In 2012-13, the Federal Government funded a major education and support initiative to develop the capability of nurses and midwives in Australia to deliver care using telehealth.
The initiative was undertaken by the Nursing and Midwifery Telehealth Consortia, comprised of Australian Primary Health Care Nurses Association (APNA), Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation (ANMF), Australian College of Midwives (ACM), Australian College of Nurse Practitioners (ACNP) and CRANAplus.
The project focused on providing nurses and midwives with the skills and resources to facilitate and contribute to safe, high quality telehealth consultations. The project was completed in mid-2013, and a range of excellent, practical telehealth resources are now freely available to nurses and midwives across Australia on all Consortium member websites. Of particular note is the nursing and midwifery telehealth standards and guidelines, developed by the ANMF with support from a group of thought leaders from the Australian nursing and midwifery professions. These have been very well received and are highly recommended.
APNA led the development of a four-hour online training package which provides nurses and midwives with the skills necessary to set up, conduct and assess telehealth consultations within their respective clinical settings. This package has also been very popular and is highly regarded.
The package has nine modules:
Module 1 – Project Overview
Module 2 – Telehealth overview and how it can become an additional way of providing clinical services
Module 3 – Assessing patients for Telehealth suitability – including the assessment of clinical and psychosocial factors
Module 4 – Technical requirements of Telehealth
Module 5 – Practical Application of Telehealth – how to set up and trial Telehealth consultations
Module 6 – Organisational and professional considerations – understanding the professional obligations of a Telehealth enabled practice
Module 7 – A step-by-step guide to preparing for and conducting an online Telehealth consultation
Module 8 – Conduct a mock Telehealth consultation
Module 9 – Course overview and Telehealth resources
Using experiential learning techniques and case-study methods, the training places nurses and midwives in realistic clinical scenarios and challenges them to use their new skills throughout. Upon completion of the training, the nurse or midwife will have a comprehensive knowledge about the end-to-end setup of online video telehealth consultations in their practice environment and will have practical experience in conducting such a consultation - often for the first time.
Telehealth resources, case studies, guidelines and standards for nurses and midwives are easily accessible and free of charge from any of the Consortium members’ websites.
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