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Caring for the Caregivers

With just two month’s notice—but a lot of teamwork and passion—a Nurse’s Week celebration gets the virtual treatment

By Laura Bickle

Before they became international speakers, Sarah McVanel and Stephanie Staples had both worked in healthcare settings, McVanel in executive roles in organizational development and Staples as a nurse. Keenly aware of the extraordinary pressure currently on nurses due to the pandemic, they began to brainstorm how they might consolidate their talents—McVanel is a recognition expert and Staples is a personal development pro—to help them. They landed on a virtual event to commemorate Nurse’s Week in May.

They had the content nailed, but they didn’t have the virtual event chops, so they called on Tami Adams, speaker manager and event pro, who represents McVanel. “They recognized that frontline workers and nurses were burned out and struggling and they knew they could help through the power of speech,” says Adams. So the three partnered and, with just two months to plan, the 2021 Nurses Week Resiliency ReBoot Experience was born.

Timing is Everything

The shiftwork nature of nursing presented unique challenges, since not all attendees would be available at the same time. And given that the team wanted all attendees to experience the event in real time and be able to interact with one another, the speakers repeated each of their presentations (there were a total of four different themed talks) through the course of the event. Sessions were scattered throughout the day, from 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The program was sold to 25 healthcare groups and hospitals throughout North America. The content is still available to registered users who were unable to attend and the organizations can still offer it to their teams.

Tech Tactics

Adams chose the Hopin platform, partially because she was familiar with it. That said, she knew she needed support in setting it up and running the live stream. She enlisted the help of Jay Rosenthal at HopinExpert.com. “They really made it look great,” says Adams, who is incredulous that there wasn’t one tech hiccup. “I think the key was that we did several tech checks beforehand and we had a lot of communication and cooperation.”

Team Dynamics

The partners decided to bring on a coordinator—Shaniece Nichols, founder of Visionary Event Solutions—who started three weeks prior to the event to help manage registration and communication, moderate the live chat and offer AV support. “I’m a big believer in surrounding yourself with good people and knowing your own strengths. You can’t do it all,” says Adams.

The team plans to produce the event again next year and are looking forward to what they can do with more than two months to plan. “It was one of my best experiences. We all truly believe in its purpose.”

Star Power

Adams thought it would be impactful to kick off the sessions with video thank-yous from celebrities. She threw the idea out to the team and they tapped into their networks. They were stunned by the response. Among those who sent greetings were Peter Mansbridge, actors Dustin Milligan, Nia Vardalos and Sugith Varughese, singers Susan Aglukark, Jann Arden and Peter Katz, and Olympians Jennifer Botterill, Elizabeth Manley, Jon Montgomery and Sami Jo Small.

By the Numbers:

817 ATTENDEES over 4 days

88% attendee satisfaction rating

25 ORGANIZATIONS from across North America purchased the event for their staff: 26,000 people will have access to on-demand recordings

72% of the attendees were nurses; remainder were other healthcare professionals

87% said they would recommend this event to colleagues

90% felt the event platform was easy to use

82% said they would participate again

Testimonials

“The Nurses Week Resiliency ReBoot Experience performed! It was highly professional and resonant content, balanced with spirit and passion. Just what fatigued nurses needed after a gruelling year. The sessions were incredibly organized, easy to access and it still stuns me that all that happened without any technology glitches to even reminisce about! Bring on 2022.”
Dr. Judy Duchscher, director, Nursing the Future

“I have already shared some tips that I learned….Thank you for a new perspective and new energy to bring to work and life every day!”
K.B., St. Joseph’s Healthcare London

“Nurses are engaged in incredibly challenging work irrespective of the area we are currently working in. Perhaps this is why the Nurses Week Resiliency ReBoot Experience resonated with me so deeply. The speakers articulated what I was feeling and opened the door for me and for nurses to initiate the conversation.”
Debbie Turner, director of quality and professional practice, St. Thomas Elgin General Hospital

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