Using Telehealth in Nursing Education

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Close up of young female talk on video call consult with diverse doctors colleagues, woman patient have online consultation with GP or physicians, medical nurse in Webcam conference with coworkersFor years, healthcare professionals and patients have been discussing increasing the use of telehealth as a convenient win-win for everyone involved. Today, online healthcare services are essential, but implementing and using telehealth comes with a steep learning curve.

For nurse educators who teach the next generation of nurses, telehealth nursing training is more necessary than ever. Nurse educators must learn how to use telehealth and then translate their knowledge into educational experience for their students.

The first step to teaching nurses how to use telehealth is to build a curriculum that encourages exploration and learning. Because telehealth exchanges are different from face-to-face, clinicians need to learn how to interact with their patients, the telehealth provider Health Recovery Solutions said in “Training Clinicians with Telehealth.”

“With a digital screen separating the patient from the provider, one of the biggest challenges in telehealth is creating a positive patient-provider relationship,” Health Recovery Solutions writer Elizabeth Veringa said. “To ensure a positive relationship, training programs are teaching students a wide range of topics to improve patient outcomes within a digital environment.”

For registered nurses (RNs) who pursue careers as nurse educators, learning how to use telehealth in an educational setting is essential to success. Telehealth training can be a vital part of master of science in nursing online coursework, including for students pursuing a post-master’s certificate in nursing education.

Importance of Telehealth

In 2018, the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty (NONPF) recommended that all nurse practitioners learn the essentials of telehealth. The recommendation meant NP programs should include telehealth in their curriculums.

“It is essential that NPs are empowered with telehealth knowledge and hands-on skills so that they can be a creative force for innovations in telehealth within practice and healthcare systems,” the organization said in “NONPF Supports Telehealth in Nurse Practitioner Education.”

“NP programs have the opportunity to be at the forefront of healthcare as they develop telehealth education programs and prepare to respond to the challenges ahead by promoting innovation through telehealth education.”

Indeed, the NONPF was ahead of its time. In 2020, as the COVID-19 pandemic spread throughout the United States, telehealth provided a crucial and safe link between patients and their providers. 

Important Teaching Points for Telehealth Nursing Students

According to Health Recovery Solutions, telehealth comes with some concerns and challenges. Nurse educators engaging in telehealth training should inform students of these important aspects that directly impact patients:

  • Privacy: Because gathering personal medical information is vital to comprehensive care, clinicians should know how to gather the information in a sensitive manner. Clinicians should determine if the patient is comfortable with sharing his or her private medical history online.
  • Virtual exams: An essential part of a nurse’s job is reading patient body language and physical appearance for clues to the patient’s well-being. During virtual exams, reading the cues may be difficult, so nurses must pay close attention to patient signs and signals.
  • Remote monitoring: Nurses who use telehealth must understand how to use remote patient monitoring to track vitals and daily health. Remote monitoring allows nurses and other clinicians to contact patients who have a change in health status and intervene in care before an emergency.

“Understanding how to most effectively monitor a large group of patients remotely and the best workflow procedures for doing so are imperative for new clinicians,” Health Recovery Solutions said.

Teaching Telehealth Training

In 2018, Helen Connors, a leader in nursing telehealth, told the National League for Nursing that students must learn how to use telehealth for the future of healthcare. She said that nurse educators should be pioneers in advancing technology. Even today, Connor’s words ring true.

“Educators need to be innovative and creative with the use of technology to advance nursing education and practice,” she said in “Exploring the World of Telehealth and Implications for Nursing Education with Dr. Helen Connors: An NLNTEQ Interview.”

“As a nurse educator in this rapidly evolving environment, one needs to accept change and tolerate ambiguity as new technologies are integrated into education and practice. It is evident that with proper education and training, nurses can play a huge role in facilitating the use of telehealth and other technologies.”

As trailblazers in nursing instruction, nurse educators need to understand how to use and teach telehealth. If the COVID-19 pandemic made one thing clear, it’s that telehealth plays a vital role in the delivery of healthcare services and is the future of health and wellness.

At Duquesne University, students who have already earned their MSN can earn an online post-master’s certificate in nursing education and help expand the use of telehealth.

Duquesne University’s Online Post-Master’s Certificate Program

Duquesne University’s online post-master’s nursing certificate program allows RNs to advance their skills and knowledge. The university’s post-masters nursing certificate programs represent an opportunity to meet professional goals and make a difference in healthcare.

The university offers several tracks for a post-master’s certificate in nursing:

  • Executive Nurse Leadership & Health Care Management
  • Family (Individual Across the Lifespan) Nurse Practitioner
  • Forensic Nursing
  • Nurse Education and Faculty Role

Duquesne University is a leader in online nursing education and recognized as a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing.

Sources

Sage Open Nursing, “Online Nursing Education Best Practices Guide”
NONPF, “NONPF Supports Telehealth in Nurse Practitioner Education”
Health Recovery Solution, “Training Clinicians with Telehealth”
NLN, “Exploring the World of Telehealth and Implications for Nursing Education with Dr. Helen Connors: An NLNTEQ Interview”