Telenursing is a field of nursing where telecommunications and information technology are used to provide nursing services between patient and nurse or nurse and nurse. Telenursing is part of the upcoming and quickly rising telehealth, or the transfer of health-related services and data via telecommunications technologies. Telehealth was originally used to describe educational or administrative functions related to telemedicine, or the delivery of medicine from a distance.

Home care, or health care in the patient’s home, is one of the most distinctive parts of telenursing. Telenursing may be implemented when patients are immobilized, live in places that are difficult to reach, or have chronic ailments or debilitating diseases. Another distinction of telenursing is the use of call centers that are staffed by registered nurses who do patient triage, counsel and provide information about how to regulate patient access, and decrease the use of the emergency room.

Telenursing deals with patients who have chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, amyothropic lateral sclerosis, and Alzheimer disease. Sometimes patients need to stay at home and have regular meetings with a nurse via Internet, videophone, or videoconferencing, and other times telenursing deals with post-surgical patients and care of ostomies, wounds, and handicaps. When only five or seven patients could be seen per day in person, telenursing lets 12 or 16 patients fill a nurse’s day instead.

In many countries, telenursing is rising tremendously due to many reasons, one being an increase in the ill population and health care coverage for patients in distant regions. The benefits of this nursing field include its ability to cover the increased shortage of nurses, keep patients out of the hospital, and save travel time. At the same time, telenursing is troubled with ethical, legal, and regulatory issues, and in some places, it is illegal to work interstate or intercountry. Malpractice and accountability issues are still for the most part unsolved and difficult to address.

Want to become involved in telenursing? You will need an advanced nursing degree, RN to BSN degree, or LPN to BSN degree. Or you can learn more about these programs from the University of Phoenix:
» Bachelor of Science in Nursing
» Master of Science in Nursing

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