A local chapter from a professional nursing organization hosted its first symposium. The chapter learned from this experience, and is seeking to disseminate this information to other chapter leaders and informatics professionals through a poster presentation. As chapter leaders, it is important to drive our mission and ensure that we are in alignment with the Nursing Informatics Scope and Standards of Practice, which identifies education as a standard of professional performance. Regional symposiums support knowledge sharing at a local level. By facilitating yearly symposiums, we support education accessible to those without the means to attend national conferences. In 2017, we used Survey Monkey to gather information on who comprises the chapter and what days work best to host events. The data gathered from the survey drove our 2018 member meetings, where topics of interest were identified. With this knowledge in mind, we sought counsel from the regional director, who was able to connect us with another chapter that had hosted several symposiums. After speaking with the other chapter leaders, it became evident that we would need to seek out our members to form a task force. We created the symposium task force and recruited chapter member volunteers through email using the listserv. By including our members in the event planning, it brought in a wide range of experience and ideas, while at the same time increasing chapter member engagement. A monthly meeting date and time was chosen from volunteer input using a Doodle pool. Google Calendar was used to send out meeting invites. We used a conference call service for calls, and later used Zoom for screen sharing capability.
Early in the planning, we identified smaller task groups: facility, promotions, registration, and moderators. During monthly meetings, we were able to identify and assign tasks and had those groups work on action items between meetings. The facility team was comprised of chapter members that worked at the host site. They held multiple onsite meetings during planning. Registration was done using JotForm, a web-based application used to collect registration information and process payments. Promotions created marketing materials, agendas, and a photo frame. We utilized the chapter Google shared drive to store symposium planning documents. An excel spreadsheet of tasks, assignments, and due dates for tracking our planning was created. In addition, a vendor request letter was created, and two vendors were recruited to attend. We identified multiple team leads for the day of the symposium, such as vendor point of contact, food, registration, moderators, facility, and chapter sales. Having leads for each area was integral to a smooth coordination of the event.
The symposium was a success; 48 members attended from New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey. One of the members that attended the event has approached the chapter with interest to host next year’s symposium. A post-event survey was sent out using Survey Monkey to measure attendee satisfaction. Ninety percent of attendees would very likely recommend the event to a colleague.