To see myself in pictures

Nurse Leader Insider, August 31, 2007

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Have you ever seen yourself on-screen and thought, "Is that how I really act?" Often, the best teaching tool is self-observation, and using videos in the classroom has become an expert-acclaimed technique in improving your staff members' understanding and their grasp of new skills.

"People react to the on-screen and have an emotional response to it," says Carol Tierney, MSN, RN, educational nurse specialist at Cincinnati (OH) Children's Hospital (CCH). "Attitudes and beliefs affect behavior, so using video can elicit that from people and move them to a different place in their learning."

Tierney has worked with her colleague Dawn Nebrig, MSW, LISW, education specialist at CCH, to bring videos to the classroom.

Video can allow for standardization of skills that are holistic, such as interviewing techniques, says Nebrig, who has also gained expertise as a social worker. "It makes sure that people are using the same methodologies."

The reel deal

So how can videos be useful? One of the most beneficial ways to incorporate video, says Nebrig, is to use videos to demonstrate a proper technique. "The learners are able to demonstrate that they've retained the skills to do that technique properly."

This allows the nurses to analyze their own behaviors and improves their understanding of concepts, says Tierney. "It's effective in that it changes and sustains behavior. And we have found the literature to support that."

But there is another option available to educators, which many do not consider: Film your own video and include your own staff members.

"People get excited to see themselves on-screen," says Tierney. "It engages folks."

Along with self-assessment, educators may consider using videos to witness a staff member's competency with a certain procedure. For example, filming a nurse as he or she takes a patient's blood pressure or installs an IV allows the instructor to review the tape and discuss it with the nurse. Videos are also useful in demonstrating the correct use of equipment, eliminating the need for educators to train staff members multiple times on the same subject.

The bottom line, says Tierney, is that it all goes back to demonstrating technique.

"It's really a nice way to have the perfect technique readily available for broad distribution," she says. "The unknown is very scary, but we're educators and we're used to trying something new. And to talk of the benefits of video, I really don't think that you can get them any other way."

Nebrig agrees. "It evokes emotion and takes you to a different place. It's very effective, and you can have so much fun with video. And everybody's a ham at heart."

Editor's Note: This excerpt was adapted from the Reading Room, part of HCPro's new online resource,!

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