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Nurses Working Together to Improve Patient Care

Nurses Working Together to Improve Patient Care

June 08, 2023 Posted in: Patients & Providers  3 minute read time


Say hello to the future of health care. Saint Joseph Hospital now has a virtual nurse in some patient rooms to enhance patient care and satisfaction.

In December 2022, Saint Joseph Hospital started offering a virtually integrated care program for patients who stay in the hospital. Some patient rooms are now equipped with a virtual nurse, a clinical professional with whom patients can engage remotely, via video.

“The goal of the virtually integrated care program is to make sure we’re delivering excellent care to every patient every time,” said Melissa Bennett, DHA, RN, NEA-BC, FACHE, chief operating officer and chief nursing executive at CHI Saint Joseph Health. “The virtual nurse gives us the opportunity to support our bedside nurses and still deliver excellent care. What we’re starting to see is that the quality of care is increasing because the workload for our nurses is reduced. They’ve got more support, they feel like they can do more and the outcomes and patient experience are improving.”

What is Virtual Care?

If you are a patient in one of the virtually integrated care rooms, a virtual nurse is available at your convenience. A virtual nurse can check on you during your stay, make sure your medication is ordered in a timely manner and help your admission and discharge paperwork flow faster.

Of course, you will still have a bedside nurse taking care of you each day, but your virtual nurse is also on call, enabling you to get fast answers to questions you might have.

“You will have a nurse available to communicate your plan of care and help coordinate with your bedside team,” said Amanda Anderson, MSN, RN, director of nursing at Saint Joseph Hospital. “Our virtually integrated care program also lets our bedside nurses spend more quality time with patients. With extra administrative help, our nurses are able to pro-vide an even higher quality care for their patients.”

Big Brother is NOT Always Watching

Don’t worry. Virtual nurses can’t pop in and surprise patients at any time. They need your permission.

The virtually integrated care model is set up via video, and before a patient or the nurse appears on screen, the patient will hear a doorbell-like sound to let you know they would like to visit. After the notification, the nurse will ask if it’s a good time for a video chat. If the patient says yes, both the virtual nurse and patient will appear on screen. If the patient says no, the virtual nurse will check back at another time.

Patient privacy is important, and patient permission is always required before the nurse or patient appears on video. The only time a virtual nurse might show up on screen without prior permission is if he or she feels a patient’s safety is at risk.

From the Nurses

Gladys Giminez

Gladys Giminez, RN

"As a virtual nurse, I have plenty of time to really explain things, see how the patient is doing, see the patient’s progress and what the plan of care is. I’m able to pop in different rooms without taking up too much time, and I’m able to really dig into a patient’s chart in a way I couldn’t as a bedside nurse."

Tendai Kujinga, RN

"As a bedside nurse, having a virtual care nurse on hand really benefits the team. When there’s a virtual nurse on the team, the day just flows. I do the physical assessments and they chart for me. That saves me a lot of time that I can spend focusing on my one-to-one care with the patient.”
Tendai Kujinga
Lauren Setters

Lauren Setters, RN

"I was interested in being a virtual nurse because I like the idea of team nursing. I feel like a virtual nurse is a great resource to bedside nurses who don’t have enough time to read charts or to help with discharges and admissions. Our virtual care program is helping with quality of care.” 

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