Methods: Hosting this two day conference on a Thursday-Friday in either October or November, and in the city of Ontario, CA, USA has shown that this nursing event can be offered at a reasonable price and at a location that attracts a diverse audience of nurses (nursing students, faculty and other RNs who work in a variety of roles). In order to meet the learning needs of this diverse group, the conference has typically planned for common sessions, break-out sessions and poster sessions. Key note speakers have often incorporated STTI values into their presentations and/or addressed important issues that affect nursing as a profession. Break-out session presenters have had the opportunity to share their current research or an innovative project that stems from a nursing school, hospital or community setting. Nursing students, as well as seasoned nurses have been break-out session speakers and poster presenters.
Results: Having a dedicated and collegial organization that is made up of 15 STTI southern California chapters is a terrific vehicle for putting on a conference that promotes scholarship, leadership and service, the key values of Sigma Theta Tau International. It is of particular importance to up and coming young nurses who will someday be tomorrow's nurse leaders. On each day of the conference, there are two keynote speakers, 12 - 16 podium presenters and 30 -40 poster presentations. The conference proceeding materials list all of the abstracts for oral and poster sessions and thus, attendees have a resource and point of contact for each session. During the closing session, attendees are asked to share what they've learned, as well as what they feel have been the highlights of the program. Many of the attendees leave this conference feeling inspired, energized and ready to apply what they've learned into practice.
Conclusion: Organizing and conducting an annual research and education regional conference whose planning committee consists of a large number of STTI chapters is not only feasible, it is doable and sustainable. This particular organization has had a significant amount of experience putting on a conference that is a joint venture among STTI chapters in the southern California region and could easily serve in a consultant role for others interested in putting on a similar program.