Bringing a national conference to its delegates

Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) Conference Roadshow

Fast facts

Event: Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA) Conference Roadshow 2022

Dates: 27 May – 10 December 2022

Format: Two-day conference in nine cities across Australia

.Challenges

Arinex was appointed to manage the Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association’s (APNA) annual national conference for 2021. However, with state border restrictions in place across much of the country and nurses in high demand, the usual conference format was not feasible. To avoid cancelling the conference altogether, APNA and Arinex decided to hit the road with a conference roadshow that would reach nurses in nine cities across the country.

While the roadshow alleviated the need for APNA members to travel to the conference, other challenges remained. As a result of COVID-19 restrictions and extreme weather events in mid-2021 to early 2022, the roadshow was postponed three times. The adjusting of multiple contracts and venue bookings created logistical challenges.

Solutions

Risk Management

Initially APNA aimed to roll-out its conference roadshow within one month. However, due to different levels of COVID-19 restrictions in place across the states, a decision was made to hold one-to-two events a month in the second half of 2022. This strategic approach would allow APNA and Arinex to better manage each event and ensure staff availability in case of illness.

Flexibility

For the roadshow to be a success, APNA and Arinex had to be flexible with program delivery and onsite event management. While all conferences followed a similar format, they had to be tailored to different locations, venues and delegates numbers. The conferences were held across a mix of hotels, unique function spaces and convention centres.

Relationships

Arinex was responsible for managing eight of the nine events in the roadshow (excluding Darwin where APNA worked in partnership with the Northern Territory Primary Health Network). While rescheduling eight venues three times was a significant challenge, Arinex’ strong relationships with all venues and suppliers ensured changes could be made smoothly and with minimal financial impact. This demonstrated the benefit of partnering with an event management company that operates on a national scale.

Outcomes

In May 2022, the APNA Conference Roadshow officially commenced in Melbourne before heading to Hobart, Darwin, Cairns, Fremantle, Adelaide, Canberra, Gold Coast and Sydney. The concept was met with a positive response from members with good attendance in an environment where nurses were still very much in high demand. Along with the knowledge gained, delegates commented on the morale boost from coming together after a challenging two years.

The decision to space the events out across six months delivered more benefits than just risk mitigation. The time between each event allowed APNA and Arinex to reflect on what could be improved and then implement those changes in the future events.

 

      quote What a fantastic, professional and very informative conference! It’s such a credit to APNA. I learnt so much and look forward to sharing new knowledge with my colleagues. It was great to catch up with old friends and make new ones. We are Nurses!”

      Melbourne delegate