Telehealth: Empowering Patients to Care for Themselves

Telehealth: Empowering Patients to Care for Themselves

Written by:
Jenny Wilson, BSN, RN, Simulation Lab Coordinator/Assistant Professor of Nursing
Fairmont State University

Laura H. Clayton, PhD, RN, CNE, Dean/Professor
Fairmont State University

Published: May 2022

Do you know how to influence the rural community members in your states? Increased patient comorbidities, decreased length of hospitalizations, rising healthcare costs, the COVID-19 pandemic, and limited access to healthcare require patients to assume more responsibility for self-care while healthcare professionals and reimbursement focus on improved patient outcomes. One way to assist patients in providing self-care (and thus improving health outcomes) is through telehealth. Telehealth is the use of a virtual platform to meet with the patient experience concerning health-related issues. To not only hear but to see the patient in real time is pertinent. For telehealth to be successful, the nurse must have proper training and communication skills to address patient concerns and give valuable resources needed, so the patient can be successful. The purpose of this poster presentation, which will be available to view at the Nursing Education Accreditation Conference, is to describe how innovative telehealth simulation experiences can assist in preparing the next generation of nurses in providing care to cultural, ethnic, and socially diverse patients while integrating interprofessional collaboration and improving patient outcomes.

Telehealth video call on laptop

This poster presentation will apply to the nurse administrator, the nurse educator, and the graduate nursing student that is new, competent, or expert in accreditation. The nurse administrator would be involved in getting telehealth simulations placed into nursing courses. Educators will want to know the details in how to be successful in implementing telehealth within their courses. Graduate nursing students that work in nursing departments could benefit from coming to the presentation as they may assist the educator with telehealth by writing simulations or acting as the standardized patient.

Six out of ten Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease such as heart disease or diabetes, which are the leading causes of death and disability in the United States and serve as a leading driver of rising healthcare costs (2022 Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Additionally, one in five Americans live in rural areas of the United States (2021 US Census Bureau), which limits access to healthcare. Telehealth simulation education prepares next generation nursing students with the skills to deliver virtual care, especially to patients with chronic diseases and those living in rural communities.

Students value their telehealth clinical experiences and frequently state that it required truly listening to what the patient has to say and providing clear and concise education to the standardized patient. Students feel that telehealth experiences have assisted them with improving their nursing communication skills and are important for their professional development. Students have verbalized how telehealth helps them connect the didactic course with real-life clinical experiences, especially for residents of rural communities. Working with rural patients requires students to develop their nursing judgment, assessment, and communication skills to assist patients in self-care and improving patient outcomes. Exposure to socially diverse patients requires students to not just assume a patient is non-compliant with their treatment regimen but to ask tough questions and seek creative solutions to situations that are frequently beyond the patients’ control. Utilizing telehealth allows these patients to have access to adequate healthcare. Telehealth clinical experiences require nursing students to develop competency in human flourishing, nursing judgment, professional identity, and spirit of inquiry, which are essential in meeting end-of-program student learning outcomes.

Author Information

Jenny Wilson

Jenny Wilson headshot

Jenny Wilson, BSN, RN, is certified in simulation and serves as the Simulation Lab Coordinator in the College of Nursing at Fairmont State University. Wilson has over three years of clinical experience working in the emergency department of a large tertiary care hospital and a community hospital; she has also worked in home health with pediatric patients. She has assisted faculty in the development and implementation of telehealth experiences for all levels of students in the ASN program. Wilson serves as the project director for a HRSA NEPQR grant entitled TRUSTED: Transforming Rural American’s Healthcare Access Utilizing Simulated Telehealth Education to Improve Healthcare Delivery Outcomes. Wilson can be contacted via email at [email protected].

Laura Clayton

Laura Clayton, PhD, RN, CNE, is the Dean/Professor in the College of Nursing at Fairmont State University. She has over 30 years of experience in academic and clinical experiences in the ICU and community/population health. Clayton has presented nationally and internationally, published several articles, successfully written two HRSA NEPQR grants, and is co-author of the HRSA NEPQR grant mentioned above. Clayton can be contacted via email at [email protected].