How Virtual Care and Telehealth are Essential for Nurses
The Foundation of Modern Nursing
At the end of the 19th century, “The Lady With the Lamp”— or as she is more widely known, Florence Nightingale — founded modern nursing.
When the Crimean War began in 1854, the British were unprepared to deal with the number of sick and injured soldiers. The Secretary of War, Sidney Herbert asked Nightingale to manage a group of nurses that would go treat the wounded soldiers. Nightingale believed the main problems were diet, dirt, and drains. As a result, Nightingale and her nurses brought supplies, nutritious food, cleanliness, handwashing practices, and sanitation to the military hospital – while providing individual care and support. Nightingale became known for carrying a lamp while checking on the soldiers at night, earning her the nickname “the Lady with the Lamp.”
Nightingale and her helpers reduced the death rate from 40% to 2% at this military hospital. These outcomes resulted from her concern with sanitation and its relation to mortality and her ability to lead, organize, and execute.
On May 6, we recognize the important role nurses play in our lives by celebrating National Nurses Day. National Nurses Week is celebrated annually from May 6 through May 12; Florence Nightingale’s birthday is May 12. The theme for the 2020 National Nurses Week is Compassion, Expertise, Trust.
The Role of Virtual Care and Telehealth in Nursing
Even pre-pandemic, the nursing profession had become more and more stressful. The US population is aging and becoming sicker – and now the risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19 adds further complexity to the critical nursing role. Nurses are more critical than ever to the health of the US. 21st Century nursing is the glue that holds a patient’s health care journey together while continuing to identify and protect an individual’s needs across the care continuum while safeguarding public health.
Given these challenges and demands faced by nurses, virtual care and telehealth can help address the unique situation nurses are facing in the current era:
- Safer care: As the PPE shortage continues, more and more agencies are indicating they have to unfortunately turn away patients because they don’t have the adequate supplies to keep their staff safe. Also, patients and their family caregivers are increasingly refusing at-home visits as they are anxious about infection and transmission. By allowing nursing professionals the ability to continue to connect with their patients via their devices, a HIPAA-compliant telehealth app such as Synzi provides nurses with a safer alternative to supporting patients during this time.
- Specialized care: Specialists are in high demand and many agencies do not necessarily have multiple specialists on staff to handle all referrals for wound care management, diabetes support, hospice, etc. By enabling nurses to quickly access remote specialists and medical staff, Synzi’s telehealth apps helps nurses incorporate their colleagues into a video call which minimizes the time to care and drive time/expenses as well as reduces the risk of infection and transmission for all involved.
- Supportive care: In between virtual (and/or in-person visits), supportive emails/texts can be sent to patients and their family caregivers to deepen condition understanding, drive adherence, and improve outcomes. Synzi’s virtual care communication platform allows administrators to schedule a cascade of condition-specific messages which reinforce the nurses’ caring and compassionate role. During situations such as the current pandemic, agency administrators also use Synzi’s platform to send out timely updates on the coronavirus and tips on how to protect one’s self and reduce the risk of infection.
This article was originally published on the Synzi Blog and is republished here with permission.