I have been attending the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) Annual Scientific Conference for the past five years. Next week, I will attend my sixth ACFAS conference. I am looking forward to the meeting on many levels. My experience at the conference in years past has been positive and this year's event is likely to live up to past conferences.
This year’s venue is Las Vegas. My view of Las Vegas is evolving. Remembering back to some Hangover-esque bachelor parties, the mantra “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas” served me well. However, as was the case two years ago, I hope to retain and share as much of the knowledge I acquire from the meeting as possible.
For young physicians, we have spent more time training and learning than actually practicing medicine. Learning how to learn is a skill honed in medical school. We, as young surgeons, should not let that skill die. The key to professional development is to build on our knowledge. I do not recommend resting on one’s training for the years that follow residency completion. Rather, training has offered a platform to continue education.
The ACFAS conference is a great venue to build on one’s existing body of knowledge. Personally, I have recently crossed the one-year anniversary of practice. It follows that I am for the first time seeing my surgeries out one year in some cases. This confirms some techniques and surgical choices, and continually raises new questions. Annual surgical meetings can allow a venue to answer these evolving surgical questions. Lectures from experts help confirm surgical choices and present new options for future choices.
Another valuable asset of the meeting is the face-to-face time with former co-residents and attendings alike to share ideas, successes and failures. In today’s age, it seems easy to communicate with colleagues via, email, text, phone and social media, but nothing replaces a face-to-face encounter.
It is Las Vegas after all so one should schedule some time to play and make a true vacation out of the week as well. Driving racecars, gambling, taking in a show and golf can add to the anticipation for this meeting or any other medical meeting for the year.