IT news in brief

December 3, 1999

Video-conferencing is helping teach nurses how to care for terminally ill patients.

St Oswald's Hospice in Newcastle is using the equipment after research by the Open University showed that teaching by video-conferencing was just as effective as face-to-face teaching, which some found intimidating.

The study, by the OU's learning support and technology unit in Newcastle, found that as nurses became familiar with the technology they were more relaxed and more willing to ask questions during lectures.

Claud Regnard, consultant at St Oswald's, said: "Dealing with someone on a small screen is not as intimidating as dealing with them in person. There is often a physical barrier between them. It's a very British thing."

St Oswald's uses video-conferencing to run training sessions for a South African hospice as well as to link with centres in Glasgow, the Scottish Borders, Cumbria, Sunderland, Teesside and London.

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