Most people cringe when they hear the word networking, but a survey conducted by LinkedIn found that over 70% of people have been hired through their personal connections. You might be thinking: I already have a job. Or: nurses are in demand, I don’t need to network. Or even: I already know a lot of nurses! But building your community of fellow nurses and healthcare professionals is about more than helping you land your next job. Nurses network to connect with like-minded professionals, find educational opportunities, mentorship, and more.
There are a lot of events for nurses out there, and navigating them can be daunting. Here’s an overview of the types of events other than conferences, and why it might be worth your time to attend.
1. Hospital events
Most hospitals host events that are open to anyone in the healthcare industry, not only hospital employees. This type of event is particularly useful if you’re new to the area or have a specific hospital in mind that you want to work at. Networking with current employees may give you the advantage of finding out about upcoming openings before positions even hit the job board.
2. Talks, workshops, and CE classes
It’s safe to assume that you have at least a little bit in common with the nurses who are attending the same educational events as you. These events are a great way to strengthen your skills and connect with people who care about similar topics. And as you build your network, offering to host or lead educational events will help you to develop your leadership and presentation skills. Check out local nursing associations, healthcare centers, alumni groups, nursing schools, and event listings like Eventbrite to find talks and workshops.
3. Nurse meetups
Your work is challenging. Sometimes the best way to unwind is to hang out with people who get it by socializing outside of work or educational events. Similar to education events, you can find nurse meetups and more casual gatherings online. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, it could be a good opportunity to create something new. Chances are that if there’s something you’d like to be doing, other nurses would too.
3. Online communities
Okay, so maybe this isn’t technically an event but nurses are hanging out online all of the time. Bonus: you can connect from the comfort of your home. There are a lot of active groups on Facebook and other social networks. #NurseTwitter is alive and well. Online communities are great for asking questions, sharing knowledge, and having fun too. We love a good meme!
Here are a few tips before you go to an event:
- You don’t need a business card. It might even be a good thing – not having a business card gives you the opportunity to add someone on social or get their contact info. That way you don’t have to wait for them to reach out to you.
- It seems like everyone is always apologizing for being bad with names, but most people don’t take it personally. Just say, “hi, I’m [your name]. Can you remind me of your name?” It can be that easy.
- It’s okay not to know what’s next. If you’re at a networking event because you’re in transition, remember that other people are too. Talk about what you’re interested in. And is a powerful word. For example, “I’ve been working in the ER and I’m really interested in palliative care.”
- It’s also okay to ask for help! Most people, especially nurses, love to be helpful. Try to be specific. Using the example from above, “I’m really interested in palliative care and I’d love to talk to more nurses who’ve done that work – do you know anyone I should connect with?”
- Make a note of anything you’d like to remember about the people you connected with, for example: where they work, what their position is, and what you talked about.
- Follow up! The best networking tip of all. If you take the initiative of sending an email or a text shortly after meeting one another, your new contact will be more likely to reach back out to you.
One more thing: Incredible Health hosts wellness events like spa night, education events, meetups and more. We’d love to see you there!