The ERC Conference was held at Antwerp, Belgium on June 16 and 17, 2022. This was the first hybrid conference for the ERC and it was also the first resuscitation congress that I have attended. Although I did not know what to expect from the conference initially, I am certain that it was one of the most impactful, thought provoking and enjoyable experience that I have had in my career. There were many topics and discussions that I was (and still is) reflecting on including defibrillators, cardiac arrest in frail patients, the impact of resuscitation courses on patients’ outcome, resuscitation skills application in the real world or whether adding up stressors in resuscitation training can help us deal with the challenges/stress of clinical practice and of course, my biggest question is: what steps can I take to become a better nurse/instructor? This is life long learning for me, indeed.

I also felt challenged and inspired seeing the amount of work, dedication and commitment of everybody involved in the world restart a heart day. It was amazing to see that many countries are doing a great job but seeing the people of Sri Lanka providing CPR training on adults and school children in a low resource setting was truly exceptional. Out of hospital cardiac arrest is still a global health crisis with an 8-12% survival rate and defibrillators are deployed for less than 3% of the cases. For me, this means that every help counts. I have decided to be more involved in resuscitation training outside the clinical context and maybe in other parts of the world, if given the chance (shout out to the Asian Resuscitation Council).

Personally, what really brought science, medical education and implementation into perspective was seeing a rescuer and a cardiac arrest survivor and hearing them share their insight and experience of the cardiac arrest first hand as not many of us will have the opportunity to hear their side of the story on the shop floor. This has touched and inspired the audiences and was greeted by a warm applause from everyone. During challenging times, it is both humbling and encouraging to be reminded of the reason why we do what we do.

Also, to put into writing the words of one of the presenters, ‘research is nice but the network is our strength.’ I have enjoyed meeting and networking with different professionals from all over the world during the conference one of whom I have received direct patient referrals from many years ago (it’s a small world after all).

Lastly, one thing that one can’t afford to miss in the picturesque city of Antwerp in between drinking coffee, exploring the zoo, eating waffles/ice cream and given the short time that I was there, is the Het Steen, the oldest building in the city, a medieval fortress, circa 1200 but what I will take with me from my stay, apart from appreciating this archeological wonder and the history of Antwerp is our common goal which is older than the Het Steen itself: the preservation of human life–the commitment that draws us all together irrespective of our race, age, religion, social background and profession.

Thank you @ A to E Training and Solutions for this wonderful opportunity.