Videoconferencing Technology Opens a World of Creativity in Nursing
Alene Nitzky is an oncology nurse, author of Navigating the C: A Nurse Charts the Course for Cancer Survivorship Care, Blue Bayou Press, 2018. She is a cancer exercise trainer and health coach, and is CEO/Founder of Cancer Harbors®.
Videoconferencing can be used by nurses in a variety of work settings and roles to reap numerous benefits.
How many times has this happened to you: It’s your first day off after several consecutive 12-hour days, but your boss scheduled a mandatory department meeting at 7 a.m. The thought of having to wake up at your usual time, get dressed, and drive into work just for an hour meeting when you’d rather stay home in your pajamas and slowly sip your coffee makes you want to hide under the covers, quit your job, or run away and never come back.
What if you could attend and participate in the meeting while at home, allowing you to sleep an extra hour or more?
My favorite technology that I use every day in my work is a videoconferencing platform called Zoom. While I use Zoom in my own business with clients and colleagues anywhere in the world at any time, Zoom can be used by nurses in a variety of work settings and roles to reap numerous benefits.
I have tried other similar videoconferencing platforms and have found Zoom to be the most user-friendly, reliable, and economical. It requires only a device—laptop, phone or tablet—a wireless connection, and an email address to use it on both the caller and recipient ends of the call. It provides a quality audio and video experience and allows screensharing and options for security and privacy of the group, with breakout public or private chat rooms.
Here are just some of the ways I’ve used Zoom in my own business, working with cancer survivors in my community, or private clients across the country:
- Meeting with private clients one-on-one or in groups to discuss their concerns and questions
- Meeting with other nursing professionals one-on-one or in a group to collaborate on projects, event planning, or mastermind sessions
- Giving and receiving constructive criticism on preparing talks or speeches
- Collaborating in development of teaching materials or continuing education offerings
- Mentoring other nurses in a private, uninterrupted setting
- Talking regularly with my publisher and writing coach when I was writing my book
- Participating as a presenter in international online conferences, teaching exercise classes, work-related meetings with companies across the country
- Holding support groups where all the participants can see and hear each other and interact as if we were all in one place
If you work in a clinical healthcare setting, Zoom can be used for work meetings; teaching and clinical education; professional collaboration such as research or writing papers; preparing for conferences and presentations; or holding roundtable discussions that can be recorded and shared online. If you need to speak with a mentor or mentee, it’s an opportunity to talk when you’re away from distractions of the work day, something for which most organizations don’t provide formal time.
The evolving practice of telemedicine is already using similar platforms. If your scope of practice and organizational policy allow it, it is possible to perform limited assessments, symptom management, troubleshooting, and conversation or counseling with clients. Voice, facial expressions, and body language provide more information about the client’s condition than a phone call.
Additional benefits of using this technology include
- saving travel time
- solving problems as they come up such as illness, transportation, child care issues, and bad weather
- face-to-face accountability to colleagues, even if you live and work far away from each other
Group meeting participants have the option of muting the audio or even shutting off the video if you don’t want to be seen. If you’re like me, you sometimes work in your pajamas or workout clothes.
The benefits of using videoconferencing technology like Zoom are far greater than convenience. We can reach beyond our immediate surroundings to collaborate with other nurses and professionals across the country or around the world. It allows us to refresh our minds, spark new ideas, hear different points of view, and see beyond the biases and groupthink of being limited to only our own immediate organizational culture.
By building connections, support, and relationships, we have a wider array of solutions to the many problems we encounter in healthcare on a daily basis. This type of collaboration affirms our common values, challenges, and needs, and links us closer together, providing support for each other in ways that were not readily available in the past. The potential for creativity is limitless.