Purpose: The purpose of this study was to evaluate a newly designed online educational module on the use of telehealth nursing in ambulatory care settings. Bachelor of nursing (BSN) students who completed the module rated their overall knowledge of the content and their perceived abilities to actualize the content, manage clients, and educate and mentor others. The development of the module was supported by the CARES Act supplemental funding for NEPQR program to prevent, prepare, and respond to COVID-19.
Background/significance: Telehealth nursing has become an essential skill for nurses due to COVID-19; however, training resources remain scarce for pre-licensure nursing students. To meet this need, an online module was developed, implemented, and evaluated in a BSN program at a large academic university in fall 2020. The module focused on 1) the definition of telehealth nursing, 2) professional telehealth communication strategies, 3) handling difficult situations, 4) use of medical interpreters, and 5) telephone triage. The triage section emphasized the nurses’ scope of practice and the use of decision support tools. The self-paced interactive online module included two exemplar case studies to demonstrate the promotion of diversity, equity, and inclusion using telehealth nursing and a downloadable toolkit.
Methods: The BSN students were asked to participate in an anonymous 6-question mixed-method survey upon completion of the online module about telehealth nursing. The participating students rated their pre- and post-module abilities to actualize the training content, level of comfort managing clients, overall knowledge, and ability to educate others about telehealth nursing using a 5-point Likert scale (1=low, 5=high). The survey also included a free-response feedback item. The survey responses were compared using a paired T-test. Study procedures were approved by the university’s institutional review board.
Results: 13 of the 83 students (16%) agreed to participate in the study. Overall, the students’ self-rated post-module expertise was significantly higher for all questions compared to the pre-module expertise (p < 0.05). On average, the students rated their post-module abilities to actualize the training content higher by 1.3 points (95% CI: 0.7-1.9), as well as the abilities to manage clients (1.4 points, 95% CI: 0.9-1.9), level of comfort (1.5 points, 95% CI: 1.0-2.1), overall knowledge (1.3 points, 95% CI: 0.8-1.8), and ability to educate others about telehealth nursing (1.1 points, 95% CI: 0.6-1.5) compared to their pre-module levels, respectively. The qualitative responses described the case studies and interactive learning platform as helpful and provided technical usability feedback such as playback speed and glitches.
Conclusions/implications: The telehealth nursing online module improved the BSN students’ perceived abilities to actualize the content, manage clients, educate, and mentor others and overall knowledge about telehealth nursing in ambulatory care settings. Additional educational resources are needed to equip nurses to deliver high-quality care and meet the increasing demand for telehealth nursing.
After completing this learning activity, the participant will be able to assess innovations being used by other professionals in the specialty and evaluate the potential of implementing the improvements into practice.