By Shawn Kennedy, AJN interim editor-in-chief


NTI exhibit hall crowds.

I’m writing to you this morning from Washington, DC, where I’m attending the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) 2010 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (known simply as “the NTI”). I’m probably miscounting, but I think this might be my 15th visit to the NTI. I first attended when I was an ED staff nurse at Bellevue Hospital in New York City. I marveled at the hundreds of nurses who attended from all across the country. It was energizing and inspiring and overwhelming, and I learned a lot.

Now, it’s not just hundreds but thousands of nurses who attend the NTI, and they come not only from states across this country but also from around the globe. It’s still energizing, and there’s no doubt I can still learn a lot. Throngs of nurses have crowded the sessions, so much so that it’s hard to remember there’s a nursing shortage; but critical care nurses are still much in demand, and representatives from many hospitals—as well as from all branches of the military—are manning recruitment booths. The exhibit hall is still overwhelming: this year there are more than 500 exhibitors and the exhibits include a Life Flight helicopter, a couple of full-size buses equipped as classrooms or EDs, and a fully-equipped military emergency treatment tent.

I’ve attended some very good sessions and a couple of clunkers—a better ratio than I’ve found at most conferences. Now I’m off to interview the incoming and outgoing presidents of the AACN—look for that post, with a link to a podcast of the interview, in the next few days. I’ve got to get inside that helicopter . . .

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