Using Telehealth to Remotely Supervise Students and Improve Quality Care in a Nurse Practitioner Program
Telehealth technologies were used in an innovative manner to augment traditional face- to- face faculty supervision of nurse practitioner students in their clinical setting and prepare students for future use. The real time virtual visits between the faculty, students, patients, and preceptors allows for scheduling flexibility, improved supervision, increased interaction with preceptors, and ultimately quality care.
This teleahealth initiative was started by a team of nurse practitioner faculty. A telehealth consultant was hired to evaluate types of equipment and resources needed. A customized mix of existing telehealth equipment was purchased. Faculty determined how many visits would be supervised remotely, what type of visits would be appropriate, which faculty would do the remote supervision and developed a patient consent form. Guidelines were created. Faculty and students were trained on equipment use.
A community non-profit clinic where all family nurse practitioners (FNP) students do a rotation was the first site for remote clinical supervision. A pilot program to evaluate equipment and guidelines was first conducted with a small sample of students during a semester. The program was then expanded at this same site to include all FNP students.
Remote clinical supervision of NP students has expanded to other community clinic sites. Faculty initially approach potential sites personally and provide directors with a letter, copy of the consent and show a short professional video demonstrating a virtual visit. Faculties have successfully provided remote, real-time clinical supervision for NP students. The use of this technology has provided a cost effective and efficient way to ensure quality control in clinical nursing education and improve quality care.