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How to Transition from Bedside Nursing to Digital Care

Siel Ju
December 7, 2023
January 17, 2024

Nursing roles have gone through big transformations in recent years. Many duties once performed in-person are now handled remotely, and full-time virtual nursing positions have become a reality. Remote patient monitoring nurses, for instance, are responsible for supporting patients managing chronic conditions or recovering from surgery, all from a distance.

For nurses transitioning into part- or all-remote roles, the adjustment requires a lot more than merely embracing new technologies. Nurses also have to master innovative methodologies for optimal patient care in the digital realm, requiring nurses and the organizations they work for to approach this era with strategic foresight and thoughtful adaptation.

Digital care assessments

At the organizational level, navigating this transformation journey involves thoroughly examining nurses' backgrounds, experiences, and interests. Recognizing that each nurse brings unique strengths to the table, and considering the diverse skills required for telehealth roles, organizations should calibrate and ensure the right fit for each nurse in their respective roles, rather than assigning roles by just one or two criteria, such as seniority or clinical specialty.

Nurses benefit from conducting self-assessments, too, to take stock of their strengths and weaknesses. This self-awareness serves as a roadmap for improvement, helping nurses pinpoint areas that need enhancement. Furthermore, nurses benefit from training to acquire skills tailored to remote settings. Assessing patients remotely, for example, differs significantly from in-person assessments, demanding specific techniques that use different senses, interpersonal skills, and digital tools. 

Patient engagement

Engaging patients remotely might initially sound more challenging than in-person interactions, but virtual care offers unique advantages. The convenience of virtual appointments eliminates concerns about transportation and travel time, making it easier for patients to participate. Plus, remote monitoring tools can ensure real-time and accurate measurement of health data to help keep treatment plans on track. Customized digital interventions like personalized care pathways can also improve outcomes in virtual care.

That said, virtual care does bring with it some unique challenges, as the traditional approaches learned in nursing school or in-person may not seamlessly translate to remote care. Building patient-nurse relationships, enriching the patient experience, and empowering patients require new skills and strategies for effective remote care. Moreover, nurses must learn to deliver inclusive remote care, considering the potential differences in location and background between themselves and their patients. Cultural competency training is a crucial component in preparing remote nurses for these diverse interactions.

Enhancing Remote Care Practices

As health systems invest in virtual health, a critical question arises: How effective is remote care, and to what extent? This question holds significance for nurses and healthcare providers at large. Organizations should, for example, scrutinize the impact of remote care on Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) and implement suitable strategies for a comprehensive evaluation. 

It's also important to be aware of the legal implications of providing telehealth services, including licensing requirements and compliance with state laws. For instance, a nurse providing virtual care to patients residing in different states may encounter varied licensing regulations — and nurses have faced legal challenges due to overlooking specific requirements. Ensuring a smooth and legally compliant transition involves not only recognizing potential pitfalls but also proactively addressing them through diligent research and adherence to established legal frameworks. This proactive approach safeguards nurses from legal complications and fosters a secure environment for the delivery of virtual care. 

For healthcare professionals, nurses, and organizations looking to establish, expand, or enhance their virtual care services, Veta Health presents a valuable resource — Engagement Nursing in Virtual Care: A Comprehensive Course for Telehealth Excellence. This self-paced, online course, crafted by seasoned remote care nurses, caters to both individual healthcare professionals and institutions. 

If you're ready to stay at the forefront of this transformative field, download the Engagement Nursing course brochure for the full details and enroll online.

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