Attending professional conferences can help cure career burnout

I've been in a professional rut lately.  I've been working more than 80 hours during most weeks and my office session schedules are double and even triple booked.  I felt myself complaining non-stop to anyone who will listen. 

Let me be clear, I love the work that I do but I sometimes tire of my job. I love working with women, whether talking with them during office visits, being at the bedside offering labor support or my favorite part — receiving new life into my hands during a birth. It's the office politics, the incredibly long hours and the feeling of rushing from one client to another that wears me down. 

Two weeks ago I attended the 56th Annual Meeting of the American College of Nurse Midwives in San Antonio, Texas.  I attended business meetings, educational sessions, workshops and a political action committee rally. I reconnected with classmates and networked with colleagues from around the world and learned about innovative new products and procedures designed to enhance my midwifery practice. 

There is something about gathering with colleagues who understand the specific challenges and rewards of the profession. I am inspired by the midwives that are changing the world and making it a better place for women, often times despite adversity and seemingly insurmountable barriers.

I'm awed by midwives 40 years my senior, who have seen great changes in midwifery over the years and are still catching babies and supporting women.  I am energized by the possibilities that lay ahead of me professionally. 

This was my fourth time attending the ACNM annual meeting, and I look forward to it each year. I always come home with a renewed sense of purpose and a fresh outlook. I'm full of ideas to enhance our practice and am excited to share them with my practice partners.  My feeling of professional burnout has disappeared — at least for a while. 

Editorial note: If you are considering attending the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners' 26th National Conference, June 22-26th, 2011, in Las Vegas, but are unsure if you will be able to make it, log in and register to receive live coverage of the conference via Clinical Advisor's e-mail newsletter.

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