Tips for a Medical Conference


This past week I attended my first ever Continuing Education conference.  The one I went to was put on by the Georgia Dermatology Physician Assistants (GDPA), and it was their bi-annual Dermatology PEARLS conference.  The next one will be in March in Atlanta, GA if you have any interest in dermatology or are looking for a conference.  I went there not really knowing what to expect, but it was an awesome conference!  (I guess I don't have anything to compare to, but I did enjoy it.  I'm going to do a separate post reviewing this particular conference, but here are some tips I would like to share if you are getting ready to go to a conference!

  • No matter what you wear, you probably won't be the most underdressed or overdressed.  There were people in anything from jeans to suits.  
  • Bring a sweater!  It might be cold, and you'll be sedentary for most of the day.  
  • Welcome back to PA school!  Be ready to sit and listen to lectures for about 8 hours, unless you go to a conference that only has lectures in the morning.  
  • There's lots of food and coffee.  We had a breakfast and lunch buffet, and lots of coffee breaks with little snacks and drinks.  
  • Goodies!  They gave me a bag, pens, a notebook, and a jump drive with lectures when I arrived.  And then in the Exhibit Hall, there are a bunch of booths with pharmaceutical reps, hospitals, and other medical products that have handouts and information.  
  • You can come and go as you need to.  You can only claim the CME for the parts that you are actually present for, but it's not a big deal if you need to leave early.  
  • The sessions can be very interactive.  We had clickers to answer questions, and the speakers were very engaging, and encouraged questions.  
  • You need to know generic names.  All of the speakers try to be non-biased so they will use the generic names instead of the brand names as much as possible.  
  • Learning is exhausting, especially when it's been a while since you've had such intense classroom time.  
  • Students welcome!  There were a good bit of students at the conference I went to, and I think I would have been overwhelmed as a student, but also I would have learned a lot.  It's a great place to make connections and meet people for finding rotations or a job after graduation.  
  • And lastly, if you go to a dermatology conference, then everyone will have perfect skin!  But seriously, they did.  

Comment with any of your tips for conferences, or any CME events that you've been to and would recommend!