Video teleconferencing program connecting rural and remote services
Thursday 18 February 2016
Queensland Health nurses and midwives are accessing professional support and education thanks to a video teleconferencing program.
The Brisbane-based Telehealth Emergency Management Support Unit (TEMSU) gives rural nurses the opportunity to seek advice from senior nurses with backgrounds in emergency or intensive care.
The program launched in December 2013 and is now operating in 116 hospitals and primary health care centres throughout rural and regional Queensland, providing nurses and midwives better access to clinical support for low acuity patients.
With clinical support for rural nurses already in place locally, this 24 hour service presents another avenue for nurses to seek assistance and have someone involved in the patient assessment.
If presented with a patient in an unfamiliar condition, a junior nurse is able to connect with a senior nurse who can assess the patient with them via videoconference, just as staff would do in a tertiary emergency department.
The program promotes supportive relationships between clinicians and provides access to ongoing education.
For some rural and remote facilities, there can be periods of time where an educator is unavailable as they travel between sites. This service is providing another opportunity for nurses to access ongoing education between visits from the educator.
TEMSU Clinical Nurse Consultant Matt Barneveld said feedback from staff regarding the program had been positive.
"I remember one case … where it was a primary health care centre, and she had quite a sick patient with a really complex presentation," Mr Barneveld said.
"We linked her in with Bundaberg Hospital with the emergency specialist there. Her feedback was, 'Although I was on my own, it was great to know I wasn't on my own.'"