Marquette College of Nursing has received a $1.5 million grant for the advancement of telehealth and the development of digital care through the Marquette telehealth-virtual care model.
Telehealth is a method of healthcare that is conducted through technology.
Jill Guttormson, associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Nursing and one of Marquette’s Telehealth-Virtual Care advisory board members, said that telehealth is a delivery of healthcare without an in-person visit.
Telehealth has allowed doctoral staff and patients to limit their exposure to one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, it has increased access to care. It has allowed hospitals across the nation to preserve personal protection equipment, something that the United States has been running short on.
Guttormson said that the increase in telehealth and virtual health care delivery is not likely to end after the pandemic. As a board member, Guttormson works to integrate opportunities for students to deliver virtual patient care into the curriculum.
“It is vitally important that we prepare nurses to deliver digital healthcare that goes beyond transaction and incorporates cura personalis-care for the whole person,” Guttormson said.
Julia Rodrian, a junior in the College of Nursing, said that the telehealth virtual accelerator will be beneficial to the College of Nursing.
“With the times we have gone through during the pandemic, it became evident how effective and beneficial telehealth can be. I think that incoming students getting educated about this form of care will help shape the future of nursing. With more education, nurses will be able to deliver a holistic approach even over a computer screen or through a phone call,” Rodrian said.
Rodrian said that the development of telehealth will allow an increase in care for populations that may not have access to transportation or who are immobile.
The Telehealth-Virtual Care Model will help students and practicing clinicians better prepare and understand digital care as it continues to develop.
As founding director and principal investigator of Marquette Telehealth-Virtual Care Model,
Patricia Schroeder said that the model will prepare students for telehealth and virtual care.
“Students will have the knowledge, skills, and ability around this new industry. We also want to support those in the field who got enlisted in this experience overnight and help the public better prepare for this new method,” Schroeder said.
The model will be integrated across nursing curriculum for undergraduate and graduate students and will continue to advance as the student advances. Underclassmen will develop basic knowledge about telehealth, but upperclassmen will begin practical application of that knowledge.
“The model will begin as awareness, knowledge base and transition to skill-building, advanced communication and assessments,” Schroeder said.
Although the integration of telehealth into nursing curriculum is beneficial, there is still research being conducted to understand the model’s barriers.
“We think it is a benefit, but we need to continue to study. We believe that there is a convenience when it comes to access to health care and specialty health care for rural populations. However, we are unclear about the barriers that it creates for others” Schroeder said.
Schroeder said that telehealth can create barriers for populations that are unable to access Wi-Fi and are digitally facile. Other disadvantages include lack of available technological resources in certain parts of the country, issues with security of patient data, and challenges in performing the traditional patient examination.
Schroeder said that the telehealth model focuses on the Jesuit concept of cura personalis and Marquette’s values.
“As we integrate this content into all of our curriculum, it will most certainly reflect the mission, values, and the core competencies that all of our students bring forward,” Schroeder said.
This story was written by Hannah Hernandez. She can be reached at email@example.com.