Course: Bachelor of Nursing Science (Psychiatric) 2012
Was 2015 your first IHSA Conference? No, my first was Galway 2012. I knew nothing of IHSA and was quickly swept into the organising committee as the Chief Organiser had become injured a week before the Conference!
What attracted you to IHSA and An Cumann Staire? I initially joined An Cumann Staire in 2011 as a result of a group of friends dragging me along to a ‘boring’ History lecture in NUIG. As a Nursing student I had little interest in History, but a few short months later I found myself turning up to most of the lectures, events and social gatherings and going forward for a position on committee. My opinion was completely turned around and I wanted to get as involved in An Cumann Staire as possible. This lead also to my involvement with IHSA, which is primarily behind the scenes in an organisational and supportive capacity. 2015 will be my 4th IHSA Conference.
Best Memory of the Conferences? Someone really confused asking me where ‘The Arts Millennium Building’ (NUIG) was. They were standing in it and had just given their paper and of course, our gatherings at Costello’s of Limerick.
What are you looking forward to most about Galway 2016? Catching up with friends whom I see once a year or so at IHSA Conferences.
When you’re sitting at a conference, listening to the chair give his or her spiel about who they’d like to thank and why and how the committee was great, you’re probably like me….wishing they’d finish up rapido and let us all get on with the business at hand, namely the sharing of ideas and delivering of papers. Its like at the cinema, the trailers might be interesting, but they’re not the real reason you went there in the first place!
However after a few months working with the committee in Galway 2016, I have to admit, the credits have their place in the shake-up too. A competent team behind/beside you will save your bacon and sanity in one fell swoop! A team comprised of solid, dependable, innovative and hard workers might even allow you to enjoy the process! In Galway I would like to think we have that combination well mixed in. Its important to enjoy life, sure even the Big Fella kicked back as well…
Now wouldn’t THAT make for an interesting paper!
Since we last spoke, the committee and myself have all been hard at work on IHSA 2016. Documents, updates and a seemingly endless supply of pedantic edits (my own pedanticism) have been flying across the net and people have been expressing opinions, choosing menu options, wandering corridors looking at rooms, pricing suppliers and determining which coffee is best! Ask anyone, I’m an awful coffee snob; if I have to drink it on the 19-21 February 2016, then it will at least be decent swill! We’re working on hotels and other accommodation options to try and get the best deal for attendees and to get as much bang for your hard earned bucks as possible!
I am becoming convinced that it is the nuts and bolts, the unseen spade work, that can make or break a conference. You can have a Nobel Laureate give you keynote, you can have the most amazing dinner and lunches, but if your budget is blown sky-high, if your hot beverages are well, not hot, or if your attendees have no idea what’s going on, then your perfect 10 will be heading in the opposite direction! And despite what anyone tells me (or you too), it does take a full year to do it properly. Now I’m not saying you’ll be at it 24/7, but you will give it a few hours every week in some capacity, even if its writing a blog like this, or emailing caterers, or sorting out a workshop. To approach matters in any other fashion would be to invite a downward spiral which could be hard to pull out of. To quote the late, great George Harrison, ‘It takes time/a whole lot of precious time/it takes patience and time/to do it, to do it right!’
And with all this behind-the-scenes activity, I feel that it is vitally important to keep in touch with you, the public and potential attendees, to let you know that we’re working away and that if you give us your weekend in February next year, then we’ll give you a truly great, memorable experience with some lasting memories and positive outcomes! This year we hope to have even better outcomes than previously, with greatly expanded media of presentation, legacy plans and greater than ever avenues of participation.
So keep the faith and we hope to have some great testimonials coming out in the next few weeks or so! As usual if you’ve any questions please feel free to email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or leave us a comment below.