The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) released an update to its standards for tele-critical care nursing practice including specific recommendations for the development and enhancement of tele-critical care programs. The document provides vignettes with real-world examples of how each key recommendation is implemented to provide continuity of care, demonstrate the value of tele-critical care nursing for a strong return on investment, identify high-risk patients, and decrease mortality rates, according to the AACN.
“Tele-critical care programs have become more pervasive with advances in technologies and expansions in modalities and the number of patients served,” said Theresa Davis, PhD, RN, NE-BC, CHTP, FAAN, who co-led the consensus task force with Lisa-Mae Williams, PhD, RN, CCRN-K. Dr Davis is president-elect of the AACN national board of directors. “We’ve seen significant growth in the number of tele-critical care services, including expanding beyond traditional critical care areas, including to medical-surgical units and even home-care settings. This document offers a broader definition of the term ‘teleICU’ to reflect how these nurses contribute to care beyond intensive care units.”
The updated document underscores how the contributions of tele-critical care nurses have expanded to embrace additional risk assessments, interventions, and patient safety measures.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, tele-critical care nurses have also helped address the loss of experienced nurses from the on-site team, leaving a knowledge gap. Their work may include mentoring on-site nurses, facilitating the ongoing development of newer nurses, and supporting excellent nursing care.
“In addition to caring for patients, tele-critical care nurses are helping to address the experience gap by providing an extra layer of support and expertise to the on-site team,” Dr Williams said. “Knowledge and expertise are precious commodities, especially when caring for critically ill patients. Mentoring a novice nurse, float nurse, or traveling nurse can instill a greater sense of confidence, while peer-to-peer collaboration can help on-site colleagues feel more supported.”
The statement includes the AACN Tele-critical Care Nursing Practice Model, which provides the conceptual framework for implementing and evaluating tele-critical care nursing practice. An increased focus on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion is integrated throughout the document
The consensus statement reflects current evidence, best practices, and the expert opinions of AACN’s Tele-critical Care Task Force. The task force met throughout 2021 to review and update the consensus statement. A diverse group of tele-critical care clinicians reviewed the document and provided further insights.
AACN statement addresses evolving tele-critical care nursing practice. News release. American Association of Critical-Care Nurses; September 22, 2022. Accessed October 12, 2022. https://www.aacn.org/newsroom/aacn-statement-addresses-evolving-tele-critical-care-nursing-practice