If we are to be honest, telehealth, especially Teleheatlh Nursing, didn’t just burst into the limelight out of nowhere. Nurses have always had to pass across vital information over the telephone to their patients who were just recuperating after a surgery or were getting ready for a surgery.
However, the sudden popularity of telehealth nursing can’t be talked about without making any recourse to the pandemic. The pandemic which saw many lose their lives because of the coronavirus in 2019 meant that health professionals, and, that includes nurses, had to observe social distancing rules which in turn favoured this telehealth innovation in hospitals and clinics around the world.
Sure enough, we have only given a brief overview of what telehealth nursing is about, just so you know, telehealth nursing is much more than the nurses just placing phone calls to patients.
But, first we would begin with what telehealth is and then how COVID-19 has impacted telehealth. Of course, we can not end the article without a deep dive into telehealth nursing and what future nurses should know about this global change.
What is telehealth?
Telehealth is simply the use of digital technology to provide remote healthcare services. For starters, not every healthcare service can be catered for by the conventional means of going to the hospital. The severity pandemic showed us that there could come times when many hospitals could run out of bed spaces.
Asides that, some patients who stay in rural communities can encounter massive difficulty in getting quality healthcare especially in the event of complicated illnesses. Guess what? Telehealth comes to the rescue. So, can you see now that it is much more than planned calls between the patient and health professionals even though it includes that?
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You can also easily cite the examples of some applications where you can upload food logs, vital signs or even prescriptions of drugs which allows you at an incredible speed, to get expert reviews from your healthcare providers as telehealth.
Telehealth and COVID-19
You can hazard guesses here and there about why telehealth didn’t enjoy as much appreciation as it is getting now. From the fact of federal and state laws restraining telehealth in a way to telehealth providers being underpaid. But, it didn’t take long for drastic situations like the pandemic that broke out in 2019, for drastic measures to be taken.
In fact, it reported that there was a 154% increase in the use of telehealth from March 2019 to March 2020 when the Center for Disease and Control advised hospitals and clinics in the United States to embrace this under-appreciated technology to manage the spread of the virus.
We spent a good number of paragraphs cutting through telehealth in general and its sudden appreciation because of the pandemic. Now, we would be turning our attention to Telehealth nursing.
When we speak about health professionals in relation to telehealth, a major cog in the wheel has to be nursing, its importance has even carved out a niche for itself known as telehealth nursing. Basically, telehealth nursing is the rendering of nursing services through phone and video calls, remote digital monitoring or other possible digital technologies.
It can be mind-blowing when we realize that telehealth nursing has afforded nurses the avenue to teach patients how to dress their own wounds or administer care to minor burns. In fact, with telehealth nursing, nurses have the chance to monitor a patient’s sugar levels, blood pressure levels, respiratory rates and even heart rates.
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These particular type like the name suggests help patients know which healthcare service would suffice for them at the moment of their asking. For example, a patient who has a minor burn would not require an urgent care management, but someone who is experiencing difficulty of hearing might as well need an immediate ER visit. The nature of the healthcare service provided is patient education.
Triage nurses determine what the current state of health the patient is in and ensure which patients need immediate attention. They focus on attending to life-threatening cases which require an urgent appointment at the hospital. In fact, they might pass over cases which are less serious to advise nurses.
Medical office Nurse
With medical office nurses, in addition to their regular workload, they might have to also attend to certain telehealth duties which includes rooming patients for virtual visits and keeping whoever is in the patient care unit in the loop of latest symptoms and even medical tests.
How Should You Prepare for Telehealth Nursing As a Future Nurse?
You probably are reading this and dreaming of a career path in nursing, there are certain things you should know that would come in handy as you contemplate on taking telehealth nursing serious.
It is a good prospect
If there is anything you need to keep at the back of your mind, it has to be the fact that telehealth nursing is not returning to the doldrums any time soon. Since its widespread acceptance, hospitals do indeed give priority to nurses who are fully into telehealth or have a good hang of it in their training. Therefore, you are doing yourself a world of good choosing telehealth nursing.
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You sure need lots of the experience.
Like every specialty in nursing, you must have a huge wealth of experience. Moving into telehealth nursing means you must have had practical work experience with patients in clinics. In fact, some times that can prove insufficient such that you would need to widen your knowledge base by taking certification courses in family medicine or primary care. By the way, at this juncture, you should have already known that you can’t become a telehealth nurse without first becoming a nurse.
Truth is, telehealth nursing is an ever-dynamic field in nursing and even the three primary types of telehealth nursing mentioned earlier are only three out of the many that are still in the pipeline, waiting to be recognized. What this means for anyone who is considering a career in telehealth nursing is that you would need to be open-minded as you approach this path because what might be obtainable today, might not be tomorrow.
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