The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how faith community nurses practice. Suddenly, a hands-on ministry of presence is confronted with mandatory social distancing and shelter-at-home restrictions. Faith communities have been unable to meet in person and most church-provided services have limitations. However, the needs remain, and for many are more acute. How can a faith community nurse (FCN) honor the pandemic restrictions and still meet the needs of those he or she serves?
Although restrictions vary, we've learned important lessons regarding options. One alternative is technology. Whether one is an expert or a novice, technology is a valuable tool to provide wholistic care. Once you decide to use this channel of patient contact, it is not any more difficult to learn than using an IV pump or heart monitor.
When searching for a software application, the first question to consider involves your intentions. What are you trying to achieve? Are you reaching out to your parishioners or network members? A phone call may be sufficient. As the isolation continues or if voices don't seem to be enough to sustain, try using technology that offers a visual image along with voice. It is easier to do a wellness check and general assessment if you can see the person you're contacting. In addition, these types of calls allow you to visualize the client's environment. One FCN reported that while on a visual call, she asked the person open his refrigerator. This resulted in the delivery of a much-needed nutritious food basket.
Do you want to reach multiple people at one time? Perhaps a virtual meeting or webinar is the technology you need. Zoom, Go to Meeting/Webinar, Linked-in Live, Microsoft Teams, Click Meeting, and others are available with varying price points. Some options are free. If you are directly affiliated with an organization, ask what system they have available for your use. If you are affiliated with a church, many are now providing worship services online. Ask if the platform the church is using is available to you.
Perhaps you want to record a webinar or a short video. Currently, YouTube channels are free if you have a Google mail (gmail) account. Zoom, Go to Meeting Webinar, and others allow you to record and edit. Adobe Spark is great for recording from your phone. Explore and ask questions. Elements to consider when selecting software include
- Ease of use
- Ease of customization
- Computer compatibility
- Uploading handouts
- Recording capabilities
- Screen-sharing features
- Cost including length, if any, of contract
- Customer satisfaction.
Search, review, and select the best fit for you and your situation. Once you choose a platform, view the tutorials to understand functions and features. The quality of your call, meeting, webinar, or recording depends more on content and your ease with the technology than the actual technology used. Test, test, test. Practice with friends or colleagues. It is better to make mistakes and figure out what went wrong while you are practicing.
Security is also an important consideration. Is the communication link private? Does the software offer a password option, waiting room, or unique call-in number? If recording, be sure that all individuals involved are aware the session is being recorded. If you are conducting a web meeting, call, or consultation and someone wants to speak about a personal issue, be sure to pause the recording until the person is finished.
Technology affords the ability for FCNs to connect with those in their care. Using online visual resources provides a glimpse into the health and welfare of those for whom you care.
Linked-In Live http://business.linkedin.com
Adobe Spark http://spark.adobe.com
FCN Leadership & Coordination Webinars are now available—https://www.spiritualcareassociation.org/nursing/nursing-webinars.html
FCN Educator Supplemental Series is now available—https://www.spiritualcareassociation.org/nursing.html