Conferences are a great place to learn new things, meet other people in your field, network, and amplify your work. They also can be a great place to meet people in other fields, depending on the conferences you attend. I frequently talk with colleagues about the need for nurses to attend more “non-nursing conferences,” especially those geared to innovation. If we want the world to understand better what it is that we do and the value we bring to all settings, not just the bedside, we need to show up and be seen and heard outside of our own circle.
Based on feedback from #nursesonlinkedin and other colleagues, here are some of the upcoming conferences recommended for nurses who are interested in innovation and design (in order by upcoming dates). Note: Conflicting opinions exist on the value some of these larger, industry-sponsored conferences provide to individual nurses. To this I would say, we can’t add value if we don’t attend. Nurses and health systems should decide what their goals are and determine if the conferences will help meet them – but I urge you to do so only after attending at least once. Not everyone goes to these conferences for the same reason, the value may differ.
About: The ConVerge-2-Xcelerate (ConV2X) is “one of the leading conferences of innovators at the frontier of blockchain and health and telehealth.”
Who attends: “A multidisciplinary global network that includes universities, enterprise, startups, health systems, payors, clinicians, consortiums, pharmaceutical & medical device manufacturers, government, NGOs, consultants, think tanks, VCs, investors, students, and knowledge seekers.”
Date: September 22, 2023, New Orleans, LA. Cost: $799
About: This conference “…unites thought leaders, investors, entrepreneurs, and educators in shaping the future of learning and the global workforce.”
Who attends: “A diverse melting pot of thought leaders and artists, all eager to revolutionize the way we learn, teach, and connect.”
Dates: October 2–5, 2023, New York, NY. Cost: $750
About: HLTH “is the leading platform bringing together the entire health ecosystem, focused on health innovation and transformation.”
Who attends: Providers and health systems, payors and insurance companies, employers and benefits leaders, startups, consumer tech and wellness, investors, health tech, pharma, patient communities, government, and media.
Dates: October 8–11, 2023, Las Vegas, NV. Cost: $3,295
About: The THInC conference is “an interactive weekend with co-design sessions, innovation safaris, global-reaching panel sessions, and patient perspectives.”
Who attends: “Nurses and nurse allies with a CAN DO attitude…”
Dates: October 27–28, 2023, Boston, MA. Cost: $500
About: HDC is “devoted to how the design of responsibly built environments directly impacts the safety, operation, clinical outcomes, and financial success of healthcare facilities now and into the future.”
Who attends: Healthcare industry, providers, designers, educators, architects, researchers, administrators, and more.
Dates: November 4–7, 2023, New Orleans, LA. Cost: $1,770
About: ViVe is “the go-to event for digital health decision makers looking to maximize ROI and advance the business of healthcare.”
Who attends: Digital healthcare leaders and business executives.
Dates: February 25–28, 2024, Los Angeles, CA. Cost: $2,895 (2023 general rate)
About: South by Southwest “dedicates itself to helping creative people achieve their goals. It proves that the most unexpected discoveries happen when diverse topics and people come together.”
Who attends: “The SXSW Conference & Festivals celebrate the convergence of the tech, film and television, and music industries.”
Dates: March 8–16, 2024, Austin, TX. Cost: $1,050–$1,365 (in advance; separate walkup rates)
About: “Imagine some of the most inspired and provocative thinkers, writers, artists, business people, teachers, and other leaders—all gathered in a single place.”
Who attends: “the nation’s premier gathering place for leaders from around the globe and across many disciplines…”
Dates: June 20–23, 2024, Aspen, CO. Cost: $2,200 (2023 general rate)
About: The Health Design Conference hosted by Mad*Pow’s Center for Health Experience “believes[s] in the power of design to drive much needed change in health.”
Who attends: A “unique crossroads from a diverse community of executives and practitioners in design, innovation, research, strategy, and technology.”
Dates: TBD for 2024. Cost: TBD
As a note, most of the innovation-focused conferences listed above are potentially cost-prohibitive for many people, including nurses. These conferences should consider who they’re systematically preventing from attending and whose voices are repeatedly missing. At the same time, nursing organizations and nurse leaders also need to consider the value these conferences may provide their faculty and staff—and the profession. Although these conferences can be budgetarily difficult, the value goes well beyond the monetary.
So, attend, network, learn, share, and amplify nursing within these interdisciplinary health, tech, design, and innovation conferences.
Marion Leary RN, MPH, PhD is the Director of Innovation at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing. As the Director of Innovation at Penn Nursing she works to amplify and educate nurses as leaders in health and healthcare innovation. Ms. Leary is a member of the American Nurses Association’s Innovation Advisory Committee, a Founding member of the Society of Nurse Scientists, Innovators, Entrepreneurs and Leaders (SONSIEL), a member of the American Heart Association’s Emergency Cardiovascular Care Innovation Subcommittee.