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How to select education sessions at an EMS conference

6 quick tips for selecting conference education sessions at an EMS conference


Seek out well known conference presenters, like Rom Duckworth, but also give new speakers a chance when selecting EMS conference sessions.

Photo/Greg Friese

In the weeks or months to come, are you attending a regional or national EMS conference?

Many times I want to attend several presentations that are offered simultaneously. With some careful thought and review of the session descriptions, I create a conference itinerary specific to my needs and interests. These are my tips for selecting conference sessions.

1. Preplan. Review the conference program before you arrive.

2. Select an interest area. Look for “presentation tracks” for specific interest groups like community paramedicine, operations, leadership, education and training, fire and rescue or assessment.

3. Align with your interests. Review the sessions in the track or tracks most applicable to your career and interests.

4. Study. Read the session titles and select session titles and/or speakers to read more about.

5. Make a match. Investigate the session description which should list the objectives and desired outcomes of the session. Do these match your needs and interests?

6. Finalize your selections. To narrow your choices find out if you could get the same or similar information from specific speakers from a published article or previous conference video.

At the conference, ask other attendees for recommendations if you are having difficulty selecting between two sessions. Also, consider trying one or two sessions outside of your expertise or training. For example, if you are an EMT, go to a paramedic session. Maybe it will spark your interest in more training or confirm your enjoyment of being an EMT.

Remember, if a session does not meet your expectations, you can leave. Speakers expect some deserters. As a presenter, I would rather be left with the people who are most interested and engaged.

Which sessions or speakers are you most looking forward to at upcoming conferences?

Read next: 10 ways to get the most out of a virtual conference

This article, originally published October 25, 2009, has been updated with current information

Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is the Lexipol Editorial Director, leading the efforts of the editorial team on Police1, FireRescue1, Corrections1 and EMS1. Greg served as the EMS1 editor-in-chief for five years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from the University of Idaho. He is an educator, author, national registry paramedic since 2005, and a long-distance runner. Greg was a 2010 recipient of the EMS 10 Award for innovation. He is also a three-time Jesse H. Neal award winner, the most prestigious award in specialized journalism, and the 2018 and 2020 Eddie Award winner for best Column/Blog. Connect with Greg on LinkedIn.