Much Needed Good News.
I have just received notice that I will have two posters in the Society for Simulation in Healthcare conference in January. Now, as far as science goes, posters are low on the rung of prestige-generating additions to one’s curriculum vita. However, they’re definitely good for a couple of things. First of all, they do get your work out there. And for this conference (like many, but not all conferences) the poster abstracts will be published in the society journal, which means that I will have two “publications” out of this. No one considers them equivalent to papers, but they are searchable online, and therefore when people are looking for work done in my field, there’s a slightly greater likelihood they’ll find mine.
Additionally, posters allow you to go, stand by your work, and explain it to people in your field. Or, in my case, explain it to physicians who are interested in my field. And considering the somewhat precarious nature of my employment situation, due to funding issues, that can only be a very good thing. Hopefully, there will be people there who are interested in employing or contracting a simulation consultant. But employment isn’t the only networking opportunity at these functions. Finding potential collaborators and consultants for grants, etc., is a big benefit of these conferences, as is sitting in on lectures about topics of interest.
Sadly, much of the Society for Simulation in Healthcare is devoted to mannequin simulators, which do not particularly interest me, though I certainly have the skills to work with them (I’d need a lot of ramp-up time, but they’re a complex system. I could figure them out with a decent tutor.). So I’m not sure how many of the lectures and presentations will be really interesting to me. But I’m hopeful that there will be a number of sessions to attend that I’m excited about. And I’m sure there will be much live-tweeting.
But mostly, I’m just glad that I finally got some decent professional news after a summer-long series of crushing disappointments. As far as professional successes go, posters are at the low end of the totem pole. They don’t matter much for what they are. A poster or two will never be the difference between getting a job and not getting one, I don’t imagine. They just don’t have a big enough impact. But they do show that you go out and present your work in the real world, and do scientific outreach. And in my case, it’s showing real world physicians how computer simulation can answer questions that is likely to result in projects and jobs, which lead to publications and grants. Hopefully.
Making posters is awkward for me, because I don’t have a good eye for how to present information. And a worse eye for graphic design (one glance at this blog should prove that). But I have a few months and a few people who can help. This is a good thing. No need to start gumming it up with anxiety right away.