2 min read

Enhancing Care Delivery: The Trend of Virtual Nursing

Enhancing Care Delivery: The Trend of Virtual Nursing

The ongoing nursing shortage, intensified by the challenges brought on by the pandemic, has pushed healthcare facilities to explore innovative solutions. As staffing shortages weigh heavily on nurses, leading to widespread burnout and fatigue, healthcare organizations are proactively seeking ways to close the gap, enhance job satisfaction, and maintain high-quality patient care.

Enter virtual nursing, a hybrid care model that healthcare systems are implementing to support bedside nurses and alleviate their workloads.

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What is Virtual Nursing?

Virtual nursing, similar to Telehealth, utilizes videoconferencing technology to deliver nursing remotely at the bedside. Virtual nurses help field inpatient administrative tasks, allowing bedside nurses to devote their full attention to critical cases and direct patient care.

The specific tasks that virtual RNs perform can vary widely based on the unique needs of each healthcare facility. Some hospitals employ virtual nurses for patient admissions and discharge education, while others utilize them for remote patient monitoring or as family support liaisons. Some organizations even opt for a combination of these functions. Given that virtual nursing is a relatively new concept, there's no one-size-fits-all approach. There’s significant flexibility and potential for its applications.

As HealthcareITNews highlights, “virtual nursing improves patient coverage by putting eyes and ears in every room. It empowers patients and care team members at the bedside to bring in clinical reinforcement, specialists, translators, and patient family members virtually when needed.”

Importantly, virtual nursing doesn't replace bedside nurses; it complements and supplements their efforts, enhancing care delivery and optimizing task distribution.

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5 Key Benefits of Virtual Nursing

  1. Increased Job Satisfaction: Virtual nurses alleviate the pressure on bedside nurses, empowering them to spend more quality time with each patient. This reduction in burnout, combined with increased efficiency, results in enhanced job satisfaction. With more time and attention for each patient, there's less room for error or discrepancies.
  2. Enhanced Continuity of Care: Virtual nursing facilitates seamless task handoffs and resource allocation, promoting a team-oriented approach to patient care. This collaboration leads to better-coordinated healthcare and improved patient outcomes.
  3. Support for Senior Nurses: Virtual nursing offers flexibility for experienced nurses who may no longer meet the physical demands of their job. Instead of retiring, they can continue to assist patients remotely, offering their valuable expertise and extending their careers. This not only benefits older nurses but also supports bedside nurses by providing essential staffing coverage.
  4. 24/7 Monitoring: Virtual nursing ensures patients receive round-the-clock care and guidance. Virtual nurses closely monitor patient’s vitals, lab results, and conditions, enabling early detection of symptoms and timely intervention.
  5. Enhanced Patient Experience: Patients and their families appreciate the increased interaction with virtual nurses. The immediate availability of virtual nurses to address questions or concerns ensures there is always someone there to meet their needs, enhancing the patient experience.

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Final Thoughts

Virtual nursing represents a transformative shift in healthcare delivery. It addresses the critical needs of nurses and healthcare organizations by providing a lifeline for nurses seeking new ways to deliver high-quality care.

 

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