At the beginning of corona time working remotely at home was inspiring, challenging and relaxing experience. I have been traveling quite a lot, and stayed abroad from days to some months, so I had used to work in different places with my laptop, not having always the electronic worktable and very convenient chair as I have in my office. Working there and here have been my own choices which I have been privileged to do. Staying at home like this spring was first very nice, but then I started to miss the international scientific community, even though I had several Teams, Zoom, Skype meetings to allover the world.
I had been planning to attend to the International Nursing Research Congress of Sigma Theta Tau International on 22-24 July 2020 in Abu Dhabi. At the beginning of summer, it was changed to the virtual congress because of COVID-19. First, I was wondering if it is worth of attending, but I had missed the conferences and also the fee came very low compared to the original one, so I decided to be a part of this international researcher community for three days.
It was not so simple as “normal” conference, before the conference all oral presentations needed to be recorded by Zoom and sent to the organizers. I was very happy to manage to record presentation alone at home with my own skills, thanks to my good college, who was a little bit supporting me beforehand. It is great to have skillful colleges who can give advice. As usual, recording was not satisfying me, and I had to take it several times again. Later in conference I noticed it was quite a tolerable presentation.
Conference was at 22-24 July, starting every day at 2pm Finnish time and 7am US time and finished lately after midnight. So, I had also time for holiday activities before the conference, and usually I finished my part at 10-11 pm. The conference was well organized as Sigma’s conferences usually are. Very good and clear instructions were given beforehand how to follow the sessions. There were several sessions in same time and sometimes it was difficult to decide which session I would like to follow and unfortunately sometimes I felt there was nothing interesting (maybe once). It was easy to choose the sessions based on the abstracts and short information of the presenters. Every presenter was asked when sending the presentation if they would like to have a real life discussion after the presentation. I took this chance to have the discussion after my presentation. The participants were able to write the questions and comments for me, but not ask aloud, then I read the questions and answered for them.
I was satisfied that I decided to “go to this conference”. It is always empowering to be part of international community, get to know high quality research, understand the reality of different countries and cultures. This year we had online conference, maybe next summer we can meet in Singapore, where the next Research Congress will be held. Our national Nursing Science conference is very close. I highly recommend to attend it. You will have wonderful two days in virtual conference!
Professor Tarja Kvist
Department of Nursing Science
University of Eastern Finland