Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oncology Nursing Conference

In May, my friend and I travelled to Philadelphia for an Oncology Nursing conference. It was amazing. There were 7,000 oncology nurses there. It was so cool to be in a place where there were so many people with that common link. The classes were very good and I racked up about 40 hours of continuing education in four days, which I need to maintain my Oncology Nursing Certification. There wasn't too much time for sight-seeing, since our classes started at 6 a.m. and finished at 9 p.m. (a typical nursing conference). In order to get free meals, we'd go to the extra classes put on by the drug companies. We'd have a Melanoma breakfast, a Nausea & Vomiting lunch, and a Breast Cancer dinner. Yep, only nurses could keep eating while people are talking about nausea and vomiting.
One evening there was an "awards" ceremony for some outstanding oncology nurses. The MC was Loretta Swit, who played a nurse on MASH. She said she didn't mind if they made fun of her character, but she made them keep their hands off her nursing. That was something I noticed even as a little girl. I thought, "I don't really like her character, but she's a very good nurse."
The city of Philadelphia was very nice, full of historical sites: the first hospital, the first university, the first penitentiary, the first library, the first Black church, most of which were founded by the very busy Benjamin Franklin. We saw his tomb, the cracked Liberty Bell, and Constitution House, where the Declaration of Independence was written and the Constitution was signed. We also went to the African-American museum and did a bus tour. I saw the Rocky Steps, but didn't run up them because a) the bus didn't stop, and b) who runs?
Near the conference centre where we stayed, there was a place to eat in a converted train terminal, called the Reading Market. So there was a Reading Railroad and a Pennsylvania Railroad Station, like the Monopoly Game. We tried the famous Philly Cheese Steak sandwich, which wasn't bad, if you added hot sauce.
We also attended the Tenth Presbyterian Church, where the late James Montgomery Boice used to preach. I had heard him preach when he was in Toronto a few years back.
Overall, I'd go back to Philly, if I had more time, because there was alot to see and the city was very friendly and welcoming.

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