7 Essentials You Should Bring to a Seminar or Conference

Written by Taylor Davis

You were in a rush - scatter-brained and running out the door with one shoe half off your heel.

We feel your pain, but unfortunately we see a lot of people attend conferences and seminars without the proper backup equipment, or I.C.E. bag.

What is an I.C.E. bag, you ask?

The essentials.

An In Case of Emergency pack.

Set it and forget it when you pack the essentials in this bag this night before, pop it in your vehicle and don’t forget it the next morning when you’re fumbling from lack of sleep.

Here’s our list of seven things you should bring to a seminar to be on the safe side.

 

Notebook/Pen

It seems like something you wouldn’t forget, but it happens more often that most people like to admit. Keep this habit from your college days because it’s a necessity for any seminar or conference you go to. Yes, many courses you take for your continuing education will probably have someone there handing out pens, and even have a handout for you to write on, but better safe than sorry.

Pack an extra pen and notebook to avoid missing out.

 

Jacket

Baby, it’s cold inside.

Spring, summer, winter or fall – don’t forget to bring the coat. We see a lot of attendees suffer sitting in their course because they forgot. Keep one in your car or pack it the night before, but don’t forget it.

Inside hotels and office buildings are usually pretty cool, and sitting for a long time can cause you to get a chill.

 

Business cards

Seminars and conferences are great for networking. You might not think that it’s big thing until someone asks you to connect afterward and you don’t have time to trade phone numbers.

Whipping out a business card with your name, occupation, website (if you have one), phone number and email address is much easier. Don’t fully rely on your business card though to get networking done. Decide what your pitch is, too, that describes who you are and what you’re looking in 30 seconds or less.

Don’t have a business card, yet?

Definitely add that to your to-do list.

 

Apps

Business cards aren’t the only way to connect with people though. Always have your pitch ready, but make sure you have apps with your professional profile ready to launch, too.

LinkedIn is a great example that can help you find people instantly and make a connection.

Also, check if the event you’re attending has an app for it. A lot of conferences have one, which include an attendees list, notetaking capabilities and other essentials for the event.

Forgot to connect with someone? Grab their name from the attendees list and find them in your downtime.

 

Water Bottle

Almost every conference or seminar will have refreshments, but having a water bottle on hand is always helpful.

 

Cell Phone & Chargers

Who oesn’t have their cellphone with them nowadays?

Not many, but quite a few people forget their chargers.

Keep your cell phone on vibrate to avoid interrupting or dealing with disgruntled co-attendees, but still keep it nearby.

A lot of seminars and conferences have social media opportunities for you to take part in. Contests and other interactive options give attendees a chance to win things, engage with others around the country, connect after the event. You can use it to take pictures of slides, tweet a quotable saying from a speaker or capture the moment with a picture.

 

Healthy Snacks

Just like water, there might be some there for you at the seminar, but it might not be for you.

Some places provide breakfast, but bagels and doughnuts might not be high on your food intake list. Unhealthy things like this can also leave you feeling sluggish throughout the seminar and not give your brain the power it needs to gorge itself on the knowledge you paid to learn.

Save yourself time, uncomfortable hours of freezing, and make a few new friends when you prepare the night before.


Do you have any other suggestions?

Leave us a comment!

5 Tips for Dealing with Burnout

Written by Taylor Davis

"Burnout occurs when passionate committed people become deeply disillusioned with a job or career from which they have previously derived much of their identity and meaning. It comes as the things that inspire passion and enthusiasm are stripped away and tedious or unpleasant things crowd in."

Sound about right?

Burnout can occur anywhere. Too often we see healthcare professionals suffer from this while trying to establish healthy outcomes for others. Unfortunately this burnout can cause the foundation of your life to crumble if you aren’t’ careful. Money, marriage, health – all of it’s connected and can easily stem from burnout.

Sometimes it’s easier to focus on things outside, like patients, instead of what’s needed in your own life. Once you focus on the basics of what’s burning you out, you can create a balanced life.

 

Signs of Burnout:

  • Dread for that activity
  • Stress-related health problems like headaches, insomnia, muscle tension
  • Always tired
  • Work long hours and your work never seems to be finished
  • Apathy
  • Resentment
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Making more mistakes than usual
  • Procrastination
  • Decreased productivity, missing deadlines
  • Boredom
  • Disillusionment
  • Giving up or not setting professional goals
  • Conflicts with colleagues or supervisors
  • Use of unhealthy coping (alcohol, drugs, food etc.)

 

Recovery

The question is, how do you recover? Here are a few tips to get you started. 

 

Graze don’t gorge

Burnout causes the body to stress and a lot of the time that means eating – A LOT – and usually stuff that isn’t good for you. So, feed the urge. Eat more, but eat things that are high in water, fiber, antioxidants and other nutrients that are good for you.

 

Sleep until you can breathe

Working around the clock isn’t good. Repeat – is NOT good.

If you want to look smarter at work, sleeping can help with that. Our culture is addicted to being busy – not productive – but if you allow yourself to sleep then your body will give you the ingredients you need to work more efficiently in less time.

Making choices that sustain the deprivation only makes things worse. Don’t take on tasks that require all-nighters and say no to the job that deprives you of oxygen.

Sleep is a necessity, not privilege.

 

Find fun in exercise

There’s a mind shift to it, no doubt, but that dragging feeling will go away once you start.

Exercise has plenty of health benefits including adding energy, but often too many people let exercise fall by the wayside. Usually that comes from the idea that it’s difficult to start or the expectations of working out everyday. Try it twice a week or three times, but figure out what’s fun for you. Ask yourself if the activity you’re taking part in is fun and if it’s not, try something else.

 

Take time for the good

Make a list of everything you interact with – tasks, people, places – and write down if they make you feel good, bad or neutral. Be honest and make a note if the good things make you feel tired or overwhelmed, too.

Once you write those down, then write down the same amount of things you enjoy – 20 things you do per day, 20 things you enjoy. Now every time you do something on that list that’s either exhausting, bad or neutral, write down something you enjoy next to it.

If one of your enjoyment activities is reading a book, then take time for that after working half the day. Listen to a podcast while doing the laundry if that’s something you enjoy. Create a balance.  

 

Find some peace

It doesn’t have to be yoga or meditation or journaling. Take a few minutes to sit silently with yourself and unplug from the technology, distractions and people.

Almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes… including you.
— Anne Lamott

Connect with whatever calms you because whatever is burning you out isn’t worth your energy or your health.


Working yourself until you’re sick isn’t worth it. It’s not admirable, dedicated or helpful at all, so why do it? Your profession requires you to help someone thrive, but how can you do that if you aren’t thriving yourself? 


Do you suffer from burnout? What can we help with?

Leave a comment below. 

How to Improve Email Communication

Written by Taylor Davis

We’re not strangers to misunderstandings stemming from a text message or an email.

Too often, we’re quick to respond without actually thinking our response through, and usually emotions are the driving factor in that response.

We’re angry. We’re defensive. We’re loyal.

We want to put it all out there and let them have it.

Put the brakes on for a second.

Usually the person we’re emailing is a colleague, boss, or potential client. All of which are professional contacts, so why do we feel the need to respond in such a way that is unprofessional? Issues stem from misunderstandings, especially regarding intent, so why not talk to the person face to face, instead of sending a bad email that could cost you more?

Obviously not all interactions can be in person, but regardless of a conversation or an email, these tips can help you improve communication. Compose an email that serves a purpose, isn’t fueled by emotions and keeps the interaction simple to avoid unnecessary conflict.  


Start off somewhat personal

Don’t limit it to “hope you’re doing well.” Instead, ask how their weekend was, if they enjoyed an activity your talked about last week, or how their family is doing.

If it isn’t someone you know, research their work a little and tell them what you enjoy. For example, “I enjoyed your speech at so-and-so conference on whatch-ma-jiggy. It really made me think about my own work.”

 

Keep it simple

Long paragraphs and two-page emails are boring. The truth is a lot of people don’t have time nor the attention span to read a 20 chapter book first thing in the morning. People are busy so keep it short.

Start on a personal note, discuss the issue, provide some actions to take to reach the goal and close with a good note.

 

Don’t get emotional

People reading the email can usually feel the emotion you put into it. Anger is especially noticeable with every word and period for those paragraphs. A good rule is that if you feel angry, don’t write that email. If you feel like you need to express you email, then write it, but don’t send it. That will get your anger out and keep you from being dragged into HR or fired.

 

Remember to check your grammar and reread that email before you send it. Better yet, write the email and save it as a draft before you take a coffee or bathroom break. Does that email still need to be sent after a little time away? Can you go talk to the recipient in person?


According to Mindful, there are 6 rules of conscious emailing you should consider.

1.       Compose an email – Shorter paragraphs are easier to read.

2.       Stop, and enjoy a long deep breath.

3.       Think of the person, or people, who are going to receive the message. How do you see them reacting? Could they misunderstand your message? Remember to take into account how you phrase the message depending on who’s receiving it, like your boss.

4.       Look the email over again and make some changes.

5.       Don’t send your email right away. Leave it as a draft and come back after taking care of a few other things. Do you still need to send it? Does the tone sound the way it should?

6.       Take one last look.


A good rule of thumb is to treat others the way you want to be treated. Would you get angry if you got an email with your words? You can’t control everyone’s reactions, but taking a step to stop it from occurring at all may help in the long run.  

 

4 Tips for Using Social Media in Your Profession

Written by Taylor Davis

Your social media pages could cost you your career. 

Did you know that? There's a lot of hype in the media about people getting fired for slacking on the job and posting it for all the world to see, or releasing information about the company they work for on Facebook or Twitter. Those cases are important, but there're a lot of other reasons social media could cost you. The question is, are you using social media to your advantage or creating a wealth of information you don't want your colleagues to know? 

Make switch from posting about your personal grievances to a profile your boss wouldn't have to watch with these tips.

 

Be respectful & conscious of what you’re posting

Times have changed causing professional and personal lives to collide with the help of social sites. Be wary of what you post on your social sites. The content you post on your social channels can lead to confrontations, job loss, and a lot more damaging things, even though they have (nearly) free reign and are your “personal” site.

We all have opinions on different matters, but the power of social media comes with great responsibility.

 

Pay attention to grammar & appearance

Jobs notice these things. Everyone’s “voice” is different, but articulating your thoughts grammatically can make all the difference – and stop a conflict from arising.

Take an extra second to reread your post, and keep some things in mind:

Is it helpful? Is it kind?

Are your images decent?

Do they fit the type of profile you’re posting on? (Ex: Professional photo on LinkedIn)

Do the things you post on company websites make sense?

 

Use your knowledge to teach your audience

You have valuable knowledge that you can share with your friends and peers, so why not use it? Join groups or post interesting stuff you learn on your wall. Your position as a healthcare professional – regardless of what profession or position you hold – gives you the unique opportunity to share what you learned with others.

Some ways to get your knowledge out there include posting articles on LinkedIn and sharing them on Facebook. You could also start a blog for your profession with helpful tips, or only use social media to share the information. It’s as easy as putting the main idea on an image and posting the information above it. 

 

Promote good information for your profession

There are plenty of stories out there of people in your profession doing good things, or patients sharing how they were helped by it. Share those! Better yet, share some good you’ve done or good things you’ve seen. Remember to keep confidentiality, but share the good stuff. Your job was created to help someone, so why not help others with that story, too?

Also, try posting information you find for your profession on group boards or company sites where the audience may find it helpful.

How to Improve Communication with Patients for Positive Results

Written by Taylor Davis

The hustle and bustle can cost you patients.

That’s the cold hard truth, and one often dismissed because usually the work flow process doesn’t emphasize communication. Why should you care about it then? The way you interact with patients can debilitate relationships and cost you positive outcomes for patient treatments.

Picture this

Option A: Sally comes into the office with a knee problem and she’s written a prescription for pain medication before being sent on her way after 10 minutes and barely having an exam. No explanation of what the medication affects, a quick response, and a focus for her knee. Sounds good, right?

Option B: Sally goes to another office with the same issue. She’s examined at the source of the problem and around the area, the doctor asks her about her daily movements and food habits, creates a treatment plan for a possible injury and sends her home. He explains what he’s doing and why he’s doing it, and provides a list of the medications he’s putting her on with the side effects and purpose. He then asks her if she has questions, provides alternate conditions and treatments, and also gives her advice on how she can counteract the pain – sitting/standing, different shoes, dietary changes etc.. – before checking up with her in a few weeks.

Which clinician would you prefer?

Hope you chose Option B!

The more cohesive approach of Option B allows the patient to feel like they’re being heard, giving you a more accurate understanding of the issue at the root of the problem, and helping you successfully treat your patient.  

Sometimes it’s difficult due to time constraints and pushing from above to get more patients in and out, but what if improving the small steps of communication and preplanning could help? Bring some awareness to your practice by implementing these tips that will help improve communication overall.

 

Slow Down

Give them more than 5 minutes. The reality is that everyone’s busy, but your patient needs you to be there for them and take some time out of your job to see them. They did the same thing for you to make that appointment. Waiting forever then getting rushed out doesn’t help anyone, often leaves the patient frustrated, and costs you in the end.

 

Teach Back

Many people don’t speak doctor, so teach them a little along the way. A few ways you can easily do this is by explaining issues in normal/everyday words so they understand, explain why something happens or why you’re doing it, and allow them to voice their questions and concerns.

Give instructions for medication and changes they can make in their daily routine on paper so they can take it home. Explain the purpose of the medication, when and how to properly take them, and the side effects, too.

Don’t forget to stress active communication with your office. They should contact you if something isn’t working given enough time so you can alter the treatment.

Time may be an issue, but fulfilling these issues up front can limit issues rising in the future. Acquire the help of an assistant or fellow colleague to take this on as a part of their process, but don’t put it all off on them.

 

Don’t Accuse or Assume

Shaming a patient due to lifestyle choices or something they “should’ve” done will cut communication off before you even get started. Your interaction is more than just a single appointment - it's about creating a connection with trust.  Always ensure that a patient understands all of their options, respond to what they want and help them figure out how to achieve the outcomes they want in a simple step-by-step way.

Try to see if from their point of view, and take a second to think of what you’re saying.

 

Treat Them, Not the Chart

The electronic patient can be tempting to pay attention to, but looking at the patient and examining them will provide clarity. It also opens communication tunnels because the patient may feel more taken care of rather than just talked to and sent on their way.

Offering advice can be a big part of communicating with patients. Providing actionable advice to fix a condition – like if you have a patient with constant back issues – by tweaking lifestyle changes could be more helpful, as long as you keep true to the “don’t accuse or assume” principle. Simply diagnosing, providing a prescription, or fixing the immediate issues doesn’t fix the problem usually. It only masks the symptoms.

 

Show Them You Care

They’ve come to you in pain or irritated at their condition, so take a second to show them you care. Simply talking to them about subjects like their job or their family can open them up a bit more, and provide better insight into their lives – which you can use when diagnosing.

 

Get the Whole Picture

Talk to the patient and the family members. Family members who’re there can shed some light on behaviors the patient might not recognize. It will also help you get all the symptoms, even if they don’t seem related.


It may seem difficult at first because you’re changing a habit that’s drilled in during training, but setting a communication standard will help you, your colleagues and your patients work toward the ultimate goal – wellness.  

What are some recommendations you have for office habits in healthcare? 

8 Things You Need to Have Positive Healthcare Outcomes

Written by Taylor Davis

Anything without a foundation will fail.

Sometimes the fundamentals are forgotten after years of working a field. The basics – like interpersonal communication, decency, and compassion – are lost in the rush of the work and pushing out patients with positive outcomes. The result? Relationships with patients suffer and treatment declines.

Those aspects that’re forgotten often lead to mistakes in treatment, poor patient outcomes, and losing patients from a practice because they’re frustrated. These 8 tips will help you bring awareness to your career and take it back to the beginning regardless if you’re a novice or a veteran in your field.

 

Retain Your Humanity

Your patients need you to listen, but sometimes the job can make you lose sight of that. Remember that your patients aren’t numbers – they’re people. Be the health professional they need to be honest with them, show understanding, and help them all at the same time. You’re human – exactly like them.

Stay humble in your endeavors and treat yourself, patients, and peers kindly.

 

Remember What It Means to Be a Normal Person

Sometimes it’s difficult to remove yourself from the situation as the person who treats the issue. Try thinking of how your patient sees things, and go from there. Their perspective can improve treatment plans and make hidden pieces of the problem clear up in the process.

Also, your patients often don’t understand your subject at your level. Explain simply by stepping into their shoes.

 

Show Compassion

Otherwise you won’t truly understand your patient.

Compassion allows your patient to feel noticed and acknowledged for their pain, which is a fundamental of any health career. You can’t try to treat something if you don’t understand it first, but to understand the issue plaguing the patient you must understand the patient, too.  

Healthy results don’t come from indifference.

 

Always Start with the Simplest Treatment

Over-complicating only leaves to frustrated patients and costly outcomes. Start with the simple, obvious issues and work from there.

 

Protocols Work, Until They Don’t

“The most dangerous phrase in the language is ‘we’ve always done it this way,’” so don’t be afraid to stray from the course. We’re constantly advancing, and trying out of the ordinary procedures isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Use common sense and don’t try procedures just because you want to see if they work – only what’s right for the patient.

Stay mindful of what treatments you’re using and record the results.

 

Don’t Say “Never” or “Always”

Treatments are not 100% and your patients can’t rely on the cookie cutter method. Even if something seems out of the ordinary for a condition, that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for your patient to have it.

 

Be Mindful of the Habits You Cultivate

It’s easy to slip into the “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” routine, but don’t let the little things slip by. Watch all the things that make you healthy and unhealthy because eventually those little thing become big ones.

 

Burnout Is Inevitable

It happens to everyone and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. Take a break from your daily grind to remind yourself why you started this career path in the first place. It’s not a bad thing if you take a break from what “should” be done and reassess either.

Take some time for self-care.


Do you have any tips for your fellow health professionals?

Share your knowledge in the comment section below. Join the community!

 

This information was gathered from social comments via Facebook & Instagram from our audience, fellow professionals in various healthcare fields.