12, 2020, in Las Vegas.

Plan B: Plans not yet confirmed as of May 31, 2020! According to the website for the host organization, the Academy of Neonatal Nursing, "planning for this conference is ongoing. Whether or not we can welcome you to Las Vegas in person is still unclear." 

Original: The Travelers Conference for health care travelers has been scheduled for September 13-16, 2020, in Las Vegas.

Plan B: As of May 31, 2020, no changes. The TravCon website does not indicate any alterations to the conference planned for September.

Other conferences without any changes announced:

American Psychiatric Nurses Association (APNA) 34th Annual Conference Sept. 30-Oct. 3, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Florida

29th Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses Annual Convention Oct. 21-25, 2020, in Las Vegas

There is one way to put a positive spin on all these unwanted and unyielding changes that have come to the world of nursing conferences. When live conferences do resume and next year's teleconferences and webinars are planned, there will be huge shifts due to pandemic response. But just think how much valuable information the entire nursing profession will have amassed by then, and how truly helpful next year's conferences will be on helping nurses cope and thrive in the new health care reality.

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