Reflections on the ILC 2023 Conference Scholarship

The ILC offered 3 scholarships to emerging leaders in order to help them attend the 2023 ILC Annual International Conference in Portland, Maine, USA.

Below are their reflections on their time at the conference and leadership program.

The 2024 Conference & Leadership Program will be held in Oxford, UK. We are once again offering travel scholarships to help emerging leaders attend. You can find out more and apply here.

Birgitte Lerbæk – Denmark

I was very fortunate to receive a Travel Scholarship supporting my attendance at both the ILC Conference and the Leadership Program in Portland, Maine. Without this scholarship, I would not have been able to attend either, so to me this contribution from the ILC was absolutely pivotal.

I attended my first ILC International Conference last year in Oxford. This was a great experience, and I was so pleased that I was able to attend the conference again. The ILC conference is special because it represents an opportunity to dive into current trends within research focused on Fundamentals of Care and provides network opportunities that reaches across countries and continents. In addition, the participation and contributions from Alison Kitson and the members of the ILC Steering Committee is very giving and inspiring and really makes their expertise accessible to conference participants.

Personally, I like to engage in plenary rounds of questions or discussions. It contributes to my own output of participating in conferences. I often return from such events with a list of papers I have to read up on, and notes with inspiration that can enrich ongoing or new projects. This conference was no different. Attending both the conference and the leadership program naturally only added to my output.

Based on my experiences from this years events in Portland, I would recommend that attending both the conference and the leadership program is preferred. Of course, attending either one alone is always possible, but I think that attending both adds to the potential output of the leadership program.

Also, I regret not having submitted an abstract to the conference. Contributing to the conference by giving either an oral presentation or a poster presentation could be considered as a requirement for future participants to be eligible for receiving a scholarship.

Thank you for the opportunity to participate and for the great times in Portland, Maine.

Mitzi Shapera – Canada

When I found out I had won the scholarship to attend the ILC Fundamentals of Care conference in Portland I was truly humbled. I had only recently found out that our presentation had been accepted to present at the conference so this was another exciting layer. I have to admit that prior to submitting our presentation to the ILC, I had very little knowledge of this amazing group.

From the moment I stepped into the conference venue, I was immediately struck by the vibrant atmosphere of knowledge and camaraderie. Meeting so many like-minded individuals, each driven by a passion for enhancing their field of care, was an enriching experience beyond words. The diversity of perspectives and backgrounds represented there was a testament to the universal importance of compassionate and effective care across all walks of life.

Throughout the conference, I was immersed in a sea of insights, innovative ideas, and breakthroughs that are will redefine the landscapes of care. It was an honour to share a stage alongside such amazing presenters! The workshops and sessions challenged my preconceptions, broadened my horizons, and sparked a renewed sense of curiosity within me. The interactions I had with fellow scholars and speakers have undoubtedly left a mark on my professional journey.

This event was not just a gathering of minds, it was a practice-changing milestone in my career! The knowledge I gained and the connections I forged have immediately began to influence the way I approached care in my own work. The practical strategies and evidence-based practices shared during the conference have opened new avenues for me to provide better, more holistic care to those I serve.

I extend my heartfelt gratitude to the scholarship committee for granting me this invaluable opportunity, to the organizers for curating an exceptional event, and to my fellow attendees for inspiring me with their dedication and passion. I returned to my work armed with new knowledge and renewed zeal and felt invigorated.

Thank you once again for this honour and for inspiring each of us to make a difference!

Krystle Waltrovitz – Australia

What an amazing experience the 2023 ILC Conference was! I was lucky enough to be awarded a scholarship by the ILC to be able to attend my first international conference. I had submitted an abstract for presentation at the conference and was only able to go in person due to the support of the scholarship. I had never presented at a conference before and this was a fantastic opportunity for my professional development as a nursing lecturer and current PhD student.

I can’t deny that I was a little apprehensive about travelling by myself for the first time internationally, with a travel time of 33 hours and 4 connecting flights from Adelaide to Portland, however, found this time allowed me to reflect on my own capabilities and goals for the future. Arriving in Portland, I was excited to see my first wild Deer in a carpark on the way to my hotel and was warmly welcomed by the other attendees, making me feel comfortable despite being so far from home.

The conference showcased fantastic presentations by health professionals and researchers with the keynote speakers being inspirational to help motivate us all to keep working to improve Fundamental Care across the globe. Listening to what others are currently doing in nursing curricula helped to motivate me to further integrate Fundamental Care when teaching as a nursing lecturer. It was a great opportunity to attend in person so that I was able to speak with the presenters and attendees in person, I was quite excited to be able to speak to other presenters who I have been following through their research publications. Having the opportunity to be able to discuss my own research with others was invaluable, learning of others knowledge and insights to help inform my current PhD research project.

I hope to continue to communicate and potentially collaborate with my new connections made from the conference and am looking forward to attending the ILC conference in 2024!

The 2024 Conference & Leadership Program will be held in Oxford, UK. We are once again offering travel scholarships to help emerging leaders attend. You can find out more and apply here.