As Telehealth technology becomes a common means of delivering clinical services to rural communities, the exploration of the impact of Telehealth technology on the practice of nursing is both timely and urgently required. For nurses to work competently within the Telehealth framework, they require specialized skills, training, and education. Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before implementing a program.
- What educational interventions are designed to prepare nurses to conduct remote patient care?
- What health and clinical assessment skills are required?
- What support systems need to be in place for nurses to practice in a competent, safe, and ethically sound manner?
- What specific technical skills are required for nurse-led Telehealth practice(s)?
Beyond technical skills, Telehealth nurses need to understand some of the basic guidelines for setting up an examination room for Telehealth practice. Telehealth nurses are required to integrate “nursing frameworks, theories, evidence-based practice” into their provision of care.
Additionally, nurses need to maintain telehealth competencies by acquiring an “in-depth knowledge in the clinical area(s) relevant to the role”; maintaining critical thinking based on the best available evidence-based knowledge; and “expert teaching, counseling, communication, interpersonal skills and use of tele-practice technology”. Telehealth planning at the community, institutional, and governmental levels should consider how to appropriately integrate Telehealth nurses into coordination, organization, and implementation of telehealth into nursing practice.
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