Conventional wisdom

Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

It's long-term care convention season again. You can feel it in the air. Strange, troublesome urges start to take over. 

You ask your wife to communicate only through PowerPoint. You choose a folding chair instead of the sofa, and you sit too long and too close to strangers on the subway.

Perhaps you've even started poring over conference programs online, excitedly noting the daily educational sessions you will pretend to have attended upon returning home. Actually, for efficiency and clarity when speaking about this common convention behavior, we should probably just combine the words “pretend” and “attend.” As in, “Oh, hi, Bob. I see you're back from the national AHCA conference in San Antonio. How many educational sessions did you prattend?” It's just easier, and removes the whiff of accusation. 

I've been present for dozens of these festivities, so naturally have accumulated a wealth of helpful tips. Some are so obvious they hardly bear repeating. 

For instance, you already know to leave your phone volume set to max before entering a General Session presentation, and if it rings, to answer it out loud rather than simply muting it. That's just common sense. 

Other survival skills are more subtle, and are acquired over time. In the unlikely event that a presenter does not achieve your expected level of charm and entertainment value, there's an established etiquette to leaving the session early. You must glance at your personal electronic device, muster a convincing look of rising shock and concern, and then stride worriedly from the room. “I find this information invaluable, and am absolutely sick about being torn away,” you're non-verbally saying to those left behind, “Unfortunately, there's a rabid mongoose running amok in my facility kitchen.” 

Oh, and make sure you grab any handout on your way out. Just to prove you were there.