It’s National Nurses Week and we want to acknowledge and thank all nurses for the amazing work they do every single day. And we are particularly grateful for our own remote monitoring nurses, who are making it possible for practices across the country to provide continuous, remote care to their patients.
What do Remote Monitoring Nurses Do?
Remote monitoring nurses enable medical practices to extend the care they provide to patients beyond the traditional walls of a medical building and beyond the traditional time of an in-person visit. With connected devices, remote monitoring nurses check the health of a patient every day and intervene when it matters the most – before an adverse event occurs.
Remote nurses are always watching for potential crises and outside normal limit readings. When this happens, they contact patients to assess the situation, determine possible root causes, and escalate to a physician if needed. However, being a remote nurse involves much more than reacting to individual readings. They also act as coaches, educators, and patient advocates. They conduct regular wellness calls with patients and build ongoing, trusted relationships with them.
A typical remote patient interaction might look like this – a monitoring nurse sees an elevated blood pressure reading. They call the patient and ask a series of questions. Patients are comfortable talking to the remote nurses as they have a therapeutic relationship with them. The nurse suspects the patient’s high reading was caused by a meal with high salt intake. They discuss the role of salt and high blood pressure and what specific foods would be a better choice.
Taking the time to get to know patients can detect and prevent other health conditions as well. For example, one of our monitoring nurses had a patient with high blood pressure who was regularly taking medication. Ongoing conversations and health coaching revealed a high degree of stress and depression. The monitoring nurse worked with the patient’s provider to schedule time with a mental health provider. With these additional services, the patient began to feel better and her blood pressure started decreasing. Every day, the amazing work of our remote nurses closes care gaps like these, improving patient outcomes.
Remote Nurses Love Their Jobs
It’s no surprise that after two years of being on the frontlines of the pandemic, many nurses in traditional patient care settings are tired and burned out. Health systems have struggled to provide adequate staffing, leading to a lot of pressure for existing nurses with little relief in sight. In fact, 32% of RNs in a November 2021 survey, said they are likely to leave their current position, up from 22% just 10 months prior.
Nurses cited multiple factors influencing their decision to leave, including safety, flexibility in work schedule, and environment/culture/ability to do meaningful work.
Remote monitoring addresses many of these concerns, enabling nurses to provide meaningful patient care in a safe and flexible environment. Optimize Health nurses love “being able to affect many more patients in one day” and “caring for patients while wearing pajamas.”
Creating Trust with Patients
Nurses have also expressed deep satisfaction when they are able to establish trust with their patients. They get to know their patients on a personal level and can provide better support and care than an in-person hospital or clinic visit. As one of our nurses explained, “I make notes about something personal the patient shares with me, i.e. upcoming procedure, trip etc. I bring that up next time I engage with the patient. They feel that I have listened to them and that I care enough to bring it up. That, in turn, creates trust.”
This trust makes a huge difference in coaching patients on lifestyle choices. Patients are appreciative of the extra attention and help in staying on track. When a diabetic patient thanked one of our remote nurses for waking her up when her blood sugar was critically low, that nurse knew she was positively improving the quality of life of her patients.
Maintaining Excellent Patient Care Remotely
Telehealth is here to stay and we are grateful for the nurses that have made remote care such a powerful and positive experience for patients. Remote monitoring nurses require a unique skill set. Excellent clinical skills are a must, but so are communication skills. Asking the right questions, using critical thinking skills, advocating for patients, and providing holistic care are key to gaining a patient’s trust and improving clinical outcomes.
Remote monitoring nurses expand a medical practice’s capacity. Remote nurses aren’t confined to set times for 1:1 in-person visits. They can care for more patients in a single shift and help close the care gap between recommended care and actual care a patient receives. They also can play a crucial role in alleviating staff shortages. Practices can provide more care for more patients with remote monitoring nurses. And help allocate scarce in-office resources to the patients that need it most.
Here’s what one practice said about their remote nurse, “She is kind to our patients and does an amazing job to make my life/work easier! I appreciate how knowledgeable she is, and how willing she is to go above and beyond to accommodate our needs as a clinic. Though she is thousands of miles from me, she has done an excellent job of making it seem like she is in the office just next door with her communication skills.”
We know our nurses are using remote care to fundamentally change the provider-patient relationship for the better. They are engaging with patients in new and innovative ways that have a direct impact on patient outcomes. So, thank you today and every day for everything you do!