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Original Research

Survey of a videoconference community of professional development for rural and urban nurses

Submitted: 4 December 2008
Revised: 16 March 2009
Published: 21 April 2009

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Author(s) : Newman C, Martin E, McGarry DE, Cashin A.

Citation: Newman C, Martin E, McGarry DE, Cashin A.  Survey of a videoconference community of professional development for rural and urban nurses. Rural and Remote Health 9: 1134. (Online) 2009. Available: http://www.rrh.org.au

ABSTRACT

Introduction:  Videoconferencing technology has the potential to increase opportunities for healthcare professionals in rural and remote areas to access continuing professional development. This research used a quantitative approach to an evaluation of the effectiveness of videoconferencing technology in the development of a community of professional development.
Method:  In 2008 a videoconference symposia was held across four sites in New South Wales, Australia. A survey developed and adapted from an existing model of online teaching and learning was completed by 55% (n = 56) of attendees.
Results:  Survey findings revealed that successful aspects of the videoconference community included ‘being welcoming and providing useful information’, as partially or fully agreed by all respondents. Less successful aspects of the community included ease of use, with 44.6% (n = 25) either disagreeing or partially disagreeing that the videoconference was easy to use; reliability, with 33.9% (n = 37) either disagreeing or partially disagreeing that the community platform was reliable; and knowledge construction, with 69.1% (n = 38) identifying that they only took information and did not add ideas or content.
Conclusion:  The findings indicate that although the videoconference ran effectively with the experience of minor technical difficulties, respondents demonstrated more of a passive role than constructive in their development of new knowledge, despite the promotion of an interactive environment.

Key words:  continuing professional development, learning communities, rural education, videoconferencing.

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