Lanell C. Woods, PhD, RN
University of Hawaii
2528 The Mall Webster Hall
Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
v: (808) 956-3262
f: (808) 956-5977
Education, continuing or distance
Innovative or improved ways of doing things; More equitable access to technology or electronic information; Creation of new ideas, products, or services
Supporting Documentation (contact author for more information):
Story Site (if other than location listed above):
State of Hawaii — Oahu, Maui, Kauai and the island of Hawaii
Nurses in Hawaii Harness the Power of the Internet
September, 1992 marked the beginning of a busy Fall semester for 26 nurses pursuing graduate studies in nursing at the University of Hawaii (UH). This was the first offering of a curriculum development course via the Hawaii Interactive Television System (HITS), a two-way closed-circuit full motion television system operated by Hawaii Public Television to provide interactive distance education to nurses in the master’s degree outreach program. The broadcast origination site was located UH at Manoa, on the island of Oahu, where the faculty member and 8 nurses met weekly. Neighbor island classmates met in their classrooms/television studios at the same time for the class and included 9 nurses on Maui, 2 on the Big Island and 5 on Kauai. The geographically dispersed learners questioned how it would be possible to complete a major course assignment of collaborating as a curriculum committee of the whole to develop an original educational product.
Envision a typical, Hawaiian September day with palm trees swaying from tropical breezes and the sounds of the Pacific surf bathing the shores of the islands. Envision the atypical day of September 11,1992, with palm trees uprooted from the 145 mph winds and homes destroyed by flying debris and life threatening high surf. Many class members participated in disaster preparations in health care facilities. Hurricane Iniki changed the landscape and lives of many, especially on the devastated isle of Kauai. Most of Kauai’s residents went without water and electricity for three weeks. The class anxiously awaited restoration of phone lines and television transmission to determine how our Kauai colleagues had fared. Once HITS transmission was restored, the topic for the curriculum project emerged from the lived experience of the nurses. The class decided to develop a prototype curriculum for teaching nurses in health care institutions how to prepare for a hurricane disaster. Despite destruction of their homes and disruption of their personal and professional lives from Iniki, all of the Kauai nurses and their classmates successfully completed the curriculum course requirements!
Creation of the product, entitled “Hurricane Disaster Preparedness Assessment” in a timely, efficient manner, was the direct result of use of electronic communication. Using electronic communication, the learners overcame the barrier of geographic separation. The usual modes of communication in HITS classes include mail and telephone calls. With electronic mail the postage costs and mailing delays were avoided. Conference calls of all individuals were not logistically possible. Through electronic mail each learner had equitable access to the document being created. Each week, the class functioned as a curriculum committee reshaping the emerging document. This process, in class, was facilitated by electronic messages exchanged during the previous week. At least one nurse per island volunteered to post and read messages to keep their respective island group informed of project updates. The content of the messages ranged from letters of encouragement to peers to graphics depicting key concepts of hurricane disaster preparedness. One student agreed to synthesize the contributions, distributing them in hard copy format the subsequent class session.
Collegial support grew as faculty and learners communicated via electronic mail- -often, late at night. The barriers of time and diverse locations of participants were minimized with the availability of electronic communication. The ease of downloading, arranging and uploading the typed information resulted in a significant time savings and avoided duplication of effort. In compiling the final draft one student collected, arranged and edited input from all participants on four islands into a cohesive whole. Using electronic communication, the nurses were enabled to continue working to meet the health care needs in their communities while authoring a document designed to benefit future hurricane victims.
For additional information contact:
Whitney R. Bischoff, Dr.Ph, R.N
Assistant Professor of Nursing and
Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Program
Texas A&M University