Rivier University, the CARES Act, and Virtual SimTech

Rivier University, the CARES Act, and Virtual SimTech

Written by Anna Wendel, PhD, APRN, CNE
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Nursing at Rivier University

Published August 2022

Even before the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, Rivier University was committed to exposing our nursing students to telehealth technology. However, when lockdowns started and telehealth use started to spike, the university recognized the increased urgency to ensure all graduates were fully competent with telehealth modalities from simple video calls to high-tech remote monitoring equipment. With grant money through the CARES Act, Rivier University expanded telehealth education for nursing students at all levels.

One of the simplest aspects of this expansion was the creation of an extensive telehealth resource library. Faculty experts from a variety of specialties compiled and created resources for both undergraduate and graduate nursing students on a variety of telehealth topics, ranging from regulatory considerations to technology troubleshooting to remote physical assessment strategies. While this electronic library was particularly useful during the initial lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic, it remains an asset to the curriculum today.

Rivier University was also able to offer nursing students hands-on experience with specialty telehealth equipment. The simulation center purchased iPads and other remote monitoring equipment to supplement an existing telehealth system from AMD Telemedicine that allows a provider to assess vital signs, skin, eyes, ears, as well as heart, lung, and bowel sounds. Simply handling this specialized equipment was valuable for students about to enter the workforce, but the most valuable learning experience came from a collaboration between the NP and RN programs. Using standardized patients, students were able to practice simulated telehealth encounters in which the NP student directed the RN student in a facilitated telehealth encounter. Students and faculty at both levels spoke highly of the chance to practice both a new technology and a unique form of collaboration.

Thanks to the grant funding received through the CARES Act, Rivier University has been able to prepare nursing students who thrive with the increasing use of telehealth technologies in the healthcare system.

This project is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) under grant #T1PHP39109, COVID-19 Summary and Evaluation for $78,571. This information or content and conclusions are those of the author and should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government.


Anna Wendel, PhD, APRN, CNE
Assistant Director of Undergraduate Nursing
Rivier University

Anna Wendel can be reached via email at [email protected]