This will be a series of blogs over a period of months , each blog dealing with a section of telenursing : health literacy, patient safety and risk management, change management techniques to provide  support to  patients starting to use technology for health consults, how to set up a website which will provide information to patients to enable self management of own care.  Some may be quite short but all will provide references which can be followed up by the reader. ( I hold a role as a telehealth coordinator but these blogs will be informed by literature as well.)

 “Telehealth is the use of information and communication technologies to deliver health care when patients and care providers are not in the same physical location” (New Zealand Telehealth Forum, 2015) Our health care delivery system both in New Zealand and internationally needs to change. With an aging population, an aging workforce, a shrinking health dollar and increasing expectations by the general population of what can be delivered, the present system is not sustainable, so the model of care is changing to one which uses information and communication technology  - telehealth

Telenursing is a subsection of telehealth. The College of Nurses of Nova Scotia (2014) define it as “nurses meeting the health needs  of clients using information, communication and web based systems”.  Telenursing assists in reducing the need for nurses to travel to see their patients, spending more time on the road than with the patient. It also reduces the patient need to travel some hours to the base hospital, taking time off work, putting petrol in the car, making child care arrangements, to get to  an outpatients clinic only to spend five minutes with the clinical nurse specialist running the clinic  who says ”that’s great. Come back in another month”. Both these examples highlight the wasted time and costs involved. With Telenursing, patients can access specialist care more quickly. If the patient has to wait for a clinic appointment it may take time but a telenursing consult can be arranged quickly. Specialist nurses at a base hospital, can provide education and support to their colleagues in the rural areas, resulting in a more confident practitioner and a satisfying patient outcome. This also applies when a patient is discharged early from the base hospital but is not ready to actually be at home. Clinical nurse specialist are able to video link to rural hospitals to follow the plan of care and provide support and education to the nurse caring for the patient.

While telenursing does  change the method of delivery of care, it does not change clinical practice. Registered nurses, using telenursing must still plan care: assessment, plan, implement and evaluate. All of this information must be documented as per normal nursing practice. Patient safety throughout must be the focus.


To ensure the safety of Nurse when involved in telenursing, Nursing Council has stated: “All nurses in clinical practice, including that offered by telehealth, must abide by the Code of Conduct”

Reflection activity:

  1. How could you as  registered nurse use telenursing to enhance the services you offer  to your patients?
  2. List two services and consider how you could offer these.
  3. Implement them into practice.


New Zealand Telehealth Forum (2015).     Retrieved from the National Health It Board Website:


College of Registered Nurses of Nova Scotia.  Telenursing Practice guidelines (2014). Retrieved from