Telehealth: Preparing Advanced Practice Nurses (APNs) for Transition into Clinical Practice
Lee, Susan K.
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Session presented on Sunday, July 24, 2016: Introduction: Telehealth is a successful care modality that matches quality and affordability of care to underserved rural patients, allowing for assessment and education. This has been found to improve patient outcomes, patient satisfaction, and access to care. It also allows patients to access providers in the privacy and comfort of their homes or in local clinics in a timely and effective manner that, in turn, empowers patient self-management. Additional benefits are that patients are able to access specialty providers who are outside the rural area. Few Advanced Practice Nurse (APN) programs instruct students in the use of primary care telehealth technologies. The purpose of this presentation is to describe how telehealth content is developed, implemented, and evaluated as part of the Master's Family Nurse Practitioner Program to prepare APN students for the application of telehealth care within their practice sites. Methods: A program was developed, implemented, and evaluated as part of a Master's Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Program to prepare APN students for the application of telehealth within their practice sites. Immersed within the Reproductive Health course were several assignments: (1) hands-on exposure to self-management telehealth counseling for discomforts of pregnancy using standardized patients, (2) electronic patient educational toolkits for common discomforts of pregnancy and contraceptive usage, (3) video patient teaching of clinical breast exam, and (4) telehealth immersion experiences with pregnant-family home follow-up visits. Results: The first cohort of students (N=32) integrated telephone calls, videos, face-time, and video presentations using telehealth modalities in their primary care practices to follow-up with patients in their homes to provide education, counseling and motivation for self-management of common discomforts of pregnancy. Additionally, electronic medical records were maintained and billing codes were identified. Formative and summative evaluations indicated patients and students were 'highly satisfied' with telehealth encounters. Discussion: The telehealth program's electronic information and telecommunication supports long-distance clinical healthcare and patient health-related education. Students are prepared to conduct 'virtual' office visits with patients and caregivers upon completion of the incorporation of telehealth modalities in the FNP curriculum.