Attending international conferences is important to stay up to date in the world of digestive health. For junior specialists, a big congress like UEG Week can be overwhelming. Henriette Heinrich is Gastroenterology Consultant in the Stadtspital Triemli, Zuerich, Switzerland, and incoming chair of the Young Talent Group. She has summarised the most common things you should avoid when attending UEG Week, to help you get the most out of your congress participation.
1. Not attending!
The biggest mistake you could make, of course, is not attending UEG Week at all. But fear not, if wild animals, bosses or other commitments keep you from attending, there is still the opportunity to access all the important talks from this year’s UEG Week and all previous UEG Weeks. Watch the content you missed any time, any place, anywhere via UEG Week 24/7. But still... you should really attend UEG Week.
2. Not planning ahead @UEG Week
This is probably one of the major pitfalls! First of all, try to make sure you benefit from early bird registration and if you are an undergraduate student, trainee or PhD student from reduced fees for registration.
For first-time visitors and the curious serial attendee, watch out for this year’s scavenger hunt at the Young GI Lounge to help you find your way around! Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what the UEG Week programme has to offer, no matter how many times you’ve attended. It’s like a GI candy store — and you have an unlimited budget.
If you do not plan ahead, you will be torn between all the exciting, cutting-edge, hot-off-the press scientific presentations, the networking and the educational events like the Postgraduate Teaching (PGT) Programme. You will be an overexcited, highly disoriented, happily zooming-around butterfly, but completely exhausted and queuing for a taxi at the end of the day to go back to your hotel and sleep (missing out on various networking social events that we’ll cover later).
But fear not, we can fix you up.
Use the UEG Week Mobile App to structure your day and the UEG Week Pathways to help tailor your perfect programme. If you are absolutely torn between two parallel sessions, stay calm and watch the session you missed online later. Because your registration for UEG Week conveniently gives you free access to the UEG Library, which features UEG Week 24/7!
And if you really are not a person to use a smart phone or computer, there is always the programme wall on-site in Hall 8.0 where pathways are signposted day by day to help you find your way. Furthermore, it is a great meeting spot.
3. Not paying a visit to the Young GI Lounge (Hall 8.0)
If you are young or already a seasoned clinician and scientist in the GI field, a visit to the Young GI Lounge to recharge and connect is highly recommended (and actually mandatory!). Not only are coffee, tea, cookies and other snacks on offer, you can also charge your phone or computer, meet interesting people and most of all attend cutting-edge events tailored to the needs of young GIs.
From checking your CV, to tips for getting your article published in UEG Journal and getting on-the-spot mentoring from experts in the field, the Young GI Lounge is the place to be.
4. Not jumping into the UEG Talent Pool
Kickstart or refresh your career by jumping into the (heated) UEG Talent Pool, which is not only open during UEG Week, but all year round! Maybe next year you’ll be faculty? So, don’t forget your swimming gear and goggles…
5. Not attending the Young GI Network event "Let’s meet!"
One of the worst things to happen is to be left queuing in front of the venue because you haven’t got a ticket to mingle, network and party with basically anyone who matters in the GI world (see pitfall number two). You could call it the MET Gala of Gastroenterology. Be there or be square.
6. Not checking out the Education Booth (Hall 8.0)
Well, if you don't check out the Education Booth, you will basically be missing out on all the educational resources that will get you through the year until the next UEG Week. Like the image hub, the “Mistakes in…” series, the online courses, the UEG Library and UEG Week 24/7. Or the guideline repositories. This year, there’ll also be a fun memory game showcasing some of the images from the image hub, so why not go and try your luck to see if you can get the fastest time!
7. Staying offline
Rookie mistake. Of course, it's great to be somewhere in person, but staying offline means you’ll be missing out on things designed to enhance your enjoyment of the meeting:
- The UEG Week Mobile App (see pitfall number two)
- Online content to watch or rewatch (again, see pitfall number two)
- The UEG Week live video chats, during which surgeons and gastroenterologists battle it out and we explore the compatibility of having a job and a family. YOUR ONLINE INPUT AND QUESTIONS ARE HIGHLY APPRECIATED!
- Missing the news updates about UEG Week on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook
8. Missing out on seriously important events on research funding for scientists
There are several events at UEG Week that focus on research funding opportunities. Not attending these events will deliver a serious blow to your research ambitions! Be there or get left behind ;-)
Events to look out for:
9. Not bringing your team
Seriously? There is no I in team and gastroenterology is teamwork! And what could be better for team spirit than a trip to Barcelona?!
UEG is proud to offer special fees for allied healthcare professionals and nurses as well as the UEG Week programme for nurses, so the whole team really can get involved!