Telenursing is one of the emerging nursing practices that involve the use of information technology to provide nursing services to patients without necessarily interacting with them physically. According to Soar, Swindell, and Tsang (2011), telenursing is an interesting practice that allows the nurses to reach out to patients who are remotely located without having to travel. It enables the nurses to interact with patients in their homes and at any time.
This new practice has come at the right time when the demand for nursing services is on the rise. It allows for a single nurse to attend to several patients in different locations without necessarily having to travel outside their homes. Despite these obvious benefits of telenursing, there are issues of ethics and the legal aspects of this practice that may be a cause of concern. Nursing as a profession is a calling, a desire to work directly with people, assess their health conditions, and help them overcome their pain and improve their help. Nurses may sometimes be required to offer physical help to their patients who have physical or mental challenges. In this paper, the focus is to determine if I can join Tomika in her agency and practice telenursing as my career.
Professional Nurse’s Role in Telenursing
Telenursing is becoming popular in the current society due to the emerging means of communication and other aspects of health-related technology. To determine if it may be desirable to pursue a career in telenursing, it would be necessary to determine the role of the holder of this position. According to Sharpe (2001), telenursing as a practice involves providing nursing services to clients through the help of telecommunication services. The patient and the nurse interact through videoconferencing or other telecommunication services. Through these services, the nurse can assess the condition of a patient, offer prescriptions or any other instruction necessary that would improve the patient’s condition, or even determine if it is the right time for the patient to go back to the hospital. If the patient needs to be physically assisted, the nurse can issue step-by-step instructions to the family members on how to help the patient (Molinari & Bushy, 2012).
This nurse should always be close enough to the tools of communication to enable him or her respond to any distress call from the assigned patient. The nurse will also need to work closely with an assigned doctor of a given patient. The nurse will inform the doctor of the improvements or deterioration of the patient’s condition so that necessary measures can be taken to ensure that the needed medication is administered.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Telenursing
Telenursing comes with a number of advantages that cannot be ignored. First, it helps patients who have been released from hospitals to stay in touch with the medical staff that will monitor the conditions and help promote quick recovery. The nurse can easily monitor the condition of the patient without the patient having to visit the hospital, and then offer necessary help. This approach of nursing cuts the cost of operations. Neither the patient nor the nurse will have to travel away from their homes, eliminating the cost of transport. It also eliminates the cost of having a space in hospitals where nurses must meet their patients who need services that can be offered through teleconferencing. A nurse can attend to several patients within a very short time because the unnecessary movement from one location to another is eliminated (Stanković, Orović, & Sejdić, 2012). To the nurses, the work involved in telenursing is not as physically demanding as that when working in hospitals or nursing homes.
According to Kumar and Snooks (2011), telenursing has a number of disadvantages despite the benefits that it offers to the field of nursing. The biggest disadvantage of telenursing is the lack of physical interaction between the nurses and their patients. Currently, nurses are trained to handle patients physically in most of their training institutions hence it becomes very difficult for them to offer quality services through telecommunication services. Some patients may only benefit from services offered by nurses who are physically present, especially patients who need direct assistance from nurses.
Schlachta (2007) says that there is also a growing belief that telenursing is largely considered to be financially driven other than being service driven. Serving more patients from home without the need to move means more savings and more earnings for the nurses. This brings to focus the issue of ethics. Sometimes the patient may harm self when following instructions given electronically by the nurse. This may result into litigation.
Considering Telecommunication as a Career
Telenursing is a thrilling phenomenon in the field of nursing that any aspiring nurse would be interested in practicing in future. However, I consider this practice as a strategy that should be used alongside the conventional nursing practice. Nursing involves service to those who are in need of medical help. It is a calling, and the satisfaction of a nurse is derived from assisting patients overcome their condition. The physical interaction is very important and cannot be substituted by telenursing services. For patients who have been released from hospitals and need minor monitoring, telenursing would be appropriate.
In case a nurse only wants to handle patients who are on their path towards recovery, then this may be the right future for them. However, nurses who want to help patients who are in dire pain and need direct physical help from the nurses, traditional nursing is still indispensible. As an aspiring nurse, telenursing will be critical when my services are needed by patients who have just been released and need to be monitored to determine how they are doing. This will enhance patient satisfaction. However, I will still prefer working in hospitals and nursing homes where my physically services are needed.
Conclusion and Recommendations
Telenursing is a new concept that is becoming popular in the modern society where advanced means of communication are readily available. This practice will help reduce the congestions at our health facilities because patients who need consultative services from the nurses can be attended to in an online platform. It will also reduce the cost of handling patients. Nurses’ output is also improved through this strategy. However, lack of physical presence of a nurse when helping a patient is the biggest issue when it comes to telenursing. The following recommendations should be taken into consideration.
- Telenursing should be used alongside conventional nursing practices.
- Nurses should have shifts, working in hospitals and nursing homes and offering telenursing services.
- Telenursing agencies should be affiliated to specific hospitals to ensure that the patients get the best services online and in hospitals.
Kumar, S., & Snooks, H. (2011). Telenursing. London: Springer.
Molinari, D., & Bushy, A. (2012). The rural nurse: Transition to practice. New York: Springer Publishing Company.
Schlachta, L. (2007). International competencies for telenursing. Geneva: International Council of Nurses.
Sharpe, C. (2001). Telenursing: Nursing practice in cyberspace. Westport: Auburn House.
Soar, J., Swindell, R., & Tsang, P. (2011). Intelligent technologies for bridging the grey digital divide. Hershey: Information Science Reference.
Stanković, S., Orović, I., & Sejdić, E. (2012). Multimedia signals and systems. New York: Springer.