Are you looking to maximize your skills in nursing? Perhaps you’re considering taking up telenursing? This essential guide will provide you with extensive insights into the world of telenursing and its significance.
Let this guide take you on a journey through the quickly transforming field of remote healthcare delivery to equip you with the knowledge and skills required to flourish in this digital age.
Transform Patient Care: What is Telenursing
In 2019 alone, there were over 36.2 million hospital admissions in the United States.¹ But, the number of hospitals has constantly decreased in the last few years to 6,210.²
With this in mind, we can expect hospital beds to quickly fill up while other patients will be forced to look for accommodation elsewhere or to stay home untreated. As a nursing staff, you can accommodate more people’s health concerns through telenursing.
Related Reading: Digital Health in 2023: What Every Healthcare Facility Should Know
Telehealth, Telemedicine, and Telenursing: What Are the Differences?
Telehealth, telemedicine, and telenursing are sometimes used interchangeably. But they have some differences people need to take note of. What’s common about all three is that you can take advantage of telecommunications and information technology to virtually provide medical care, healthcare, and health education services.
Telehealth has the broadest definition among the three. It encompasses a wide range of virtual medical care, health education, and healthcare services. This includes remote care provided by doctors, pharmacists, nurses, and other healthcare professionals.
Telemedicine is specific to your provision of treatment and diagnostic services conducted by doctors or advanced practice nurses.
One subset of telehealth is telenursing. It involves providing nursing care remotely using telecommunications and information technology. As a telenurse, your responsibilities may include remote patient monitoring, collaborating with the healthcare team, and communicating with patients and their families.
Areas of Practice in Telenursing
Telehealth nursing can be practiced within your home, a healthcare clinic, in telehealth nursing call centers, and more. Its popularity has created new areas of practice for telenursing you can get into. These are the practices you can be assigned to cover.
- Telemental health
- Forensic Telenursing
Telehealth is transforming the field of healthcare and has certainly enhanced and augmented caregiving. It can continuously succeed through consistent collaboration of telehealth professionals with teams on-site.
There are various ways you can perform telenursing to patients in remote locations. Here are some of them.
Mobile Health (mHealth) refers to providing healthcare through mobile and wearable devices. It’s more popular in underserved areas where there is a large population and widespread use of mobile phones.
Live Video Conferencing
Live Video Conferencing allows you, the nurse, to meet with your patients and other providers virtually through various video applications on your device. You can get in touch with patients through familiar applications such as Zoom or Viber.
Store-and-Forward or Asynchronous
Asynchronous or store-and-forward platforms and technology allow you, your patients, and other providers to store health information in a portal for later viewing and sharing. This can include copies of patient scans and other relevant data.
Remote Patient Monitoring
Through Remote Patient Monitoring, patients can record their vital signs with their device and send the results they’ve gathered to their providers. Some facilities may provide their patients and nurses with specialized, secure technology to share health information electronically and meet online.
Some of the vital signs you can remotely monitor in telenursing are blood pressure, blood oxygen level, blood sugar, and vision screening.
The Advantages of Telenursing
Telenursing is beneficial for both patients and their nurses. Here are some of the reasons why you should provide care through it.
Delivery of Remote Service
Telehealth technology allows nurse practitioners (NPs) to serve patients by connecting to the internet. You can deliver care through a variety of tools such as computers, smartphones, smart devices, remote monitoring devices, and delivery companies.
Telenursing harnesses video, audio, and text-based information so you can provide care for patients without meeting them in person. These tools can greatly improve your efficiency in providing care for your clients in rural communities and other sparsely populated locations.
The same technology can also help you regularly and continuously monitor your patients’ conditions. You can make use of peripheral devices that replace traditional medical ones such as thermometers, stethoscopes, and blood pressure cuffs.
Better Bed Allocation
According to Statista, the overall number of hospital beds in the United States is continuously decreasing. There were as many as 1.5 million hospital beds back in 1975, but in 2019, the count had dropped to only about 919,000.³
Healthcare providers realized that telenursing could help reduce readmissions by improving follow-up care for high-risk patients, such as those with chronic illnesses and those who underwent surgery recently.
Through telenursing, you can monitor your patients through pilot telehealth programs by using questionnaires and regularly provided health-related education. You can then conduct in-person follow-ups with people outside of the service’s range.
Convenient Schedules and Access
Telehealth consultations offer the convenience of connecting with nurses and specialists who may have busy schedules. Patients can also choose from multiple professionals to get the care they need.
Using telehealth technology, you can assess your patient’s comfort and respond to their needs effectively. Telenursing also brings back the personal touch of home visits by delivering care to patients at their workplaces, satellite clinics, and other convenient locations.
Better Control of Infectious Diseases
Through telenursing, healthcare professionals can prescreen patients for potential infectious diseases like COVID-19, flu, and others without meeting them in person.
This can keep your patients from going out and possibly exposing others, especially the elderly, the pregnant, the immunocompromised, or the chronically ill, to the disease they’re infected with.
Related Reading: Post-COVID Response: Be an Infection Control Nurse
Flexibility for Nurses
With telenursing services, you can practice your expertise without time constraints or being tied to a specific location. As long as you have a stable internet connection, you can provide care from anywhere and choose a schedule that works best for you and your patients.
The Challenges to Telenursing
Telehealth is effective in providing your patients with your services, but it can also come with a few challenges you may occasionally encounter. Here are some of them you may want to be mindful of.
Possibility of Technology Barriers
Some patients may not have access to telenursing due to them not owning the appropriate technology, such as a laptop or video conferencing applications.
You may also encounter challenges on your end during a consultation, such as poor internet connection or poor video quality.
Reduced Care Continuity
In telenursing, patients may interact with different providers each time they use the service, and they might prefer telehealth consultations over in-person visits. These disconnects between nurses and patients may result in the likelihood of untreated or unrecognized medical issues.
Certain Situations Call for Hands-On Care
Some consultations may be better done in person. This is because you can’t feel a patient’s body during an online examination. You may need to have a closer look at your patients to listen to their heart or lungs or to touch their moles.
Insurance Coverage Issues
Although insurance companies are determined to include telehealth as part of their services, telenursing may not be covered by certain providers and reimbursements may not be allowed for the patients under them. You may need to be informed and familiar with the insurance plans and telenursing regulations in your area.
Care for more patients in need of your service through telenursing.
You can now provide your care for patients through online services. Try telenursing to reach more patients around your area. You can improve the health of many with your expertise and skill set even remotely.
PROVIDE CARE FOR PATIENTS IN THE U.S. WITH PRS GLOBAL
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1 Michas, Frederic. “Total Number of Hospital Admissions in the U.S. from 1946 to 2019.” Statista, 1 Nov. 2022, www.statista.com/statistics/459718/total-hospital-admission-number-in-the-us/.
2 Michas, Frederic. “Top U.S. Health Systems Based on Number of Hospitals As of 2019*.” Statista, 27 Jul. 2022, www.statista.com/statistics/245010/top-us-for-profit-hospital-operators-based-on-number-of-hospitals/.
3 Michas, Frederic. “Number of All Hospital Beds in the U.S. from 1975 to 2020.” Statista, 20 Mar. 2023, www.statista.com/statistics/185860/number-of-all-hospital-beds-in-the-us/.