Author: Justin Silverstein, DHSc, R. EP T., CNIM, R.NCS.T., CNCT, NCT-C FASET
We were posed this quarter to answer the following question, “Why do you attend the ASET Annual Conference?”
The first ASET conference I attended was the annual conference in New Orleans circa 2007. I remember presenting my abstract on using paraspinal muscles for thoracic pedicle screw testing. I had never lectured at a professional conference prior to this and was extremely green (I didn’t even know you were supposed to have a slide deck to go along with your presentation). I literally riffed for 15 minutes off the top of my head about my theories and our study and surprisingly obtained a lot of positive feedback. What I also took away from that conference (besides the educational portion) was I had made associations and friendships with people in our field that live nowhere near me that have lasted my entire career to this day.
As a quasi-academic and someone who is always trying to propel the field forward through research and innovation, as well as a general practitioner in IONM, I tend to live in a bubble. A bubble that I have created over the years since I own my own neuromonitoring group. Conferences remind me that I am doing my job appropriately. I watch a lecture on monitoring cervical spine surgeries for example, and I take away from it that even though I live in my bubble, I am still doing what the rest of the field is doing. So, the reinforcement I get from conferences really boosts my confidence in continuing the path that I am on.
Conferences also get my juices flowing for new and innovative research. Whether it is from a lecture I attended or from a conversation with a colleague, I always return home amped up to work on something new and exciting.
I love hanging at the bar with colleagues and friends who I only get to see a handful of times, trading war stories, going over theories, making potential business deals, etc.…
I cannot wait for to be able to attend a conference in person. I think ASET did a great job of making the 2020 virtual meeting amazing; however, there is definitely a disconnect when not being able to attend live and get that human interaction from colleagues, friends and thought leaders in the field.