Telenursing as a Transformation in the Provision of Health Care Services


Technological advancement across the world cuts across all sectors of the economy. The education and health sector seems to be the greatest beneficiary. The health and medical sector, for example, enjoys great development of super powerful operation systems and diagnosis equipments. The development of information and communication provides an avenue for successful online treatment of patients. The telecommunication networks development plays a vital role in the telehealth nursing sector.

Telenursing represents a sub-unit of the nursing in the health sector that revolves around the delivery, management, and co-ordination of the health care services using the telecommunication gadgets. The process of nursing and care in the telenursing systems remain similar to the conventional nursing trends with the only difference being the use of telecommunication gadgets in the articulation of services. The major areas of application of telenursing systems include monitoring of patients with chronic diseases, assistance of the patients to manage their symptoms, and the care of patients that require multiple health professionals.

Telenursing Practices Guidelines

The intensive care unit continues to undergo dramatic transformation with the development of telenursing techniques. Information and telecommunication technology, and telemedicine provide high-level expertise and efficient services to patients. These coupled with the development in the telenursing programs proves to be the greatest development in provision of health care services (Lisa-Mae et al., 2012). Due to increasing number of health problems across the world, transformation in the nursing sector continues with the ultimate goal of ensuring adequate medical care to the patients. The ease with which the patients can receive health care and support services with minimized mobility defines the mission of the telenursing programs.

In the intensive care units, telenursing encompasses the use of data and informatics from telemedicine to provide care for the critically ill patients with ease and high level of expertise. This development comes with great benefits to patients. Telenursing increases access to health services even to patients in remote areas. Similarly, it reduces the waiting time in the health facilities, as well as the number of visits a patient makes to the health care facilities (Parks and Higgins, 2012). Under such circumstances, the patients have the ability to stay longer in homes before they physically get admission into health facilities. Many hospitals and health care facilities continue to develop competency assessment programs to evaluate the expertise of nurses performing the traditional nursing roles before posting them to the telenursing sector. The telenursing sector requires adequate expertise in the use of information, technology, and communications gadgets.

Rural areas with limited access to health care facilities benefit from the telenursing programs. These include elderly individual and patients with chronic illness who enjoy the service of health care using technology. The ability to nurse such patients from remote areas proves difficult in the physical care set ups in which they have to visit health care facilities. However, with the advancement in technology, communication gadgets pave ways for adequate care via teleconferencing, telephone, and other communications systems with minimal movement of both the patient and the nurse. The developments of communication gadgets in remote areas work as incentives to the health care professionals to develop health care facilities in rural areas. This helps to improve the health care facility coverage, thus creating more services in areas that previously lacked such institutions.

In as much as telenursing programs continue to revolutionize the health sector, opponents of the programs believe that it presents a system in which inadequate hands-on patients experience is absent. The opponents argue that the absence of direct and face-to-face contacts between the health care service-providers and the patients leads to low quality health care provision and increases the liability risks. On the same note, the opponents of the program argue that it sets a basis for health care service institutions to cut down the expenditure on physical care and invest on the telenursing systems. This compromises the provision of services that require personal contact with patients, such as emotional support and therapeutic touch.

Tele-nursing service for Pre-, Post-Advice, and Syndromic Surveillance

In many countries, telephone health and advice services exist. In New Zealand, for example, the entire country boasts of a 24-hours surveillance system with sophisticated design support systems for telenursing and health advice services. The ministry of health in this country uses these systems to provide advice and care to the entire populations (Parks and Higgins, 2012). During the outbreak of severe respiratory syndrome in 2003, the country employed the use of this system to give advice and direction to the most affected communities.

Telenursing and surveillance programs provide an avenue for faster passage of information and ease of surveillance. In cases of syndrome breakouts, the telenursing facilities provide avenues for ease of information dissemination and care services to the affected areas. With advancement in the telecommunication and medical sector, syndrome surveillance helps in identifying the frequency and rate of spread of diseases. In the conventional patterns of outbreak classification, the doctors relied on the accumulated voluntary reports that required more time (Nilsson, Skar, & Soderberg, 2010). This often led to high number of causalities before the health sector contained the break out. However, with the telenursing and surveillance system in place, there is ease with which the breakouts are detected before they blow out of proportion

New Zealand’s health care sector developed a telephone triage service systems that helped in early detection of disease breakouts. This system, together with increased electronic data collected from the public health helped in developing early warning systems for disease outbreaks. This provided an avenue for the nursing fraternity to develop the preventive measures necessary for the most vulnerable areas in the country. All these provided a basis for early detection of disease outbreaks that would otherwise cause deaths in areas with less technological advancement. Telenursing helps in proper surveillance of the preventive segments, as well as curative sectors of the health fraternity. The high number of patients visiting the health care facilities at any given time reduces the rate of accessibility to individualized care service-provision. Before the development of the telenursing service facility, the two district nurses often felt a barrier in their relationship with the patients. The excessive workload that comes with physical handling of patients played the role in creating the inaccessibility of services (Lisa-Mae et al, 2012). The use of the telenursing facility plays an important role in helping the nurses in getting control of their workload, thus reducing stress related with excess workload.

Importance of Telenursing Services

Population across the world continues to rise. This implies that the number of health care facilities required to cater for health needs of the rising population also continues to increase (Nilsson, Skar, & Soderberg, 2010). With many economies crippled with inefficiency in health care service provision due to insufficient funds for development of health care facilities and inadequate doctors, telenursing remains the most viable solution. The advancement in communication systems across the world provides a basis for the provision of telenursing services in places with inadequate facilities.

According to Parks and Higgins (2012), teleconferencing facilities provide basis for adequate direction to patient on the care services from their homes. The most evident problem in the nursing sector across the world relates to shortage of nurses. A study in the US predicts that, by 2020, vacancies in the hospital nursing sector will increase by 29% (Lisa-Mae et al., 2012). By 2010, the Australian shortage of nurse stood at forty thousand. The shortage of nurses in the developing countries remains extremely outrageous. These factors coupled with poor distribution of nurses and the nurse to patients’ ratio remains worrying. Telenursing seems to be the most convenient way of curbing the dire need for nurses in the less developed areas. A nurse in the developed nations can easily provided health care services to patients in developing world through the technological advancements. The dynamism of the communication and technological advancement sector especially in the nursing fraternity provides an array of challenges to the telenurses. In this context, the nurses stand better chances of professional development than their traditional counterparts do with limited interaction of patients from different cultures and backgrounds (Nilsson, Skar, & Soderberg, 2010). For any individual nurse seeking to provide adequate and accessible health cares services with ease and conveniences, telenursing sector provides the best opportunity due to the co-ordination and control of the numbers of patients an individual nurse serves.

Summary of Articles

Tele-ICU systems involve the use of highly sophisticated communication tools between the tele-ICU nurse and the bedside health team to provide necessary directions on essential care services (Lisa-Mae et al., 2012). Tele-ICU defines the environment in which the role of the nurse is to provide continuous vigilance on patients in ICU to ensure early detection and diagnosis of the patients’ problems with reduced movement. Through this system, nurses easily troubleshoot equipment, give bedside team direction, and answer all the questions that arise from the bedside team without movement from their offices (Lisa-Mae et al., 2012). This relationship developed because of cumulative advantages of having continuous communication between the nurse and the patients. Many people living with chronic illness subscribed to the school of thought that believes that trusting a nurse is a vital factor for their recovery and health status (Parks & Higgins, 2012). Once there is trust in a relationship, the levels of openness and information sharing increases, thus enhancing quality care.

Technological development in the nursing sector continues to bring success and improvement of service delivery to patients. Among the findings of this study, include increased accessibility to nurses and ease of communication between nurse and patients. In this case, the nurse found out that one-on-one communication with patients using information gadgets eliminated the provision of second-hand information on the situation of the patients. Patients were able to give detailed views of their situations. Under such circumstances, nurses have high chances of determining whether the condition of the patient in question is critical or not (Nilsson, Skar, & Soderberg, 2010).

For successful care of patients with chronic illnesses, there is need for a nurse to have adequate information about the individual patient. In order to ensure this materializes, there is need for frequent communication between the patient and the nurse (Nilsson, Skar, & Soderberg, 2010). However, since some chronic illnesses call for minimal mobility of the patients, the telenursing program helps to improve the frequency of the communications between patients and nurses. Continuous contact and sense of closeness between a patient and a nurse creates a sense of information security shared between them.


Lisa-Mae, W., Hubbard, E.K., Daye, O., & Barden, C. (2012). Telenursing in the Intensive Care Unit: Transforming Nursing Practice. Journal of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 33(1), 62-69. Web.

Nilsson, C., Skar, L., & Soderberg, S. (2010). Swedish District Nurses’ Experiences on the Use of Information and Communication Technology for Supporting People with Serious Chronic Illness Living at Home. – A Case Study. Scandinavian Journal of Caring Sciences, 24, 259–265.

Parks, B.M., & Higgins, J.P. (2012). Using Tele-Nursing Services for Pre- and Post-event Advice and Syndromic Surveillance. Prehospital and Disaster Medicine Journal, 20, 130. Web.

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