WILL VIRTUAL TRAINING DEVELOP ‘NEW NURSES’?

The world has you have known it, has taken a 180 degrees turn. The adjustments you have made are some that you may have never had a thought about. Restricted movement and gatherings and masks are a part of your clothing. All sectors in the world are affected in one way or another. Nursing training has not been spared, as education in general has been affected. Nursing training is both theoretical and practical. They both need interaction for them to be achieved.

Online teaching came to fill the gap created when learning institutions closed. It came with challenges especially in developing countries with limited internet coverage. The major challenge is, would it fully substitute the physical teaching and still achieve the required goal? Would a student who was taught Fundamentals of nursing practice in a physical class be the same as one who did it online? Experts developed many online nursing educational resources that have helped bridge the difference, however the difference is still there. A student nurse who started the training online would be different as one who started with physical teaching. A student who had initially done the fundamental courses face to face and has to do online for advanced courses is in a better position. The fundamental course shapes your foundation to the practice.

The practical part has not been spared either. Skills lab demonstrations and hospital rotations have been affected. This has been mitigated by use of simulation videos and even audiovisual rotations where few students accompanied by an instructor are recorded in the ward for the classmates to watch. A lot of work has been done on this and available resources for practical are great. You may have asked yourself how effective are these resources in comparison to the physical method? Nursing skills are best learnt and practiced hands on. Would a novice nurse who started with online simulated scenarios be as great as one who did the traditional training?

The importance of technology and its role in nursing training during this pandemic cannot be overemphasized. The pandemic needs more nurses in the hospitals, yet it for some time stopped their training. A large number of nurses through technology were able to finish their training and join the workforce. The student nurses who started their training online, may finish their training through the same method. Would they be a different lot of nurses? As much as they are trained with same instructors, I foresee a cohort of nurses who will be different. I must be quick to say not different in a bad way but rather a unique set of nurses. They will open basis for research to compare them with the rest.

This cohort needs support from the older nurses. They may in very small ways be different because of the mode of training. The instructors are working hard to ensure that both sets get the same training. The pandemic may have prepared the ground to a ‘new type of nursing’. You wait to see the new group that will emerge from the full blended training of nursing.

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