Tips for Giving Presentations in Your Online Nursing Class

NurseJournal Staff
Updated November 10, 2021
    Online student presentations can seem scary. With this guide, expert nurses offer advice on the best presentation websites for students and other tips for online students.
    Featured ImageCredit: Getty Images

    Although online college programs have offered students distance learning opportunities for years, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced many schools to deliver courses mostly or entirely online. Nursing programs are among the many degrees that have adjusted to distance learning.

    Students must now give presentations for college online. Many learners must create presentations for online courses for the first time, which can seem like a daunting task. To help, we sought advice from two experienced nurse educators for nursing students adjusting to online education. Our experts offered helpful tips about giving online student presentations, which you can read below.

    What to Expect From Online Nursing Classes

    Online nursing courses vary among programs. Generally speaking, distance learners complete the didactic components of their curriculum online. Some programs use synchronous classes, in which students log on to watch lectures or class discussions at specific times

    Other programs allow learners to complete these course components on their own time. However, students must still participate in any required on-site labs and clinical rotations at hospitals or other healthcare facilities.

    Online nursing programs often require a mix of synchronous and asynchronous course components, including presentations. For many enrollees, these assignments can seem just as intimidating through distance learning as they are in person. If you need a bit of advice, the following tips can help you create an online student presentation that will impress your instructor and classmates.

    Tailor Your Presentation to Your Audience

    Knowing your audience can help you plan and frame your presentation in the right way. If you’re speaking to an audience of fellow nursing students, you don’t necessarily need to define jargon or explain foundational nursing topics.

    “But if there is even one person who is not a nurse in the room, avoid words that the general population would not understand,” says Robin Squellati, a certified nurse practitioner and faculty at Walden University’s master of science in nursing (MSN) program.

    Plus, when making a presentation for an assignment, check the rubric to ensure that you’ve covered your bases.

    Use Visual Aids

    Visual aids add color and engage the audience in a compelling way. You can use PowerPoint or presentation websites for students like Google Slides, Prezi, or Visme.

    Additionally, “adding visual aids to an online presentation helps the reader to connect dots that may be more difficult to understand with just writing,” says Jamil Norman, a registered nurse (RN) and academic coordinator for Walden University’s RN-to-BSN program.

    If you’re making a PowerPoint assignment for college, think about the easiest way for your audience to take in the information.

    “Use easily digestible elements like bullets, diagrams, or pictures on the slides,” Squellati says. “Remember the people who are in the back of the room.”

    Incorporate Audio or Video Elements, Too

    Pictures aren’t the only way to add engaging elements to your presentation. You can also draw in your viewers by adding video or audio clips to your slides.

    “As an instructor, I am always pleased when a student puts forth extra effort by incorporating narrative in a presentation. This is a great way to add a personal touch,” Norman says.

    Remember to do a practice run to check if your audio and video elements properly work before the day of the presentation. Few things can sink your presentation like a YouTube video that won’t play or audio that’s too quiet to hear.

    Don’t Read from Your Notes

    When making a presentation, reading directly from your notes can seem dry. It also makes it more difficult for listeners to connect with you, which can result in glazed eyes and yawning from your audience.

    “Know your presentation well enough that you can look at the audience and interact with them. The notes are only there to help guide you,” Squellati advises.

    Cite Your Sources

    Add citations either on each page of your online student presentation or a reference page at the end. Including citations demonstrates to your professor that you’ve completed thorough research and can save you from any accusations of plagiarism.

    “Most students do not think of citing sources as a way to ramp up a presentation, but you can turn your instructor’s frown upside-down by making sure you use literature when developing your presentation and then giving proper credit by citing your sources,” Norman says.

    Be on Time

    Showing up late is disrespectful to your audience, who have their own time commitments. Your instructor won’t be impressed either.

    “If you are even a few minutes late, or you spend a few minutes dealing with technology issues, it will cause the audience to not receive your presentation as well,” Squellati says.

    Meet Our Contributors

    Portrait of Robin Squellati

    Robin Squellati

    Robin Squellati, Ph.D., APRN-C, is a faculty member for Walden University’s MSN program. Dr. Squellati is a certified nurse practitioner and a veteran of the U.S. Air Force, where she served as a nurse for 28 years.

    Portrait of Jamil Norman, Ph.D., MSN

    Jamil Norman, Ph.D., MSN

    Jamil Norman, Ph.D., MSN, is an academic coordinator for Walden University’s RN-to-BSN program. Dr. Norman possesses over 16 years of experience as an RN and 12 years in higher education.

    Feature Image: J-art / Getty Images