Q – How on earth can we have a dynamic theory conference with 70 breakout sessions – on Zoom?
A – We are nurses — we will find a way!
And find a way we did!
Thanks to the amazing leadership and expert organizing skills of Leslie Nicoll (Editor of CIN: Computers Informatics Nursing), we found a way! Every day from March 17th through March 23rd, 140 nurses tuned in to one or more of the sessions scheduled throughout the week. There were three general sessions – one on the first day of the conference, another on the 6th day, and the final on the last day to close the week. The remaining sessions were 30-minute long “breakout” sessions based on the abstracts that had been submitted for the 2020 conference that had to be canceled due to the COVID pandemic. The presenters and attendees ranged from students and early-career scholars – to well-established and well-known nurse theorists. You can browse the detail of all of the sessions here!
Even though we are over a year into “pandemic culture” when everything has gone virtual, the technical challenges of doing this were huge. After all, we are not instructional technology experts! But Leslie organized each and every detail of the conference, and discovered a wonderful technology expert to give support for all technology aspects of the conference – Ray Harwood of Goodclix. Ray was tuned in to every moment, always ready to step in and solve each technical challenge, but also engaged with us to help make each session run smoothly for each presenter and for all of us attending. Ray says on his website: “Frankly, it’s not what I do, it’s how I do it that counts” – and nothing could be more true!
To compensate for the disappointment of the canceled 2020 conference and taking advantage of the virtual capabilities, Leslie laid out a daily schedule with no overlap in the breakout sessions, so that speakers had a full 30 minutes for their breakout sessions, and attendees were able to attend every single one of the sessions! Of course, hardly anyone was able to do this – but for those of us who were present for every session (or almost all), every moment was interesting – and also inspiring!
Here are a range of comments and responses from the evaluations:
This conference was the most enriching and enlightening conference that I had attended in a long time. This is a great contribution to the growth of the profession.
You did an excellent job and I was surprised and pleased by the breadth of the presenters and the depth of some of the discussions. I loved hearing what the other nursologists were doing and it gave me hope to see nursology being supported and growing!
Holding it on zoom and for an entire week was just too much. We are already zoom fatigued and while you had no option, I think the conference would have been manageable if shorter duration. Our lives at our home offices don’t stop for virtual conferences; if we were on site, we could focus better and not worry about home duties. All conferences are experiencing this, I realize. Thank you for all your good work.
In person conference would be better. If it is virtual, should be condensed, not so spread out, I appreciate your efforts. I know this zoom presentations are all new for everyone
It would be nice to have a remote option for next year
Ray was very supportive. The richness of this conference was incredible!
Structured well, solid content, great dialogue
This is just a busy time for me. The planning and program for this were excellent. I’ve heard from many how much they enjoyed this. I’m glad I have guidebook to look up what I missed. Really excellent work on this. I do like that it was on zoom. I am finding organizational memberships and conferences to be costly so I like this zoom as an option.
Let us think about a virtual nursing theory week every other year and an in person conference the other alternate year. I would not want to lose what we had with this VNTW by always having in person conferences. Or perhaps we can have a virtual component to in person conferences, so that colleagues who cannot travel can still participate.
I did not expect to enjoy the conference as much as I did. I learned so much. Not only about theory, also about who I am and ways that I could use nursing theory to informed nursing education and clinical practice. I liked not having to choose between two or more workshops.
I have loved the zoom format. I am surprised at the depth of connections with my colleagues through this format.
Awesomeness! Inspiring! Hope for the Future of Nursology!
If the next conference is offered in a hybrid format, I will definitely attend. I hope that it is and I highly encourage this conference to remain in some form of virtual format. This material is critical to the future of nursing as a discipline.
So now — we trust the we will be able to gather in person at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Nursing! We will post information here on Nursology.net, and on the Nursology Nursing Theory website – so stay tuned and join us in Memphis!