Nicole’s WOCNext® Journey: Five Years of Inspiration and Growth
Hello, I’m Nicole Kindel, RN, CWOCN, and I’ve been attending WOCNext for five years! With 16 years in the WOC nursing field under my belt, I wear my WOCN® Society membership with pride, and I’m excited to share why WOCNext holds a special place in my heart. My hope is that by sharing my story, I can inspire fellow nurses to join in and discover the same wellspring of inspiration and growth that has fueled my career for all these years. Let’s dive in.
My First WOCNext Experience
In 2010, I experienced a WOCN Society Annual Conference for the first time in Phoenix, Arizona, alongside my mentor, Cathie Potts. Cathie’s passion for involvement and continuous education ignited my love for the event, now known as WOCNext.
What Keeps Me Coming Back
Throughout my five adventures at WOCNext, one thing’s been my constant joy: connecting with fellow WOC nurses and soaking in their stories. Over the years, I’ve learned that we all have the same goals related to wound healing, ostomy teaching, and so forth, but we all go about obtaining those goals in different ways. There is always something new to learn in this field, whether you are a novice or an expert, which brings me to the education: I’ve learned something from every session I’ve attended.
Dorothy Doughty, Mikel Gray, and Tod Brindle stand out as having the most significant impacts on my career. Dorothy always delivers excellent education but does it in a fun way that makes the information stick. Dr. Gray does not speak on the most glamorous topics, but always presents the information in an entertaining way. Tod was becoming very involved in pressure injury prevention at the beginning of my career, and the information he shared was exactly what I needed as a new acute care WOC nurse.
The Surprises: Smart Nurses Stepping Up
Each year, I’m surprised by the influx of brilliant nurses hitting the big stage early in their careers. When I first started attending the conference, I was learning a lot from those who had been in the field for many years. Now, when I attend, newer WOC nurses present on just as important topics. It shows that there is always information to be shared and learned, no matter where people are in their WOC journey.
Advice for Newcomers: Expect to be Inspired
You will be overwhelmed the first time you attend; this is normal and part of the excitement. Go in with an open mind and expect to be inspired. I still leave the conference inspired, even after attending for many years. Also, take advantage of the Exhibit Hall—you’ll be a better nurse for knowing what products and technologies are available and up-and-coming. I also recommend taking some time to explore the host city. There is always something fun to see and do.
A Little Personal Reflection and Anecdote
I remember attending the award ceremony during my first conference in Phoenix. I watched all the new board members get sworn in and whispered to my mentor sitting next to me, “My goal is to be on that board by the time I am 40”. I felt so inspired and in awe by seeing all the accomplishments and talent around me. I wanted to be one of them!
I turned 40 this year, and while I am not “technically” a board member, I am a chair for a board committee, and that feels pretty darn good!
Summing It Up: WOCNext in a Nutshell
Five times in, I can say that attending WOCNext was and still is the best decision I have made in my career. I have made amazing, long-term friendships and learned much from the talented WOC community. Without the WOCN Society and the education they’ve poured into me, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’m smarter and sharper, and now, I’m giving back as part of the WOCN Society’s Leadership Development Committee. Talk about a full-circle moment.
Join Nicole at WOCNext 2024: Here’s How
As the only educational event of the year hosted by healthcare professionals for healthcare professionals, WOCNext delivers all the newest evidence-based education, value-packed professional development, and an inclusive experience that unlocks the power of community.
This year, WOCNext 2024 is taking place in the birthplace of WOC nursing—Cleveland, Ohio. Whether you join us in person or virtually, you’ll have the opportunity to make your mark on WOC nursing history. With 45+ Contact Hours, 40+ speakers, 45+ sessions, and 100+ exhibitors, this year’s focus includes deep dives into the rich origins and outlook of our profession, sessions on professional growth, leadership, and well-being, and easy access to CE credits and event education.
Find more information and register at wocnext.org.