Online Learning During COVID-19 Pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only changed the lives of those affected by it, but has, in the literal sense, changed the lives of everybody. The way we socialize, the way we see our health, the way we perceive life, has all changed, and perhaps, this change is permanent. It also changed our entire education system. There were no more classrooms anymore where we could interact with our professors and peers to learn. It was all online. The pandemic forced us all to fetch our electronic devices to learn about the virus and how to look after the patients while taking care of ourselves.
Regular classes were necessary as we knew absolutely nothing about the disease. We had to upgrade our knowledge in order to treat our patients and protect ourselves from contracting the virus. We had to attend several online classes and webinars, and it was difficult to manage time as the nurses had to look after patients too. Therefore, we divided the staff into groups, the on-duty group will look after the patients in their respective shifts and the off-duty group will attend the classes in the meanwhile.
The classes taught us everything. Right from the effects of the virus and how it spreads, to the safety protocols, PPE donning and doffing, and its sequences as per HIC policy to prevent the spread of infection. We were also taught the importance of hand hygiene, the sequence and the right way of doing it, and isolation techniques. It was exciting to learn new information, as we knew with this knowledge we could help thousands of patients and save their lives.
With the introduction of telenursing, our nurses were connected with patients in the isolation wards where they addressed their concerns, answered their questions, and took updates on their health regularly without having the need to expose themselves to the contaminated wards unless extremely necessary.
If I were to pinpoint a challenge that we faced with the entire online learning and telenursing approach, it was the rare connectivity and internet inconvenience that we had. And there were a few instances in which some of the team members had difficulties using the video conference applications or login problems. Apart from that, it was all smooth and effective. The ease of having access to a smartphone and such advanced technology, was extremely helpful in managing the whole pandemic situation and keeping the entire staff updated with the latest information about the virus.
To ensure the health of our nurses, we made regular announcements to remind the staff to wash their hands. We also had all the arrangements made to ensure that the nutritional needs of the staff are met. We provided them with good food, protein bars, healthy snacks, energy drinks and everything else they needed to remain active throughout their shifts.
The e-learning approach is extremely different from the traditional classroom-learning approach. However, it is equally effective and came as a savior during the pandemic when group gatherings were prohibited as an attempt to contain the virus. The experience with online learning was different, perceiving information was a little difficult given the unpredictable technical glitches, but with the dedication of our staff-member and their will to spend extra hours in learning along with working full-time shifts, it was all possible. The nurses worked day in and day out to serve the patients along with that, they honed their skills to help those suffering in a better, more efficient way. The hard work and diligence of my team were commendable and I can say that I am extremely proud of each one of them.
By Felicita Franklin
Chief Nursing Officer
Gleneagles Global Hospital