by Lindsay Smith

During the course of the national lockdown, the team at Vertual continued to work vigorously with Program Directors and Clinical Professionals across the world to help them secure VERT systems to support their radiation therapy education services both remotely and in person. A whopping 21 new system orders were taken from across the world.

On the 20th September 2021 World News delivered the greenlight I had very much been waiting for, Joe Biden had announced the travel ban was going to be lifted on the 8th November. Minutes later I received a call from my superior joking “Pack your bags, we’ll see you at Christmas!”…….. well after being limited to my home office for 20 months she didn’t have to tell me twice!

So, on the 9th November I boarded a plane to the east coast of the USA to deliver onsite training to as many of the 15 new customers I could before the Christmas break……. here are the highlights.

My journey started up in New Hampshire, where I was greeted by Amy the Program Director at Concord New Hampshire Technical Institute. Amy was one of the first customers to opt for Vertual’s Compact VERT system which is a mobile system and can be moved from room to room.

From here I travelled to Manhattan College in New York, they are a long standing customer of Vertual, but they love the system so much they purchased a complete hardware upgrade and our proton training package. During my stay in New York, and being a child of the 90’s, I couldn’t resist buying a last minute ticket to Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, which I can report is one of the best things I have EVER seen!

My next visit was a short drive to Philadelphia, and I will admit the only thing I knew about this area was that it was the birthplace of Will Smith’s huge acting career. However, I can happily say courtesy of Rose and her team, I’m now very experienced in Philadelphia delicacies. The team at Gwynedd Mercy were a customer most effected by the travel ban, they purchased their system before the pandemic began but their install was delayed as the country was locked down in April 2020. Virtual training was delivered but then they were not allowed on campus! So face to face training was long overdue and I am pleased to say they are finally up and running with the system.

Next stop Virginia! Sister institutions Northern Virginia and Virginia Western Community Colleges are a recent addition to the VERT community; however they have done things a little bit different. They have based an installed VERT system at one campus and a Compact VERT system at the other. The systems can support teaching materials created at either site giving the opportunity to ‘share the load’. I am very excited to see how these two institutions utilise the systems over the next year or so!

Greenville was where I experienced my first ever Thanksgiving. I met with Elaine and Kim the day before. Pitt Community College has had their system installed now for a little while and we have done a lot of training online, but certainly confidence in the team built after the face-to-face meeting! I also have to take a minute to thank Elaine for driving to my hotel and delivering me a delicious homemade dinner on Thanksgiving! It was truly delicious, and I have informed my mother she needs to up her game on her Christmas roast 😉!

I dump the car, jump on a plane and arrive in Little Rock, Arkansas. Well, what a place! With a weekend to explore I walk the glorious stretch of riverbank and hit the dive bars on an evening enjoying the live music on offer! Tiffany and Ashley are BRAND NEW customers, their system was installed the week before I arrived! So full new customer training over two days was delivered and you could see the excitement in their eyes as I revealed each new feature….or they were suppressing a laugh at my accent and funny words, but I would like to believe it was the former!

Hello Sunshine State! Keiser University is another dual site institution who have an installed Seminar System at each campus. They have had a large staff change over the last year so they purchased on and a half days of onsite training for their new staff member to ensure they are getting the most out of their systems.

Goodbye Sunshine State, Hello Blizzard!! My final two sites Minnesota and Wisconsin! Northwestern University and Bellin College have been using their VERT system for a little while now after having the online training offered during the lockdown period. At both sites we refreshed on the system as a whole then focused on the new developments on VERT 5.

Then came the time for me to have a red wine by the fire, and cross everything that the next day my plane wouldn’t be cancelled because of the snow, and I would make it home in time for Christmas!

10 out of 15 sites received training in total and the feedback we got as a company is that the face-to-face training is preferred over virtual training, most customers reported that it really helps with the integration of the VERT software into the curriculum. If you would like to enquire about a member of the Vertual team attending your institution for refresh training, please email sales@vertual.co.uk.

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