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Your Guide to the AORN Conference

Your Guide to the AORN Conference

OR Today Magazine | Cover Story | Your Guide to the AORN Conference

By Don Sadler

“This makes it important to get a jumpstart on your conference planning if you want to get the most benefit out of your time at the conference.”

The AORN Surgical Conference & Expo 2015 is right around the corner. And this year’s AORN event, which will be held March 7-11 in Denver, Colo., is shaping up to be the biggest and best AORN conference yet.

Every year since 1949, thousands of perioperative nurses, representatives from OR technology and equipment manufacturers, and other industry participants have gathered for the five-day AORN Surgical Conference & Expo. This makes the AORN conference the largest event for the perioperative nursing profession in the world.

OR Today Magazine | Cover Story | Your Guide to the AORN Conference

Highlights of the 2015 Conference

A number of new things are planned for the 2015 conference, according to Linda Groah, MSN, RN, CNOR, NEA-BC, FAAN, the Executive Director and CEO of the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses (AORN).

“This makes it important to get a jumpstart on your conference planning if you want to get the most benefit out of your time at the conference,” says Groah.

Back by popular demand this year is the OR Executive Summit. Designed for nurse executives, this exclusive event provides executive-level education and information to help drive productivity and profitability in the OR. And new this year will be the Leadership Development Summit, where attendees can gain practical leadership skills and insight from a leadership point of view.

Another exciting addition for this year’s AORN conference is the introduction of a new app that will enable attendees to plan out a personalized track for the conference before arriving in Denver.

With this app, you can create your customized conference schedule; search sessions by date, time or track; get event announcements; locate sessions and exhibitor booths; learn about speakers, exhibitors and other attendees; and take notes. Download the app for free at

In addition, the app will allow interaction between speakers and attendees in each session.

“The days of sitting in a lecture room and listening to a speaker with a PowerPoint presentation are over,” says Groah. “The app will make the sessions more interactive by allowing speakers to poll attendees, and attendees to text questions to speakers in real time.”

OR Today Magazine | Cover Story | Your Guide to the AORN Conference

Another exciting new feature at the AORN conference this year is “Flip the Sessions.” Here’s how it will work: Before the conference, attendees can listen to a lecture via webinar to learn about an important topic. In some instances, attendees will be challenged to consider aspects of the discussion to prepare for the live session at the conference.

Once onsite, attendees will meet with colleagues and the presenter to explore your questions and work in small groups to solve problems related to the topic. Attendees will receive a recording of the live webinar prior to the conference, and it will also be repeated onsite in the Education Hub prior to the session. Learn more at

Education Hub is Expanding

OR Today Magazine | Cover Story | Your Guide to the AORN ConferenceThis year, the popular Education Hub is expanding to 300 seats, and the hours are being extended so that it’s open from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. each day of the conference. Up to eight conference sessions will be streaming at once, so attendees can relax in the hub with a cup of coffee and catch up on any sessions they might have missed.

The Periop Challenge is another new feature at the 2015 AORN Surgical Conference & Expo. In this competitive session, attendees will be divided into four teams pitted against each other in answering evidence-based questions related to perioperative practice. Cartoons, questions and real-life perioperative situations will be presented, and the team that responds the fastest with the most correct answers will win.

At the new Buzz Sessions, attendees will drive the discussion in a facilitated format with a topic expert by sharing challenges and solutions. Registered attendees can submit topics in advance for these Buzz Sessions by sending an email to AORN’s Director of Education, Susan Bakewell, at

Collaboration boards located throughout the conference area will enable attendees to post questions they have or problems they’re dealing with so that other attendees can offer answers and suggestions. One full day will be devoted exclusively to patient positioning challenges, with hands-on simulation sessions focused on preventing pressure ulcers that occur due to improper positioning.

OR Today Magazine | Cover Story | Your Guide to the AORN Conference

Attendee Testimonials

Larry Asplin, RN, MSN, CNOR, the Clinical Director, Surgery/Central Processing at CentraCare Health-St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud, Minn., has been regularly attending the AORN annual conference since 1991. He says one of the things he looks forward to the most each year is the OR Executive Summit.

“It provides outstanding sessions designed specifically for perioperative leaders that truly inspire and motivate attendees,” says Asplin. “I believe the OR Executive Summit represents the best value for OR leaders. Each year, I leave with more inspiration and zeal for providing outstanding patient care.”

At the other end of the attendee spectrum, Ann Shupe RN, MSN, CNOR, the Manager of Education, Safety, Quality and Informatics Surgical Services for Spectrum Health-Grand Rapids in Grand Rapids, Mich., attended her first AORN conference last year.

“I had always wanted to attend AORN because I’d heard what a great experience it is,” says Shupe. “I also heard that the product displays are comprehensive, and I wanted to compare everything available all in one place.”

OR Today Magazine | Cover Story | Your Guide to the AORN Conference

Shupe says she realized many benefits from last year’s AORN conference.

“It offered relevant and current educational sessions and poster presentations and the opportunity to network with other professionals in surgery from across the country, as well as to spend time with nurses from my hospital system brainstorming about new ideas,” she says.

Asplin echoes Shupe’s recommendation of the AORN conference, especially the networking opportunities it presents.

“The benefits realized from attending the AORN Surgical Conference & Expo make this conference a tremendous value. Once you have attended one AORN conference, you will likely be hooked,” Asplin says.

He encourages new attendees not to be shy about wearing the green first-time attendee ribbon or attending the first-time attendee orientation.

“The conference can be a little overwhelming at first, so take advantage of this and don’t be afraid to ask others for assistance,” Asplin says. “You have hundreds of colleagues who will welcome and support you during your inauguration to the AORN conference.”

Fun Activities Also Planned

Of course, there are plenty of fun activities planned for the time in Denver, including the AORN Foundation Race for Patient Safety 5K Run/3K Walk, Zumba Class, Party and Benefit, and Auction.

Groah encourages anyone who plans to attend the 2015 AORN Surgical Conference & Expo to start planning out their conference agenda now.

“There will be more than 100 sessions at the conference, so use the app to plan out the sessions you want to attend ahead of time,” she advises attendees. “And also think about how you will bring the information and resources from the conference back with you to implement and share with your colleagues in order to make positive changes in your environment.”

It’s not too late to register for the 2015 AORN Surgical Conference & Expo. Visit to download a conference brochure or to complete conference registration online.

OR Today Magazine | Cover Story | Your Guide to the AORN Conference



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