1. De Rezende, Helena PhD, RN

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The coronavirus pandemic required universities to replace face-to-face teaching with online alternatives, and the use of various technologies to improve communication was established. Instant messaging (IM) platforms were implemented in an adult nursing course in the undergraduate program to support first-year students, facilitating the interaction with their peers and reducing the feeling of isolation. For personal tutoring groups, the use of IM via the Microsoft Teams app was adopted. The lecturer sent periodic messages providing academic support and guidance about enrollment, uniform requests, mandatory training, disability and occupational health assessment and referrals, finances, absence, and what to do in case of self-isolation. The instructor was also available to receive messages and listen to students at any time. A WhatsApp (WhatsApp Inc, Mountain View, California) group also was created to connect students and provide a network for them, with voluntary participation. Students' feedback was positive as they indicated the tools were helpful in a range of aspects such as timetable information, reminding them about other commitments, and developing supportive peer study structures and interactions. The students also perceived these platforms were beneficial to enhance communication with the nurse educator, especially with the limited onsite support available during the pandemic. The use of WhatsApp helped nursing students expand collaboration and reduced the lack of belongingness and socialization, which are essential aspects of student satisfaction and retention.