With the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) in Boston just around the corner, we tapped AACN chapter leaders — Anna Dermenchyan, senior clinical quality specialist at UCLA Health and program chair of the AACN Chapter at UCLA, Los Angeles, and Heather Shepheard, cardiology ICU nurse at Duke Health and president of the Triangle Chapter, Durham, North Carolina — to share their tips for making the conference more economical and manageable for attendees.
What tricks do you suggest for lodging?
Heather: AACN lists hotel prices and amenities. Bargain options book up fast. Book lodging before anything else.
Anna: I love how creative our nurses are. One posted on our Facebook page that she was looking into Airbnb. She asked who wanted to stay with her and share expenses.
Heather: This is how I’ve been attending NTI for several years. It’s a huge cost-cutter. You can split expenses with others and save on food. Other options are hostels and timeshares. I utilized my parents’ timeshare for NTI New Orleans and saved a ton!
You mentioned saving money on food.
Heather: Let’s not talk about how expensive food is at the convention center. When booking a hotel, pick one offering free breakfast or in-room refrigerators. Rental homes have full kitchens. Eating in saves you big. Find a grocery store and stock up. Bring a lunchbox, water bottle and freezer packs. I pack lunch and snacks for the convention. I won’t miss sessions waiting in long lines, and I save by avoiding inflated food prices. Every nurse knows: Stay hydrated. Coolers are located in or near classrooms. Refill your water bottle throughout the day.
You have a bonus tip, right?
Heather: Check with your local chapter for organized group nights.
Anna: We plan a chapter night in the NTI host city. It’s a great networking opportunity and one of my favorite things about NTI. We invite current and previous chapter members and anyone associated with us. The chapter picks up the tab since it provides meaningful recognition and honors nurses among their peers.