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Attending a surgical conference - A post graduates perspective

By Dr Christie Bernard on Facebook Group "Learning General Surgery"

"I have been to quite a few conferences and and PG master classes..Few of them I have utilized it to the maximum whereas few I used it to some extent and few went waste .how can a postgraduate attending a conference make the best use of it and what are the basic points to be adhered to . 

1.Being on time 

 Few months ago ,there was a post in the group about how the Indian conferences look vacant in the beginning of the day and subsequently get filled up as the day progresses . This is especially not the case with PG master classes occuring throughout the country.The seats get filled up so very fast and if ur a late comer ,u will be left to sit in the floors or corridors .I have seen ppl sitting outside the door and just hear what's being spoken by peeping in . Being on time also gives u enough time to go thru the days topics and note down the doubts u had in ur mind pertaining to that topic .

2. Attending alone 

I have also found it more productive if I attend a conference alone without the ppl whom I knew (Co-pgs) . U can concentrate more on what's being spoken instead of unnecessary gossips.Moreover u get to make a lot of new friends from other colleges ,get to know their work culture,work style., hands on experiences in their dept .,the variety of cases they do ,their academic schedule and so on 

3 . Interacting with Seniors and speakers .

Very few ppl tend to get up and ask qns..One of the main reasons is shying away ,what if ppl think I'm stupid . There was also a friend of mine,who was passing comments like why do ppl ask such dumb questions..!! Why can't they think themselves and so on.. 

Remember one thing.,.
Any conference is to show ur knowledge or to show ur ignorance..At the end, you learn something and that's all it matters. Who cares about what others think..

Never be afraid of asking even the dumbest  of questions 

4.Volunteering for Case presentations and Virtual ward rounds 

Always be the first to volunteer for case presentations and Virtual ward rounds .I myself was always a bit hesitant to do it and I'm slowly overcoming it .These are all opportunities to expose urself to the real time practical exam experiences. U tend to learn more by standing on the podium than by sitting in the audience and taking notes . 

No one ever scores sitting in the pavilion.

5. Diet and lunch time interactions

Do a little bit of exercise and Have a high protein , high carb diet early in the day before u come .that's keeps u energetic during day time.Eat less during lunch and interact more with new ppl and faculties .Eating less during lunch also keeps u awake in post lunch sessions..U have the opportunity to talk to doyens in various fields and u can talk almost anything from academic to non-academic .No one will shy away from talking to you 

6. Breaking off for tea

It's quite common to find the PGs leaving the hall as soon as the talk is over without waiting for felicitation .Never show ur back to the teachers . Stay there in ur seat till the speakers are felicitated as a token of appreciation and respect for sharing their knowledge 

7. Post session 

When we attend some master class in a new place,we always tend to go for parties discos pubs and movies once the day is over. Personally I have never found them helpful. Stick to the purpose for which u had gone there . U can come back and revise what was taught the whole day and clear ur doubts the next day. Parties discos and pubs u can go whenever u want but interacting with surgeons of repute ,u don't get it often . 

List of PG conferences and Master classes of repute ( Random order) 

1. MAMC surgery update ,Delhi
2. SCOPE - Surgery clinical oriented Post Graduate examination course ,Delhi 
3. RRC - Regional Refresher course ( organised By ASI ; Happens in different zones ) 
4. KGMU surgical update ,Lucknow 
6. CSEP- Continuing Surgical Education programme ,.st.johns Banglore 
7. ARRC - Annual Rapid review ,Sri Ramachandra univ. Chennai 
8. Stan Surgicon - Stanley ,Chennai 
9.BMC update,Banglore

Seniors plz add ur valuable inputs so that it benefits us and PGs plz add up the PG master classes and conferences which u have found useful  so far"


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