My experience at the 2018 REACH Conference in Palm Beach Florida.
First and foremost, l had a blast! The Conference kicked off with a Caribbean group entertaining ARN members on Wednesday October 17. After that, we met the Vendors who were sponsoring the conference. I sampled different products and was looking at trying the advanced Aqua guard product which we already use in our facility for safe showering; this one had a twist to it, the shower guard actually had safety gadgets to prevent water from getting into IV lines and wounds. The next day on October 18th, the president of ARN addressed the members in the grand ballroom, introduced members of the ARN Committee in Florida that hosted the conference and then the guest speaker of the conference came on. He spoke about his life as a professional ice skater and what his brain injury did to him. He spoke very candidly about his experience in rehab and how rehab nurses played such a big role in his recovery. His speech was amazing and he had come a long way in 10 years. It was very emotional and uplifting. He has a foundation that ARN will be contributing to as it was voted on and adopted at the ARN town hall meeting. I attended presentations on Yoga as a relaxation technique, Medication management, Resilience and stress management for nurses.
On 10/19/18 I attended various presentations: the ones that stood out for me were the stroke presentation by Dr. Stephanie Van spoke about stroke support groups which included new and seasoned stroke patients that got together weekly in their hospital for emotional support. I also attended the dementia presentation: The lecturer was emphasizing that patients had to be understood even in their confusion and that therapeutic fibbing was acceptable. She gave an example of how one patient insisted that it was snowing and staff said it was not and patient was so upset that he refused to do therapy because he knew he was seeing snow. Finally, the presenter saved the situation by agreeing with the patient that it was snowing and patient went on to do therapy that day. The Cardiovascular disease prevention lecture by Dr. David Perloff was also very interesting. He really emphasized on how and when to take blood pressures on patients. He just reinforced what we already know about cardiovascular disease but coming from a cardiologist made a lot of sense, especially his style of teaching. I was proud to see Gillian presenting on one of our former stroke patients and showing a video of how he is giving back by helping other stroke patients. Pat our Nurse Manager also had his poster on falls proudly displayed throughout the Conference. I particularly enjoyed reading the various posters. Some of my favorites were: “Living with Stroke: Improving patient and family participation by CRRN Denise White. Another one was “Structured medication education to improve patient satisfaction by CRRN Regina Reyes and Patient Satisfaction and Preparedness by April Lancaster, CRRN.
The last day of the Conference on 10/20/18, I attended a presentation on nursing care of veterans and how we can reach out as nurses to them. A VAD presentation was also interesting. The ARN conference ended with a nurse cracking jokes and making us laugh.
In conclusion, not only did l have a great time at the conference, I also learned a lot of new things and also refreshed my knowledge on old topics. I felt great seeing all the brave rehab nurses all in one place. I am proud to be a rehab nurse. What we do truly impacts lives.
Ngum Ntumngia, RN CRRN.